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Mixed residential-commercial project proposed for Elmira

Artistic rendering of the the development proposed for the Elmira site. [Submitted]

The corner of Church Street West and Barnswallow Drive in Elmira could be the site of 51 new residential buildings as well as commercial space.

The Township of Woolwich has received a planning application from Patterson Planning Consultants Inc. on behalf of Nomadiq Elmira Towns Limited to build a commercial and residential development at the empty lot.

The developer is proposing to build a two-storey commercial building with commercial space on the bottom and six residential units above on the 1.5-acre property. On the remainder of the property, the developer is proposing to build 45 more residential units in the form of three rows of stacked townhouses. The plan also includes relevant landscaping and amenities needed for the residential units.

To do this, the developer is asking the township to amend the official plan to increase the allowed residential density in the area to 81 from 60 units per hectare, and to change the zoning to allow stand alone residential buildings on the site.

This would amount to approximately 36 additional residents living on the site than would currently be allowed, says David Gundrum, a planner with the township.

At this point, it is not determined if the residential units would be rental or condominium units, or if any will be designated as affordable housing, said Gundrum.

The density level of this proposal is less than other developments in the township.

“For comparison, the Lunor subdivision surrounding Riverside Public School to the northeast of the site permits up to 120 residential units per hectare,” he explained.

“Existing density policies for the community of Breslau also allow for up to 120 units per hectare with respect to townhouses and mixed-use residential buildings similar to what is proposed for 15 Barnswallow Drive.”

He also mentioned the Cameo Court Apartment site located at 30 Church St. W. has a permitted density of up to 105 units per hectare.  

Stacked townhouses are becoming a more and more popular form of development across the province, said Gundrum. So far none have been built in the township, but there are some proposals in Breslau.

According to Nomadiq’s application, the previous owner of the site had aimed to build a commercial building on the entire site, but had not been able to secure enough tenants to make it viable.

 “It is expected that further changes to the global retail market as a result of the global pandemic will further exacerbate this situation and that it will not be tenable to ever achieve a convenience commercial project across all of the lands,” said the proposal.

Nomadiq’s proposal includes removing the sidewalk along Barnswallow Drive which the developer says the township mistakenly installed.

“The township does have plans to reconstruct Barnswallow Drive in 2023 adjacent to the proposed development,” said Gundrum. “The township would seek to ensure that pedestrian infrastructure (eg. sidewalk or multi-use trail) is provided and re-located should any adjustments be needed for the existing infrastructure.”

Gundrum said residents are welcome to attend the public meeting scheduled for May 30 at 7 p.m. to give feedback on the proposal, or contact the planning department ahead of time to discuss it.

The developer’s planning consultant, Patterson Planning, did not respond to The Observer for comment by press time.

Artistic rendering of the the development proposed for the Elmira site. [Submitted]

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