Revisions to plans for the latest Birdland subdivision in Elmira address neighbours’ unhappiness about apartment blocks adjacent to existing homes, but traffic and density concerns remain.
Those concerns about the Southwood 4 project were aired at another public meeting in Woolwich council chambers Tuesday night. Residents already dealing with traffic woes, particularly exiting onto Arthur Street from South Parkwood Boulevard, expect issues of speeding and traffic volumes to get worse with the next phase.
Density also remains a problem for some, as the revised plan contains even more units, 481 to 552 as opposed to 444-513 in the first iteration.
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The Birdland Developments proposes a mix of single-family homes (194 to 209), semis (52), townhouses (80 to 106 units) and apartments (155 to 185).
The apartment buildings were the most contentious at much more vocal public meeting last fall. Since then, Birdland has moved apartment block from along west end of Whippoorwill Drive, adjacent to existing single-family homes on larger lots, to the southwest part of the 70-acre site, nearer to Listowel Road.
“It’s far from any existing residences,” said IBI Group planner Douglas Stewart, representing the developer. “It’s an appropriate mix and range of housing.”
The new plan for the development “sprinkles” the higher density projects throughout the site rather than grouping them together, he noted.
That change appeased existing residents whose properties would have been adjacent the apartments, but traffic remains the largest grievance.
Ron Campbell, who lives in the Southwood 3 subdivision, noted the neighbourhood deals with speeding and drivers ignoring stop signs, along with the worsening trouble of exiting from South Parkwood Boulevard.
“You can’t turn left onto Arthur Street safely,” he said.
The issue extends to Whippoorwill and Barnswallow drives, stressed resident Steve Racey.
“It’s a disgusting mess at that corner,” he said, calling for traffic-calming measures to slow vehicles “racing” along those routes.
A transportation engineering consultant who looked at traffic in the area suggested that the project’s plan to open up new connections to Listowel Road and Whippoorwill Drive would eventually provide additional outlets for traffic.
“There’ll be alternative routing options,” said Julia Salvini.
Fronting on 1143 Listowel Rd. in Elmira’s south end, the development would essentially form a link between Whippoorwill Drive and Listowel Road when built out.
Residents remained skeptical however, a sentiment shared by Coun. Patrick Merlihan, who used to live in that neighbourhood.
The plan offers no resolution for traffic on South Parkwood Boulevard, which is likely to get worse, he said.
Tuesday night’s meeting was an information session. Township planning staff is still reviewing the Birdland application prior to returning to council with a recommendation report.