The line from the Sesame Street song, “one of these things is not like the others” could be applied to Crown Crescent in Vancouver’s Point Grey community.
A house under construction at 4122 Crown Cres. doesn’t match houses surrounding it on the upscale street, and neighbours say it doesn’t belong.
Unlike the majority of Georgian-style homes on the crescent, which are set back from the sidewalk to allow for landscaped yards and unobstructed views, the new build is a flat-roofed, square home that butts up close to the sidewalk, takes up most of the property and blocks neighbours’ views, they say.
Sheila Huggins lives next door to the construction in a home she and her husband bought over 40 years ago.
When she looks out her kitchen window she said she no longer gets to look out over the crescent, which has won awards for being one of Vancouver’s prettiest blocks and was featured in the 2003 movie Good Boy! All she looks at now is the new house.
“I am sitting here and all I can see is wood and wood,” Huggins said.
Evelyn McNeil, who lives on the other side of the build, is also upset about her new neighbour. She calls it a huge, ugly looking box of a house.
“It is right in our face,” she said.
Considering the house is so different from those around it, McNeil, 81, and fellow neighbours are angry construction was started without consultation with neighbours. They worry, with the recent sale of other older houses on the block, this new type of build will become a trend and they question how the “green” city council is allowing the tear down of old homes.
Huggins claims she has complained to the city several times, but has been given the runaround.
“You kind of feel like you live in a communist country. These things go on and you can’t do anything about it,” she said.
The Courier contacted the city for an interview, but instead a spokesperson sent a statement that said the new construction meets all city requirements. According to the statement, a city supervisor met with neighbours to explain the development process, but community consultation is not required on this type of build.
Robert Trinder, who owns a general contracting company, lives across from the contentious house. He finds it extremely unusual that this latest house could have been built so far forward from the houses around it.
“On anything I have built in the past we have always had to comply and move the houses backwards and forwards. It is like they completely ignored that,” he said. He said at least six other houses have been built on the crescent in the last five years and they all matched the neighbourhood. “I have never seen anything like this before,” he said.