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Council approves plan for small residential development in Wellesley

Wellesley is moving ahead with a contentious development in the village despite opposition from residents.

Township council’s decision Tuesday night had more than a few heads shaking among those in the gallery at Crosshill council chambers.

The decision was made after a heated discussion at council meeting last month that saw members of the public vociferously denounce the project, providing council with a petition calling for the plan to be scrapped.

Blaze Properties Inc. wants to build 16 semi-detached homes and one single-family house on a vacant two-acre lot on Gerber Road in the village. Having originally won approval two year ago for a 16-unit plan, the company made changes to add a single-family house into the mix. That requires three of the 17 units to be smaller than the mandated minimum sizes of semi-detached and single-family homes in the township

In a separate application to the township’s committee of adjustment, Blaze Properties also received approval to decrease the setback of the single home that abuts Gerber Road, allowing the property to be built three metres closer to the busy road than normally allowed.

Residents are unhappy with plans to fit so many units into the relatively small space.

At last month’s meeting, they accused the developer of trying to jam as many people onto to land as possible, without regard for the village’s character. They had questioned why the company could not build one fewer home on the land instead of decreasing the minimum lot size.

Speaking at the Tuesday night’s meeting, Ward 3 Coun. Peter van der Maas opposed the minor variance, suggesting increasing the density of homes would increase congestion and parking issues. He took issue with the “minor” description.

“We’re talking about a fairly significant variance,” said van der Mass, noting the size of one lot was decreasing more than 35 per cent of the recommended size.

Mayor Joe Nowak, however, suggested the reduced home size would help Wellesley offer more diverse housing.

“I see that extra house is going to be on a smaller lot, it’s going to be a smaller house, and I’m pretty confident that somebody would appreciate that house at some point in time,” said Nowak.

Council voted 3-2 in favour of minor variance, allowing Blaze Properties to continue the development process.

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