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Ancaster BIA chair appeals city hall’s variance on parking

By Kevin Werner, News Staff

The chair of the Ancaster Heritage Village Business Improvement Area says he is protecting the integrity of the town’s downtown by opposing a decision to reduce the number of parking spaces to accommodate the Brown Dog Coffee Shoppe on Wilson Street.

Bob Wilkins said he has appealed a decision made by the city’s committee of adjustment to grant a minor variance to the owner of 400-402 Wilson Street, a property that was previously occupied by Coffee Culture.

The Brown Dog Coffee Shoppe recently opened in the same building.

Wilkins said the owner of the property didn’t provide enough parking when Coffee Culture was operating, and the necessary parking spaces are still not available

“I really care about the business improvement area,” said Wilkins. “I don’t want to be the trouble maker, yet there is not enough parking. I want Brown Dog to be successful, but it is a safety issue.”

During a spring committee of adjustment meeting, the former owner of the property argued that since there is no change to the type of business, the requirement that parking be provided to two patrons per space be retained rather than the six patrons per parking spot under the revised city bylaw. Under the current parking bylaw, Brown Dog Coffee Shoppe would need to provide 21 parking spots rather than 54, according to the revised bylaw.

Committee members, in a 5-3 decision, approved the minor variance, stating, “There will be no adverse impact on any of the neighbouring lands.”

In his appeal, Wilkins argued the parking relief “is not minor in nature.”

He argued parking remains one of the top problems in downtown Ancaster.

“Any reduction of the required parking …is significant as it will impact on businesses at this site and all other businesses in the village and will cause conflict between businesses,” said Wilkins.

The OMB has yet to schedule a hearing to listen to the appeal.

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