For over a decade, residents in a Cabbagetown neighbourhood have been in a legal battle over the construction of a large home on St. James Court, which they say has damaged their backyards and the value of their homes.
“There is a rhythm in the houses here in Cabbagetown, and then you have this monstrosity out of nowhere,” said Laura Allen, whose backyard looks at the west wall of the home.
On the other side of the fence, the owners of the property, Joyce and Norm Rogers, are not happy with the community’s response to their plans. They say complaints from the neighbours have repeatedly delayed the completion of the home.
“They’re the authors of their own misfortune,” Norm Rogers told CBC Toronto.
Rogers and his wife bought the home, which is located in the Cabbagetown North Heritage Preservation District, in 1995. Years later, the original house had to be demolished because it was deemed to be unsafe, according to the City Planning department.
Rogers began submitting applications to build a new, larger home on the property.
The neighbours felt Rogers offered two equally bad choices, according to Ken Hirschkop, who’s lived in the area since 2005. Those were a two-storey house that would take up almost the entirety of the lot, removing any buffer between the home’s exterior and their properties, or a three-storey house. They felt Rogers could create the home he wanted without taking up so much room.
Rogers didn’t feel that way, and after two rejected proposals for two-storey options, he decided to build up.
“I don’t want a three-storey house. I’m going to be 78-years-old this month. I’m just not well-equipped for climbing stairs anymore,” he said. “There really was no alternative.”
The final plan was approved by the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) in 2014, allowing the size of the home to bypass regular zoning bylaws. The footprint went from 1,754 to 2,070 square feet. The new home would also have to conform to strict heritage instructions and abide by certain terms agreed upon by neighbouring residents.
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