At its Oct. 31 meeting, City Council unanimously voted to reject a proposed rezoning to allow 35 townhouses and 4 semi-detached units in a single family neighbourhood along the waterfront, on two properties between Avondale Court and Blue Water Place.
In a detailed report, staff recommended against the proposal, stating that established neighbourhoods are not the focus for significant intensification. Some intensification will be permitted in established, low density, single family neighbourhoods, but it will take the form of “gentle” intensification, the director of planning Mary Lou Tanner told committee, such as granny flats, accessory dwelling units, or an apartment over a garage. This proposal is “well beyond what we think gentle intensification is,” she said.
Residents in the immediate and surrounding neighbourhoods formed an association and hired their own planner to make the case that this proposal did not fit the neighbourhood for many reasons including height, density, built form, compatibility, removal of trees and greenspace, drainage issues and more.
During the committee meeting, which occurred in the afternoon, followed by council the same night, a representative for the applicant stated they were prepared to withdraw the proposal and submit a plan for single family homes.
Read the staff report: Oct. 31 D&I and Special Council
My Take: I’m delighted by this outcome and that the voice of the community has carried the day. Kudos to residents for organizing and providing thoughtful, well-researched feedback. This proposal is inappropriate development in a single family neighbourhood; if it could be approved here, it could be approved in any neighbourhood. The recommendation by staff and decision by council signals a commitment to directing intensification where we want it, and away from areas we don’t, such as low density residential neighbourhoods.
That said, this isn’t the end; the developer can appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board (at least until we are able to reform and reduce its jurisdiction!). However, it’s great the developer will consider an alternative proposal. Let’s see what comes back for popping the celebratory cork.