Council to consider bid to redevelop heritage property on Faulkner St.

January 31, 2019   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Baker

A proposal to tear down a 140-year-old building listed on Orangeville’s heritage registry in favour of erecting a five-story apartment complex was discussed at council level for the first time on Monday (Jan. 28).

The building in question, located at 15 Faulkner Street, was first constructed circa 1879. Town staff are unclear on what the building’s original purpose was, but has confirmed the facility underwent drastic renovation prior to being transformed into a 17-unit apartment complex in 1989. The current owners took possession of the site in 2004 with a view to one day redeveloping the property. 

Speaking on behalf of the owners at Monday’s meeting, Bob Long expressed his belief the multi-million-dollar project would improve the neighbourhood. The proposal calls for a modern five-storey, 46-unit building to be constructed on roughly the same footprint as the current facility.

“We think this will greatly improve the aesthetics of the property, while also serving to provide additional rental accommodations to the people of Orangeville,” Mr. Long said. “My client purchased this building with the objective of redeveloping when feasible. My client is now prepared to make this investment in your community.”

In order to carry out the plans as proposed, the investor is looking Town Council to change two of its bylaws – the first to increase the number of units on the site from 17 to 46, and the second to increase the maximum permitted building height from 14 metres to 18 metres. As a secondary piece, since the building is listed on Orangeville’s heritage registry, the group will need to submit the proposal to Heritage Orangeville for consideration.

In what was the first public meeting scheduled to discuss the proposal, Town Planner Gordon Dickson noted the Town had received six complaints from nearby residents. One of the complaints related to an increase in density, with the proposal calling for a density rate of 98.71 units per hectare of land – just under the maximum allowance of 99 units per hectare, as designated in the Town’s bylaws.

Mr. Dickson noted the comments received will be addressed at the site planning stage.

Alice Russell owns a property on the south side of the apartment complex, along McCarthy Street. She and her husband, Johnny, have lived in that house for 61 years. She expressed to Council that she and her husband had concerns over the property when it was initially rezoned in 1989 and, having seen how that has impacted their property over the years, would be completely against any new development.

“We’re concerned. We want the right thing done. We’re concerned about the parking. We’ve had water in our basement because of the runoff,” Ms. Russell said. “I’ve written to the owners a couple of times and had no response. They cut a lot of trees down last year, which was sad to see.”

Bethany Comeau owns the property at 16 Faulkner Street, just across the road. She commented on how homeowners in that area form a “tight neighbourhood” and she would be against seeing a multi-storey apartment complex erected opposite her front door.

“I’m fully aware of the housing crisis we have in this community… But to simply build upwards, this is something that will affect my tiny little house across the street,” Ms. Comeau said. “We moved to Orangeville from Alberta and picked this community for a reason. We picked this house for a reason, knowing all the buildings around us and the bylaws in place.”

She added, “We don’t want the extra height. We don’t want the extra traffic. With ODSS nearby, there are a lot of school kids who walk down Faulkner Street. I have concerns over their safety if we put more traffic in across the road. This will be very impactful to us and our neighbourhood.”

Deputy Mayor Andy Macintosh asked, since there are tenants currently living in the facility, if there was a timeframe for any potential demolition. Mr. Dickson noted it was difficult to say, but noted the report staff will have to conduct prior to Council making a final decision will “take some time”. Perhaps putting minds at rest, Mr. Long noted this was simply the beginning of a public process.

“It’s a long way until the end,” Mr. Long said. “And we respect that.”

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