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Council approves zone change for township development in village

Slightly scaled back, a townhouse development in Wellesley village moved one step closer this week when township council approved the required official plan and zoning amendments.

The project submitted by 2046680 Ontario Inc. (Jim Flynn) calls for the construction of 47 townhomes and two semi-detached units to go along with a pair of existing single-family homes that will be retained. The development will take place on 7.75 acres of land at what is now 1016, 1018, 1024, 1030, and 1032 Doering St.

The 51-home version was reduced from the 58 proposed at a public meeting in December, where neighbours raised a number of concerns. The changes were made in response to public comments. The Grand River Conservation Authority also raised concerns about the proximity to a floodplain.

The existing detached dwellings have been out of use for some time and because of the concerns raised by the GRCA, they will be “retrofitted and floodproofed to be reintroduced for residential use.”

Steve Wever, a planner with  GSP Group representing the applicant, said the new plan reflects the issues raised by the public, including concerns about lot sizes. There will still be some lots with reduced yard depths, however.

Other changes made to the plan discussed in December include updates that incorporate larger unit sizes, bringing the unit sizes up to 1,700 square feet, increasing visitor parking to 23 spaces – with a total of 125 throughout the development. Internal sidewalks are being added to the site and a proposed sidewalk extension along Doering Street has been added. Finally, unit height has been decreased from nine metres to 7.5 metres.

Even with the changes, however, Coun. Shelly Wagner remained unconvinced, noting many of the lots have reduced yard space that require variances from the typical zoning. As councillors met Tuesday night, she questioned the need for variances for developments that do not “play within the rules”

Geoff VanderBaaren, Wellesley’s director of planning, said it’s not unusual to tailor regulations to fit the configuration of a particular property. Despite the number of variances, the development is maintaining most of what the township sets out in its planning guidelines.

Wagner countered that the current version of the plan does not fully address the concerns brought to her by residents in the area.

“When we make this decision, we need to consider those people that do live there that raised concerns,” she said, adding council was probably going to be voting on something that isn’t as good as it could be.

Wagner’s was the sole vote against the plan, however.

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