City says no, but means yes
Committee banking on appeals board making the right decision
by Richard Gleeson
NNSL (Apr 08/98) - City council wants to approve an application for a new school, it just doesn't have the power.
Instead, it will reject Ecole Allain St-Cyr's proposal and hope the development appeals board reverses the decision.
The application is for a new building the French school hopes to build this summer and make its new home starting next school year.
But the plan for the $2.3-million school, to be built on the same lot as William McDonald school, does not meet the setback required by the institutional zoning designation.
Instead of five metres there's only 2.1 between the school and one of the side lot line.
"We're hemmed in by Franklin Avenue and Taylor Road," the school's architect, Wayne Guy, told the city's development committee Monday.
In a memo to committee, the city's planning and lands department noted, "Neither council nor the development officer is given the discretion to vary the yard requirements. Consequently, the application is required by law to be refused."
But while council does not have the authority to overlook the plan's shortcoming, the development appeals board does.
"We did one like this with Pizza Hut," explained planning and lands director Bob McKinnon, referring to the new restaurant built on Old Airport Road. "We're really throwing it into (the development appeals board's) court."
With six classrooms, an auditorium, library and nursery school, the 1,564-square-metre building the school wants to build represents a significant step up from its present home, a series of portables adjacent to J.H. Sissons school.
Guy said all of the money being used to build the school has come from the federal government.