An Athabasca subdivision and development appeal board hearing was held last Thursday at the Athabasca town office to discuss the proposed construction of a duplex in Cornwall Estates.
There was overwhelming opposition to the duplex from residents of Cornwall, but the decision was made to allow the duplex to be built.
More than 40 people were crammed into the town office’s boardroom to attend the meeting.
Sharan Khurana purchased a lot in Cornwall with the understanding that he would be allowed to build a duplex because Cornwall had been rezoned.
“We came to Athabasca in 2010, and we have started to call Athabasca home,” Khurana said. “We shall be giving two families a place to live, and we will be better utilizing the property.”
He plans to live in one side of the duplex, and rent out the other.
“Our development doesn’t directly affect anyone in the neighborhood,” he said. “In fact, it will increase the price of properties in the area.”
A man in the crowd stood up to object.
“No one is questioning the duplex, and affordable housing in Athabasca,” he said. “The problem is building it in an estates neighborhood.”
The concerned residents were worried that building a duplex would lower property value, and it wouldn’t blend into the neighborhood.
“Allowing the duplex to move forward will negatively affect Cornwall,” a citizen said. “If the people of Cornwall didn’t believe this was going to negatively affect them, we would not have the turnout we did tonight.”
Khurana said he thought the hearing was very fair, and he had no complaints with the process.
“Everyone has a right to present themselves, and I also have a right to present,” he said. “I only presented what the plan wants me to do. We purchased the property with the intent to build there.”
Many people agreed that Cornwall had been fighting off developments since the first house was built.
“There are no multi-family buildings in Cornwall Estates,” someone said. “This should be considered a disgrace because we are even thinking about it.”
Many residents also were upset because if they had known about the rezoning, they would have fought against it so they wouldn’t be in this situation.