Fiorenzo Merlino wins Sydenham Road rezoning battleWednesday, February 08, 2012 by: Jordan Allard
It caused one of the liveliest and longest debates at Monday night’s council meeting, but in the end the City sided with Fiorenzo Merlino and his request for rezoning.
Monday night, Merlino requested from council the rezoning of property on Sydenham Road from R2 (single detached residential) to R3 (low density residential).
Gerald Smith, a resident of Sydenham Road, presented council with 49 signatures on a petition against the rezoning.
Smith argued the rezoning would further change the neighborhood into a rental area.
“I have owned my home on this street for 22 years and I bought it knowing the neighborhood,” said Smith. “We currently have six homes on our street geared towards low income families and that could drive down the value of my home. Also, the families in these homes must have at least four children to be eligible to rent it. This means there are a minimum of 24 kids in those homes. Adding another rental house would further increase the number of kids and an overabundance of kids from any income group can cause problems.”
Smith added he talked to local police and was informed they have been called out to Sydenham Road 27 times in the past few weeks; compared to seven calls at a neighboring street (Langdon).
Ward 4 councilor Lou Turco questioned the intentions of Smith’s proposal, asking how a vote against Merlino’s request would really affect the current situation at Sydenham Street.
Smith admitted if councilors voted against the rezoning it wouldn’t fix the issues he has, but it would keep things from getting worse.
Paul Merlino, on behalf of his father, responded to Smith’s concerns and explained their plan is to build a semi-detached home.
"There is no plan for this to become a rental unit,” said Merlino. “The plan is for me to live in one home and the other would be sold.”
Council voted to approve the rezoning 9-2.
Turco and Ward 6 councilor Frank Manzo voted against; while councilors Marchy Bruni, Steve Butland, Frank Fata, Joe Krmpotich, Pat Mick, Susan Myers, Rick Niro, Terry Sheehan and Mayor Debbie Amaroso voted in favour.
Ward 1 councilor Paul Christian and Ward 3 councilor Brian Watkins were absent.