The development appeal board at the City of Yellowknife called for the removal of a height variance to a planned four-storey apartment building by Milan and Mike Mrdjenovich, but otherwise rejected most cases for appeal against the project at the Old Bartam Trailer Park. 

City council voted to approve a 65-unit apartment building on the old Bartam trailer court site last spring. On Nov. 27, the city’s development appeal board opposed the height variance given to the developer to allow for four storeys.  NNSL file photo

In the board’s decision posted to the City of Yellowknife’s website on Nov. 27, most cases for appeal against Nova Builders Inc’s 65-unit development on School Draw Avenue were dismissed.

Objections filed against the proposal complained that multi-family dwellings are not of similar use as multi-family attachments; that the proposed development is not keeping in the character of Old Town, that there will be an anticipated increase in traffic, and that it could lead to a loss of property value for area homeowners.

The board expressed several times its concern about the mass and scale of the project in its decision and criticized the developer’s shadowing study (how the building will obstruct sunlight throughout the day). 

City council approved the project last May

A development permit was issued in August and several neighbours filed an appeal to the city’s Development Appeal Board. 

This culminated in hearings on Sept. 20 and Oct. 3. 

The board’s ruling showed that it agreed with the appellants that City of Yellowknife development officer allowance for a height variance of 4.58 m to provide for a fourth storey to the project was not in keeping with the city’s regulations. 

“The Board finds that the addition of a fourth storey does not adequately respect the provisions of the bylaw and the 2011 General Plan and only exasperates the Board’s concerns with the mass and scale of the development,” states the notice. 

NNSL Media left a message with Nova Builders Inc. and the City of Yellowknife on Monday.

Dave Gilday, one of the appellants said he was pleased with the outcome and felt that there was a fair decision from the board.

“I’m really pleased that the appeal board took into consideration the size of this building and they removed the height variance,” he said.  

“I didn’t hear anybody at the appeal hearing say there shouldn’t be development at this site. Not a soul said that. But everyone took issue with what proposed.”

Dave Jones, as member of the Back Bay Community Association said in a statement that the decision was positive, including with the call for the four storey- apartment building to be reduced to three.

“On the larger matter of the type of building allowed at this site, the Appeal Board has agreed with City Council that an apartment building, which the Zoning By-law did not otherwise allow on this site, is similar to a townhome, and may be permitted,” Jones stated. “Instead of seeing the townhome style of development of Summit Condos at the top Twin Pine hill, that being groupings of of smaller buildings, we will see a replica of the Chateau Nova Hotel on this site. We were not in favour of a building of this mass and scale on this site.”

Jones called on council to “respect this decision and integrate concerns expressed by both the appeal board and area residents with the mass and scale of this development.”

This story will be updated.

Simon Whitehouse

Simon Whitehouse came to Yellowknife to work with Northern News Services in 2011. A through and through "County boy" from Prince Edward County, Ont., Simon obtained his journalism education at Algonquin...

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