Residents raised questions about greenspace preservation, amenity space, parking and traffic, storm water management, and more at a neighbourhood meeting April 4 regarding the redevelopment of 2360-2368 New St. Three single family homes current sit on the properties.
Approximately 30 residents attended the meeting to hear plans for a rezoning to permit 12 3-storey townhouse units with reduced setbacks. The proposed height of the townhomes is 10.85 metres, from floor to roof peak. Current zoning would permit nine, 2-storey homes at a maximum height of 11.5 metres.
A retaining wall would need to be constructed at the south end of the site, and the site would need to be elevated 1 metre for proper drainage to New St. Currently, the property slopes away from New St. The front of the dwellings would face toward the outside of the property on the east and west sides, onto Sterling Walk’s condominium road, and would have a walkway in front. There would be no access to Sterling Walk’s condominium.
Representatives of the Sterling Walk Condo Corporation said at the meeting they are not opposed to redevelopment. However, the number of amendments to current zoning that are required, and the density proposed, are concerns. Several residents suggested reducing the development by several units to accommodate the space issues on the site, such as snow storage, parking, green space and delivery vehicles. Another resident commented that with having to walk up stairs to get to the front door, this type of development is going to attract young families, not seniors. Young families need amenity space.
Concern was also expressed about the need to elevate the site, with one resident asking if lessons were learned from the townhouse development on Ghent Ave., where significant elevation increase was required at the back of the property. (More on that in My Take below).
City planning staff will prepare an information report and hold a statutory public meeting at City Hall in Council Chambers. The target date is June or July of this year. Everyone who signed in at the neighbourhood meeting or received the original letter of invitation to the meeting will receive notice of when the information report is prepared and the date for the statutory public meeting. An additional meeting will be held once staff prepare a recommendation report on the redevelopment, for council’s endorsement. The recommendation could be to approve, approve with modifications, or refuse the rezoning request.
The PowerPoint presentations and minutes of the meeting, including questions and answers, are below:
A planner from the Burlington Planning and Building Department was at the meeting to give a brief presentation about the planning process. The president of Dawn Victoria Homes was also there to answer questions, along with a Dawn Victoria Homes engineer, architectural technologist, as well as a planning consultant. Right when the meeting began, Councillor Meed Ward brought up the fact that we don’t always agree, but we can agree to be respectful of one another.
After the audience sat through the presentation, it was time for questions and concerns. One of the first concerns expressed was regarding the increase in traffic, even though New Street can be busy as it is now. One resident talked about how hard it would be to turn onto New St. from Mayzel R. It’s true, you could forget about trying to turn left during rush hour. This meeting wasn’t just about the people already living in the townhouses behind the development in question.
Another good point that was made was where would residents put all the snow? We know that snow can come even in April (much to our dismay) so people need to have a designated place to shovel all the snow. It can’t just get piled on the street, and when we get a heap of snow, it needs to go somewhere.
The mini environmentalist inside of me was happy when another resident asked about green space and where trees would be planted. It wouldn’t be too aesthetically pleasing to have no grass area or trees for that matter, but also, green space is needed to soak up water. Green space is important, it’s a fact. There is a reason why we can’t just pave over everything, especially in a residential area.
Me personally, I think having 12 townhouses being built in that small area would just be too tight. I did hear some comments about possibly changing it to 10, which would be a bit better. It wouldn’t be too nice to go from having comfortable space to looking into your neighbour’s kitchen window. Residents that attended the meeting gave great insight and expressed their concerns about this development. It’s not just about the people living on New St. and how they will be affected by this change, but also about residents who live on side streets off of New St., and how the increase in traffic will go over. Yes, I do realize that new residential space is being built in Burlington, but there’s no need to cram as many units in an area as possible for the sake of more living space. Think about how it would actually be like to live in those areas with a young family or with pets. This area should be safe for people to walk, ride their bikes, and get around besides being in a vehicle.
For sure I will be keeping my eyes and ears open regarding this development because I’m interested to see what the conclusion will be. Whatever is decided in the end, I hope everyone’s concerns will be addressed and taken into consideration.
Editor’s note: Claire is a Grade 11 co-op student in my office till June learning about journalism and municipal government.
I support the redevelopment of this property, however I do have several concerns which could be addressed by a scaled back proposal with fewer units. Concerns include lack of greenspace and amenity area, reduced setbacks – which would likely require removal of boundary trees and make new tree plantings more difficult – and increased elevation – especially given our experience on the Ghent Ave. redevelopment (which I did not support). The mayor attended the meeting and acknowledged he wasn’t convinced the Ghent development worked 100%, and fewer units may have helped. (Comments are included in the meeting notes).