Charlottetown council halts Belvedere Dental Clinic expansion

Nigel Armstrong NArmstrong@TheGuardian.pe.ca
Published on February 8, 2016

Belvedere Dental Clinic

©Google Street View

Short time later, however, advances plans for new physiotherapy clinic on residential land nearby

Charlottetown City Council has rejected a request from Belvedere Dental Clinic for re-zoning to allow it to add one more dental chair and space for new sterilization equipment.

On the other hand, council also took a significant step in advancing plans to build a new physiotherapy office on residential lots right across the street from the dental office.

During its February council meeting Wednesday, Coun. Greg Rivard, chair of planning and heritage presented the motion to reject a request from the dental office to zone its land as institutional. Currently the dental clinic is a C1 commercial zone.

The clinic wants to construct a minor addition to its building, filling in a small area at the back between two segments of its current office.

Despite the small scale of the planned addition, the office size is right now at the maximum square footage allowed under its C1 zoning, said Rivard. There is no legal way to expand at all, hence the need to change the zoning.

Residents told a public meeting last December and then again at follow up meetings with the clinic management, that they are upset with water drainage from the site, increased traffic, parking and privacy because of the height of the clinic in relation to its back yard neighbours.

RELATED: Belvedere Dental Clinic seeks input from residents

Coun. Bob Doiron said residents have gone through three or four rezoning and expansion requests in the years since the clinic opened and are frustrated.

"All their concerns keep coming back, and back, and back," said Doiron. "It's gone on three or four times. Where does it stop?"

Coun. Mike Duffy defended the clinic request, saying the owners had taken the concerns seriously and made some modifications to its site plan to fix or reduce the issues.

"I think it's blatantly unfair," said Duffy. "It isn't the dentist's that didn't comply, it was the residents that didn't accept."

Duffy voted against denying the dental clinic rezoning, as did councillors Melissa Hilton, Kevin Ramsay and Edward Rice.

Later in the meeting all councillors present voted in favour of calling a public meeting to on a request to rezone land across the street from the clinic to allow the construction of a physiotherapy clinic. Those lots single-family homes on them at the moment.

Coun. Hilton said there should be no difference between the two developments, such that if one is rejected, so should the other.

"This goes to concerns of creeping commercialism," she said.

She joined councillors Ramsey, Rice, and even Rivard in voting against this other rezoning request, but they were unable to defeat the motion.