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Council clears addition for Elmira heritage home, siding with applicants’ plan for site

Much happier with the aesthetics of the original plan for an addition to an Elmira heritage home, Woolwich council this week backed the applicants over an alternative suggested by planning staff.

The decision clears the way for a new conservatory, breezeway and detached garage to be added on to the home at 2 William St., originally constructed in 1891 and designated for its heritage features in 1994. Known as the Dunke House, it’s a yellow brick house built in the Queen Anne style popular at the time.

Heritage protections apply to three of the home’s facades: east, south and west. All of the construction would be along the north side of the building. A plan submitted by the Playford & Co. calls for the addition of a conservatory in the northeast corner, with a breezeway that would lead to a new detached garage to replace the current parking structure. The breezeway would wrap around the west side of the house, providing glassed-in protection for access to an existing stairwell leading into the basement.

Planning staff, however, argued against the design, pressing for the conservatory to be contained completely behind the north wall, with a smaller breezeway and garage area tucked back entirely behind a line running along the north face of the building.

The goal is to protect the current heritage facades from any impact from the additions, director of engineering and planning Dan Kennaley told councillors meeting March 3.

For their part, the applicants had a firm carry out a heritage impact assessment – required given the property’s designation – that found no issues with the wrap-around features.

“We’re not touching any of the heritage attributes,” said Scott Playford, noting the proposed addition “flows well with the Queen Anne style.”

The changes proposed by township staff would destroy the architectural enhancements of the proposed addition, he added.

Councillors agreed, praising the applicants’ design.

“I’m for heritage, but I’m also for good looks, too,” said Coun. Larry Shantz.

“It’s well thought out,” added Coun. Mark Bauman.

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