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Proposed residential development raises questions for Wellesley neighbourhood

Site map of proposed development on Doering Street in Wellesley. [Submitted]

Residents of a Wellesley neighbourhood aren’t happy about a proposed medium-density development, bringing that message to township councillors during a public meeting December 3.

The proposal calls for 55 townhouses, two semi-detached units and a single-family home to be built on land at 1016, 1018, 1024, 1030, and 1032 Doering St. The applicant, 2046680 Ontario Inc. (Jim Flynn), is looking for an official plan and zoning bylaw amendments to allow the project to proceed on some 7.75 acres of land, some of which is currently zoned as open space.

But neighbours weren’t keen on the idea, raising concerns about environmental impacts, traffic and parking, and provisions for pedestrian traffic, councillors heard Tuesday night.

“We feel that the proposal would have a very negative impact on the neighbourhood and on the current residents of Doering Street and Nafziger Road South,” said Wellesley resident Jamie Gerber, who said he was speaking on behalf of several other community members.

He cited environmental concerns as among the biggest issues – 1016 and 1032 Doering St. are zoned as ‘open space’ and ‘environmental constraint areas.’ This was put in place to protect Firella Creek, the watershed and wildlife habitat from development, he said.

“Protection of the environment and wildlife habitat is more important at this time in history than it has ever been. I understand that no development will occur in the floodplain area, but of course, wildlife aren’t limited to lines on a floodplain map.”

The road access proposed in the concept drawing is “problematic,” he added.

The use of an easement (currently a private driveway) for secondary access to the development would adversely affect residences on Nafziger Road. As it is now, it would reduce privacy, increase traffic noise, reduce safety, and lead to potential devaluation of properties.

“It doesn’t sound like a good thing when 132 cars are going to come in and out and past my family’s house every day, and then disperse on this lousy corner, where you can’t see to turn onto Nafziger,” said Marshall Roth, another Wellesley village resident.

Pedestrian safety was another concern raised. The east side of Nafziger Road between Doering and Lawrence streets does not currently have a sidewalk, which could create crossing hazards. Gerber went on to propose that “sidewalks should be a mandatory requirement for pedestrian safety and to facilitate ease of walking in all new developments.”

Staff indicated the application “represents good planning because it is a suitable area for residential development, and aligns with the Township of Wellesley official plan, which encourages redevelopment and infilling within settlement areas, and providing more housing options.

“What we have attempted to do here is to design a plan that is sensitive to the area by… although offering a unit type that is different, provides some separation from the existing homes,” said Steve Wever of GSP group, who spoke on behalf of the applicant. “There are more details that will emerge as we go forward through future planning approval.”

The plan is likely to undergo at least some changes in response to concerns raised by the Grand River Conservation Authority, involved because part of the land is in a floodplain.

Tuesday night’s meeting was for information purposes only, with council not making any decisions. After more input and possible revisions, planning staff will come back at a later date with a report for councillors’ consideration.

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