Lake Waseosa Ratepayers’ Association
c/o 21 Cottage Lane, RR#3
Oct. 27, 2011
Kirstin Maxwell, BA , Planner,
Town of Huntsville
37 Main Street East
Re: A/31/2011/HTE Ostvik
We note that the proposed reduction of setback to the northerly side lot line is consistent with the existing building line and therefore have no objection to that part of the application.
We are amazed at the poor quality of documentation that was provided to you by the architect in this matter. The site plan appears to be based on an antiquated survey, 50 or more years out of date judging by the use of the old “Deep Lake” name for Ripple Lake. We assume that the wavy line shown to the west represents the high-water mark of the day.
Assuming the shoreline has remained substantially unchanged over the intervening years, the architect has made a serious error in measurements. As you are aware, the Zoning By-law clearly defines the required front-yard lot line as mirroring the current and existing high-water mark (eg: Figure 3 of the zoning by-law definitions). In other words, the required setback is the shortest possible distance between the water’s edge and the structure. Yet the architect in this matter has simply indicated the length of arbitrary lines parallel to the side lot lines – a distance somewhat greater than the actual setback. Scaling the sketch to the best of our ability, we find that the existing structure just barely meets the required front-yard setback and the proposed addition intrudes on the required front-yard setback.
The sketch does not appear to show the existing accessory structure located south of the main structure (as shown in the attached photo taken from the road). The cabin appears to approach or possibly even encroach upon the property line. From the siding and colour, it would seem to belong to the subject property, but it does not appear to be included in the calculations of lot coverage. This is of concern for two reasons: first, if the accessory structure is in fact a legal non-conforming use located on the property, then it should be considered as part of the lot coverage. If, however, the accessory structure is encroaching on the subject lands, then the neighbours have the right to have that portion of property transferred to their deed (under the Land Registry Act). That of course would also invalidate the lot coverage calculations and complicate any site plan agreement.
We note an additional error in the application. The text requests an increase to 8.16%, however that is actually the existing coverage (not counting the accessory structure). The building addition would bring coverage to 9.36%, or almost twice the allowed 5%. The dimensions of the accessory structure are obviously unknown, but if we assume it belongs to the applicant and is at the legal maximum of 60 sq. meters for a private cabin, then the actual lot coverage would exceed 12% after the proposed addition – well over twice the allowed 5%. In fact, well over the maximum coverage allowed in any Shoreline Residential zone! As sympathetic as we are to the applicant’s desires, this could not be considered a “minor” variance.
The north shore of Ripple Lake is known for its steep slopes, as indicated on the sketch (see also Appendix A10 - Steep Slopes, of the 2011 LWRA Lake Plan). The existing building structure, as shown in the attached photographs, is supported above grade by block columns. In the absence of any soil tests and calculations by a qualified engineer, it is not clear what measures will be required to support the extreme forward face of the proposed addition and therefore it is unknown what measures will be required to mitigate the impact on the environment during and after construction.
For the reasons noted above, we recommend this application be deferred pending clarifications and verification.
Additionally, we would like to point out something that is possibly more of a concern to the building and fire departments than to planning: The proposed screened porch location is in front of what appear to be two bedroom windows. Such windows are a required secondary means of egress for sleeping quarters and due consideration for life safety and firefighting access should be had when modifying the interior layout.
Dwayne Verhey, Secretary, LWRA
Cc Sean O’Callaghan, Site Plan Co-ordinator