A citizen is challenging a zoning change regarding 5e avenue Nord, adopted by Arrondissement de Pierrefonds-Roxboro, despite opposition from the area’s citizens.

Prior to this modification, the construction of 5 to 8-storey buildings was permitted on this street: with the new zoning, only buildings of 3-storey or less are allowed.

This zoning change was first presented in the By-law Project 1047-214 which, like all zoning changes, was subject to the referendum approval procedure. A sufficient number of citizens having requested it, the borough had to open a Registry on this project and, according to the results obtained, possibly hold a referendum.

However, these same zoning modifications were included in another, more general By-law project, the By-law project CA29 0040, which contained many zoning changes. The number of citizens who signed the Registry relating thereto was insufficient and, consequently, the borough was not required to hold a referendum: it therefore adopted this project.

Considering that the zoning change they were concerned about had been subject to a specific By-law project which had been rejected, the plaintiff and her neighbours felt cheated: they challenged the fact that the same project had been reintroduced in a much larger By-law project (CA29 0040) which was finally adopted.

Following our investigation, we agreed that the process surrounding this zoning change should not have unfolded this way.

Arrondissement de Pierrefonds-Roxboro recognized its error and confirmed its willingness to restore the old zoning regulations providing, however, that it was truly the wish of the majority of the residents concerned. It found, indeed, surprizing that citizens would want to restore a zoning permitting the construction of 5 to 8-storey buildings whereas the new regulations only allows 3-storey buildings. Consequently, citizens were asked to demonstrate such generalized willingness.

At first glance, our office agreed that the new rules seem less likely to cause drawbacks for the neighbourhood (sunlight, parking, traffic, etc.): the borough’s approach, therefore, appeared reasonable.

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