96-unit townhouse development on Prospect approved

starlight townsApproved unanimously at council July 18, the development at 2051-2085 Prospect will replace four 4-plexes (16 units) on the site with 96 stacked and back to back rental townhouses. The townhouses will be four storeys, with the first and second levels as “through” units, and the third and fourth storeys as back to back units. The first floor units are below grade, giving the buildings the effect of being three storeys. The site also has two existing 8-storey apartment buildings.

The original townhouse proposal was modified in several ways, including increased setbacks from the residents on Maplewood Ave to the north, from 10m to 14m, which preserved 88% of the trees (42 of 48 trees). Removal of 51 trees internal to the site is still required, but these will be replaced by 64 new trees.

Pedestrian islands/landscaping in the parking lot were also added. To manage transportation demand and compensate for reduced on-site parking, staff required the applicant to provide on-site car share parking and two car share vehicles for two years; secure bike storage; four bicycles for use by residents; and six months of free Burlington Transit passes as a move-in incentive for new tenants in existing or proposed units. The overall development will provide one parking space for each new townhouse unit, and 40 visitor parking spaces.

The proposal required both an Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw amendment for increased density, and will be subject to negotiation of Section 37 Community Benefits. Those will come before council at a later date.

To read the staff report on this development, visit the Development & Infrastructure Committee for July 12 on the city of Burlington’s new on-line calendar. Filter your search by “city meetings.” Recommendations from D&I went to Council July 18 for a decision.

My Take: I supported the project after the setbacks were increased, which meant that instead of 67% of trees being removed, 88% of trees on site will be saved. The project will also add much needed  rental units in Burlington. A healthy rental vacancy rate is 3%. A recent Halton Region report stated that Halton’s rental vacancy rate is 1.3% – the lowest among regional municipalities in the Greater Toronto Area. The project may also provide affordable and assisted housing. Under Halton’s “in situ” housing program, residents in need can apply for funding that bridges the gap between what they can afford and the market rent. The application could have been improved by greater variety of units (they are all 2-bedroom) and some accessible units (they all have stairs). To compensate, accessibility improvements are being made to the existing apartments.

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