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Plans evolve for Elmira subdivision

A bit of juggling at a subdivision planned for Elmira’s north end would clear the way for the extension of Barnswallow Drive past Church Street.

The Official Plan and zoning changes introduced at a public meeting Aug. 3 also include a land swap between the developer, Lunor Group, and Elmira District Community Living (EDCL).

The proposed changes are the latest tweaking of a major development that could bring some 1,400 residential units to what is currently farmland north of Church Street West.

Click map to enlarge
Most of the changes, involving small blocks of land along the Church Street frontage, are being made at the request of the township. In particular, to accommodate the extension of Barnswallow Drive to the north, said Shawn McGuire of the Guelph-based Lunor.

“The township has always said they wanted to extend Barnswallow – it was stated right from day-one.”

To do that, the developer will swap some land with EDCL, the local organization that provides housing and other services for people with developmental challenges. Essentially, the agency gets more land than it gives up, allowing room for expansion: a 1.4-acre parcel adjacent to the existing ARC Industries facility would be rezoned to allow for a future condo-style building with 22 to 34 units.

“They’re great people to deal with. And this could be a great benefit for them,” McGuire said of the deal.
Although Lunor’s moves make the Barnswallow extension easier, Woolwich will still have to deal with at least one other property owner whose land falls outside the subdivision, he added.

Other changes include rezoning proposed service commercial land to a more focused neighbourhood commercial designation, and the inclusion of an existing half-acre residential lot on Church Street into the new subdivision.

While no one at the public meeting spoke out against the proposed changes, the township did receive a letter in opposition to the extension of Barnswallow Drive.

Stephen and Rhonda Klinck, of 166 Church St. W., are worried about the impact the roadway will have on their property.

“There are other access points which can be used and which will reduce the impact this development will have on our home. We request that those be used and Barnswallow Drive not extended,” they wrote.

The overall design of the subdivision currently calls for the redevelopment of two existing farm properties on the north side of Church Street, adjacent to the Elmira Farm Service site. A four-acre portion at the rear of that property would in fact be included in the subdivision.

The bulk of the 180-acre development will take place on two farms purchased in 2005. The deal involves three property owners.

A 93-acre farm at 90 Church St. W., known as Riverbend, is the proposed site of 464 to 826 units of mixed housing types and a commercial block fronting on Church Street. To the west, the 82-acre site known as Northview is slated for 165 to 235 residential units (including homes near the Elmira Golf Club) and two commercial blocks. The four acres at the rear of the Elmira Farm Service, labeled Green Acres, would see 40 to 55 residential units of differing housing types.

Plans also allow for a large block that could someday house a new school. A large park and a trail system connection to the Kissing Bridge Trail to the north are also in the works.

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