Masset rezoning application proves controversial

  • May. 11, 2012 5:00 a.m.

By Jane Wilson-Several Masset residents have told the village council they are opposed to local businessman’s application to rezone his property for commercial use. Fritz Engelhard’s property at 1970 Harrison Street is currently rezoned for residential use. (He also owns a neighbouring property that is zoned for commercial use.) At a public hearing held April 30, neighbours complained about the size of the building on the property and the parking and noise problems it has created for them. It has also blocked their views, they told council members.”Our property has already been devalued by building this large, enormous structure obstructing our view,” said Wilfred Bennett. “The person that built this structure knew what he was doing. There was commercial property available at the time and he chose not to purchase it and now after the fact that he has built this large, enormous structure, he wants to make it commercial to devalue my property even more.”Residents also complained that the building was not what they thought was going to be built.”When the structure was going up I was under the impression it was going to be a B and B,” said Anne Marie Mol, “and my experience with a B and B is that you’re operating out of your home, like Copper Beech or something like that and after it was finished… that’s not a B and B, that’s a hotel.”Another resident said hotel guests can see right into his yard.”We’ve also had our view impacted, I mean I want our property values to remain low,” said Noel Bellis, “but it is a problem. It’s almost like when our family is in the yard in the evening playing, it’s like a sideshow for the guests.”Mr. Engelhard defended the rezoning application and pointed out that the buildings are in the downtown area.”You live downtown, you have all the benefits of being walking distance from everything,” he said. “You have to expect that there are businesses in a downtown area. The town lives from business more than from residential and there’s a need in this town for good places for guests to stay.”Mayor Andrew Merilees said council has received a number of letters on the issue and would not commit to a date for the council to make a decision on the rezoning.”There’s no expedited rush on this,” he said, “so we would like to take the time to consider all viewpoints.”

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