Developer seeks rezoning to permit new 41-unit First Street townhouse project

August 15, 2019   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Baker

First Street may soon be home to a 41-unit townhouse subdivision if a property developer who owns a two-acre site close to the downtown core has his way. 

A public meeting was held in Council Chambers Monday evening to discuss and consider the potential development of townhouses from 62A to 68 First Street. Currently, there are four unoccupied detached homes on the site, which developer Saberwood Homes wants to demolish.

Brandon Ward, the Town’s Manager of Planning, noted the municipality received an application in March requesting an amendment to the Town’s official plan and zoning bylaw. The land in question is currently designated Restricted Commercial Residential use, and would need to be rezoned to Multiple Residential Medium Density for the project to move forward.

The land in question is located immediately north of another recently constructed 41-unit townhouse development, built by a different developer in 2017. 

With two sizable townhouse developments potentially sitting in such close proximity to one another along one of the community’s main thoroughfares, Mr. Ward noted the Town had received some comments from the public.

“Since the application notice was advertised earlier this year, we have received some comments from residents with general questions and concerns raised with respect to the proposal, particularly as it relates to increased (water) run-off and potential drainage problems in the vicinity of the site,” Mr. Ward stated. “There have also been some comments about seeing some of the existing vegetation, particularly around the periphery of the site, being maintained as the proposal proceeds through the approval process.”

Local resident Alan Toms, who resides on nearby Sunset Drive, raised concerns over the ability of First Street to effectively handle increased traffic in its current state.

“It’s going to be a continuous bottleneck along First Street,” Mr. Toms stated. “This is a situation where now we’ve ended up going from a 41-unit townhouse development to effectively an 82-unit townhouse development. From my perspective, there has been very little thought with what we’re going to do with First Street.”

Greg Gilbert, representing Trolleybus Urban Developments, who is working with Sabrewood Homes on this proposal, reassured Council that a traffic study had been completed at the site and that no major concerns had been brought forward.

One potential spanner in the works, as pointed out by Coun. Debbie Sherwood, is that one of the properties slated for demolition is listed as a non-designated heritage property. As such, prior to Council giving the project the all-clear, the developer will first have to seek out approval from Heritage Orangeville. Mr. Ward noted that the local committee had, thus far, not objected to the development. 

A new application, taking into account comments brought forth by the public, will be resubmitted to the Town in October, Mr. Gilbert stated, with a final report and recommendation from staff expected to be brought to Council in early 2020.

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