Candace Rodger appeared before Moose Jaw City Council during its regular meeting on May 27 to ask for council’s help in selling her house which, it turns out, was originally developed to have both a store and a home in it. 

Rodger was visibly anxious and told council how nervous she was as she explained that she wanted to sell her home and move into something smaller. However, her realtor informed her that it wasn’t possible to sell it as currently zoned. 

“For over 20 years, I’ve lived in that house,” Rodger said. “It was a store, yes, but I’ve made it into a beautiful home.  

“So, I’d like to sell it, but I can’t ... sell it as a commercial property, so I need to put it into discretionary use.” 

The residence in question was developed in 1938 as a mixed commercial/residential building, with a storefront facing Athabasca Street, and a residential unit at the rear.  

Rodger acquired 701 Athabasca Street East after it had been converted — without a permit — to a one-unit dwelling. 

The City of Moose Jaw Planning & Development Department said in its report that the surrounding residential area is largely composed of R1 and R2 Districts, with most of the area developed as One-Unit Dwellings. There are no unique or limited characteristics of the property that would prevent the City from granting Rodger’s request. 

The building was constructed with no setback from the front property line along Athabasca Street East or along the west side property line along 7th Avenue Northeast. Fortunately, since the building legally existed prior to setback requirements coming into effect, it is legally non-conforming.  

Planning and Development also noted that nothing in the current application would prevent a future owner from renovating the property back into commercial use. 

Rodger spoke for less than a minute, and Councilor Doug Blanc immediately moved to approve her application. 

“If I could just comment,” Blanc added. “I look at all the stuff that comes in front of the City, and I honestly, I’ve lived here most of my life, or all of my life, and I don’t ever remember it being a store. I’ve always thought it was a house! 

“So, I’m happy to have it designated residential.” 

“Well, I don’t think I’m older than Councilor Blanc,” Councilor Crystal Froese said humorously, “but I do remember it being a store. I actually remember going there as a little girl.  

“But I completely agree with the motion ... and I completely understand the reasons for it, so I would support that motion.” 

The discretionary use application was approved unanimously. 

The next regular meeting of Moose Jaw City Council is scheduled for June 10.