By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express
Despite the impassioned pleas of one councillor and local resident, city council has approved the rezoning of a historical residence on King Street East.
The proposal is to convert the home located at 291 King Street East into a dental office, with further plans of an addition.
The rezoning application elicited some concerns from residents, including issues surrounding loss of trees and green spaces, parking, traffic safety and the increasing commercialization of the neighbourhood.
Resident David Zatzman, who has lived in the area for nearly 50 years, said he and other homeowners have put too much “time, effort and money into their properties” for this to happen.
To him, approving the application sets a “terrible precedent.”
“There will be nothing to stop further rezoning until this island of unique residential properties disappears, and King Street east of Ritson will take on the commercial ugliness of King Street west of Ritson,” Zatzman said.
Ward 5 regional councillor Brian Nicholson said he has consistently fought against the destruction of neighbourhoods of historical value.
He said at one time the stretch of Simcoe Street North between Adelaide and Bond was filled with older, “beautiful, well-kept” homes that have now been replaced by professional services offices.
“To where it is a commercial district now hiding within the outer limits of a residential building envelope,” he said.
Nicholson said he fears this will be what becomes of King Street East from Ritson Road to Wilson Road.
“We can’t afford to lose this key part of King Street. This block is the last block. It is the last one that has survived in a residential character, everything else is commercialized. Enough is enough.”
Commissioner of development services Warren Munro told council the applicant is willing to have a heritage designation placed on the house.
Ward 2 regional councillor Tito-Dante Marimpietri said the owner had “gone to great lengths” to satisfy concerns of the public and the city.
While he acknowledges council’s decision wouldn’t please everyone, Marimpietri supports the plan.
“I think it’s a positive. We get to save a home…which otherwise would have gone into disrepair or renovation,” he stated.
Although he was in support of the rezoning, Ward 4 city councillor Derek Giberson recognized the concerns of surrounding residents.
He said the area may be an appropriate location for a heritage district.
“I think it would be a wonderful idea. What better way to do it than to come together as neighbours and a neighbourhood, and give that gift to the rest of the city for many years to come,” Giberson said.