New homes could appear at the rate of 75 a year when construction begins in the next phase of the Thomasfield Homes development in Breslau, a number reached last week in a deal with Woolwich Township just prior to a legal hearing.
The agreement turned a May 18 Ontario Municipal Board hearing into a settlement meeting, clearing the way for official plan and zoning bylaw amendments Thomasfield had requested from the township. The deal came almost three years after the company first applied for the changes that will see a mixed-use development on lands adjacent to the existing Hopewell Heights subdivision.
Along with industrial and commercial properties, the plan would see some 900 to 1,100 homes built, depending on the number of apartments/multi-unit buildings.
Staging had been a stumbling block, with Woolwich seeking to limit construction to 50 homes a year in keeping with a township-wide policy to limit annual growth. A compromise figure of 75 was ultimately agreed on.
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“I think we’re fine with that. We never really wanted to have an overly aggressive building program here,” said Thomasfield president Tom Krizsan of the settlement agreement.
The company is looking at taking up to 12 years to build out this development. The first phase could see 225 units, mostly single-detached homes and some multi-unit buildings, he said.
Actual home construction may not get underway until the spring of 2018, with a great deal of work still to be done on a project that’s been almost 15 years in the making, Krizsan added.
The next steps will see Thomasfield hammer out a subdivision agreement with the township, along with getting plans for underground services approved by the Ministry of the Environment. With those in place, grading and servicing can be done on the site, perhaps starting late this year or in the spring of 2017 before moving to build model homes.
“Our goal is to do all that in the next year and a bit.”
The township, too, has some ducks to get in a row prior to any work getting underway in the site, including finalizing a deal with Kitchener to provide water and sewer capacity to serve the growing areas of the community.
“We have to finalize the cross-border agreement with Kitchener,” John Scarfone, Woolwich’s manager of planning, said this week.
There will also be changes to the township’s development charges bylaw as it pertains to future infrastructure requirements in Breslau.
Once services are installed and construction underway, Krizsan said he’s hopeful there will be some movement on a new GO Transit station slated for Greenhouse Road Breslau, with Scarfone noting the township expects to hear next month if that spot makes the provincial agency’s short list for new GO stations.
As well, Thomasfield expects work to get underway seeking potential commercial and industrial businesses to locate in the development.
“There’ll be a huge effort to find local businesses to bring employment and assessment to Woolwich,” said Krizsan.
While residential developments tend to sell steadily, commercial and industrial projects offer more variables.
But given the location – central to Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge and Guelph – and access to highways and train lines, Krizsan sees the area as a prime target.
“We’re quite optimistic that we will be able to attract some good businesses to locate in that area.”
All the changes in the Breslau area are the impetus for requiring Thomasfield to submit an updated traffic study, something it will have to do with each phase of the development to reflect actual impacts versus those predicted in previous studies, Scarfone explained.
Traffic flows will be influenced in the long run not only by Thomasfield’s construction, but by the arrival of a new Highway 7 and the proposed GO Transit station, both of which will have a big impact on current traffic numbers, he added.