Increasing densities that threaten the character of the township’s communities are a stumbling block for Wellesley councillors as a new subdivision moves forward.
The Lotco II Ltd. project slated for a vacant 4.76-acre site at Ferris Drive and Greenwood Hill Road in Wellesley Village has been altered to better fit existing neighbourhoods following input from the public. The current version discussed at a public meeting Tuesday night features 32 single-family homes rather than the previous proposal for three single-detached homes, 32 semis and 13 townhouse units.
Three of the lots are to front on Ferris Drive, along with access from Greenwood Hill Road. A new road, Galena Street, would be created on the site, part of which backs on to Schweitzer Crescent.
The new street reflects an historic family name, explained Geoff VanderBaaren, the township’s director of planning.
Though there were no public objections to this version of the subdivision, councillors raised several concerns, largely related to density.
Coun. Carl Smit questioned whether the township will be forced to cram condos or semis into future subdivisions even if the Lotco plan goes ahead as strictly single-family homes. Coun. Shelley Wagner, meanwhile, asked about the consequences if the township simply said no to minimum density requirements for settlements.
Her’s was a sentiment shared by Coun. Herb Neher.
“What happens if we say we don’t want any more expansion? A lot of people move out here because they want to get away from cities, and here we are building to it. Does the government listen to that at all? There are communities that say, ‘we like the small community, we don’t want to become a Kitchener or Toronto or whatever,’” said Neher. “Is that at all possible? I say that because I feel what people want and what the government wants is just totally, totally at odds. Can we say we don’t want any more expansion?”
VanderBaaren explained that ever-increasing density levels for residential and employment lands are demanded by the provincial government.
“When the province is given a growth number to the region it is up to the region to then divide that between the seven municipalities, so the four townships and the three cities, and if Wellesley decides that we are not going to grow, then they will just take that allocation that they were going to give to Wellesley and distribute it elsewhere,” he explained.
The new subdivision design includes a 20-metre wide road allowance that connects to Ferris Drive and Greenwood Hill Road, will have sidewalks on both sides of the new street. A recreational trail along the frontage on Greenwood Hill road will also be installed at the developer’s cost.
VanderBaaren said staff would prepare formal conditions for a draft plan of subdivision approval for consideration at a council meeting in early 2018.