Residents share views on proposed townhouse units

By Jessica Tulpin

Over 100 Port Rowan and area residents came out to a public meeting at Port Rowan Community Centre on October 16th to voice concerns about the proposed Zoning By-Law amendment on Price Street. The meeting was held to give County staff feedback and input on the proposal.
Norfolk County planners Alisha Cull and Shannon VanDalen gave a short presentation and opened the floor for questions. Also present were John Vallee, engineer for the proposed development; Mark Siegel of MDR Developments, the applicants of the proposed rezoning; David Puddy, realtor for the development.

Above: Over 100 residents attended a meeting on proposal to build 136 group townhouse units on Price Street.

The proposal requests a rezoning from Urban Residential Type 1 to Urban Residential Type 4 to allow for higher density and the development of 136 group townhouse units, a stormwater management pond, parkland pathway and an internal street network.
Units adjacent to existing houses on College Ave are proposed to be limited to one storey. The townhouses will not be rentals but will be sold as freehold units within a condominium corporation with monthly maintenance fees. Lawn care, for example, would be uniformly maintained for curb appeal. The land in question has been purchased conditionally.
Many concerns were raised by those in attendance, from increased traffic on College Ave, to insufficient infrastructure to the number the units proposed.
Mr Siegel was impressed by the turnout for the meeting. “I’m very happy to see this many people come out. We have a very involved community here, which is great,” he said as he addressed the crowd.
When he was asked if the development could be possible without the rezoning, he replied, “We wouldn’t be interested in developing if it was R1,” noting that townhouses are considered medium density.
Frustrations were expressed about possible changes to the community and concerns were raised about the environmental impact.
“There are so many services in Port Rowan that are already lacking,” said one concerned woman wondering how the town will manage extra residents.
The attendees were assured by Ms VanDalen that costs for any required infrastructure upgrades will fall on the developer, not the taxpayers; that an environmental impact study wasn’t triggered by the development and that plans are monitored annually to ensure that infrastructure does not reach maximum capacity preventing current residents from obtaining approval to build on their own land in the future.
The last comment was made at 7:40, ten minutes past the allotted time, “What I’m hearing tonight is that we overwhelmingly don’t want an R4 here in Port Rowan,” said the citizen.
Those in attendance were invited to discuss matters further with the panel on a one-to-one basis and were directed to the county planning office if they had additional concerns. Many citizens were sceptical about the impact that the meeting would have on the ultimate decision to be made by Norfolk Council.
Ms VanDalen told the Good News that the community can be assured that all comments from the meeting will be taken into account, recommendations will be made and then council will make a decision. A public hearing is scheduled for December 10, 2019.
More information about the proposal is available from the planning department at www.norfolkcounty.ca/government/planning or call 519-426-5870 ext 1893 to speak to Senior Planner Alisha Cull.

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