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Niagara Falls
Friday, December 8, 2023
Letter: Town needs to enforce its own planning rules
Letter to the editor. File

Dear editor:

I’m wondering what is happening when our town encourages people to apply to build projects that are totally contrary to the zoning, the bylaws and basic land-use principles.

There are now four applications seek approval to build incompatible projects that are almost twice as high as the bylaws permit and located in areas without suitable zoning.

Furthermore, all of them have flat roofs, probably because a traditional sloped roof would make the buildings more than twice as high as any building in town.

Historically new buildings had to comply not only with the zoning and the bylaws but also had to be compatible with the other neighbouring buildings.

Architectural design used to always require consideration of contextualism, meaning the buildings should be similar in style, size, roof shape and materials to the existing adjacent buildings.

All four of these proposals are surrounded by one- and two-storey single-family dwellings and are totally unsympathetic in size, style, roof shape, materials and design.

So, what has happened in Niagara-on-the-Lake that these aberrations are being considered by the planning department when they don’t comply with the town’s zoning and bylaws?

Why are they even being considered? Why do the citizens have to remind the town that its role is to ensure all new developments are consistent with the rules and regulations that have served us so well in the past?

I believe its responsibility should include upholding the bylaws and immediately rejecting unsuitable projects, because by extending the decision-making process, these undesirable buildings gain more credibility.

Even Rainer Hummel waited 20 years before seeking approval of his totally incompatible building, which looks like any other commercial building in any other downtown, in any other city, anywhere.

Does he believe that the people in decision-making capacities don’t understand the reasons why this is one of the prettiest, most unique and most livable towns in the country?

Is it possibly true that the town is not inclined to enforce the rules, bylaws and zoning of Niagara-on-the-Lake?

Is the town going to ignore the experts on its own committees? Will the community’s wishes and the town’s bylaws be acknowledged and followed?

Wayne Murray

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