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Wellesley residents pan proposed condo project

The prospect of a small condominium development in their backyards had several Wellesley residents out to council chambers for a public meeting Tuesday night. They’re unhappy about plans floated for 2245 Gerber Rd.

The two-storey, 16 unit development is proposed for a two-acre piece of land fronting Gerber Road, branching off to a private road ending in a cul-de-sac. The development area flanks the backyards of single-family homes to the west and north on Lawrence Street and Reiner Crescent.

Homeowners expressed concerns about the project’s proximity to their yards, and the possible effect on the value of their properties.

“I’m afraid we’re going to get even closer to our neighbours. I love my neighbours but I don’t need them that close,” said resident Jane Harten.

Coun. Herb Neher agreed with that assessment, commenting, “You could shake hands with your neighbour.”

He suggested larger setbacks.

“Is there any thought given to putting smaller homes in these lots so that you have a little more distance?” he asked.

At this point, the applicant, Blaze Properties, is seeking designation for the land and the proposed roadway, not the units that would be built, project planner Caroline Baker of GSP Group told councillors.

“We are not seeking approval for the actual homes,” she said in her delegation.

The rear yards would range from 13.7 to 8.4 metres, she added, noting the public’s concerns about deck construction would be taken into account.

Residents are also concerned condo-dwellers will not take care of their properties, creating an eyesore, especially if condo fees do not cover the necessary maintenance.

“There was a change approximately five years ago in the province where you can now do something called the vacant land condominium, which is different than a traditional condominium – the individual owners not only own their house, but they own the dirt on their front, side and rear yard and are responsible for their maintenance. It will perform as a freehold house like the rest of the neighbourhood,” Baker explained in response.

Still, many residents maintained a concern for the value of their homes.

“I’m just wondering if you studied the impact of the value of the existing single-family homes that are there. If these condos are put right behind them it will, in my opinion, reduce the value of the existing homes,” said resident John Merant.

The other issue presented by township planner Sarah Peck was the area’s proximity to Galick Packaging Equipment Ltd., located just east of the property. The township would require the applicant to submit a buffer plan and will want a visual and noise barrier built to separate the residential and industrial properties. A drainage easement also located on the east edge of the property would be donated to the township upon approval and would be fenced off from residents.

Councillors made no decisions about the project, which will be reviewed at a later date after public input and a staff report is completed.

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