Based on the feedback at a neighbourhood meeting June 5, Habitat for Humanity has created two design options for a proposed townhouse development at Glendor & Plains Rd East. One option includes 14 back-to-back townhouses. The other includes standard townhouses (3-storey) with backyards, and a single storey accessible unit at one end.
Residents attended a Community Design Discussion Oct. 10 to provide feedback on the design options.
At that meeting, residents raised a number of concerns about the development itself, including added density, traffic and parking, drainage, loss of trees. They also shared concerns about existing traffic and parking in the area.
The developer has assembled several parcels of land along Plains Road East and Glendor. On the front portion facing Plains Rd, the land is zoned mixed use which allows commercial or 6-storey residential development. At the back along Glendor, the zoning permits single family homes.
The proposal is to downzone the mixed use from 6 to 3-storey townhouses along Plains, and upzone the back portion from single family residential to accommodate a single-storey unit and two townhomes.
The next step is for the developer to submit a plan to the city for processing, based on the feedback at the two neighbourhood meetings. A final decision would rest with City Council. The public can attend and speak at the committee and council meetings where this item will be discussed. Stay tuned for dates.
My Take: There are a variety of views in the community on this project. At the first meeting, residents supported townhouses but wanted standard with yards, not back to back. I also prefer standard townhomes to back-to-back units.
At the second meeting, residents expressed concern about any townhouse development. In my view the townhouses are preferable to a commercial use, or a six storey building in this area. That said, the concerns about parking, traffic, drainage and tree loss must be addressed for any development.
I understand the resident’s concerns about rezoning the single family lot, as rezoning can undermine the character of a neighbourhood. This proposal is a compromise based on the assembled lots, and includes both a downzoning (a good thing, in my view) and an upzoning. In one proposal, the unit immediately next to the single family home area is a bungalow.
Residents also raised concerns about more affordable housing in the area, next to an existing co-op. The city can not discriminate giving planning approvals based on the price of units or who they will be sold to. The question for the community and council is whether the built form is desirable in the neighbourhood.
The Habitat housing model is to sell homes at market value and provide financing to families who wouldn’t normally qualify for a mortgage to enter homeownership. Homes are resold at market value. The homes are built by developers, to code. It’s a model, and an organization, whose work I support.
Regarding existing challenges in the neighbourhood, I have asked for a Special Area Patrol to address existing parking and traffic concerns.
Your Take: What are your views on the proposed development? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.