On Tuesday Aug 7, Carleton Place Town Council held a session of its Policy Review committee with a very full agenda. The meeting was held in the upstairs auditorium to accommodate a larger crowd (approximately 50 attended); most coming out to speak on and witness the fate of a four storey multi-residential condo building proposal for 50 Allan Street. Fifteen members of the community registered to speak on a planning staff recommendation which would have reduced the number of storeys to three along with a list of conditions imposed on the project.
Allan Street is a small short winding residential road off of Bridge Street in the zoning district known as the Mississippi Residential Sector and is populated by a mix of older and more modern homes, some of which back onto the river. The project proposes a four storey, flat-roofed condo building with 33 units and an underground parking lot. Town development services manager Joanna Bowes stated that it was a very complicated application due in part to the fact that the developer has, through multiple purchases, created a large irregular lot that fronts onto both Allan and Charles Streets.
Adam Thomas of Novatech Engineering Consultants made the developer’s (Batten Developments Ltd.) first presentation of the evening and indicated that in his firm’s opinion the proposal, as of its most recent amendments, met all the conditions of the town’s official plan, development control regulations, Lanark County’s official plan, and provincial policy statements. In response to anticipated public questions, Novatech had completed detailed shadowing studies to display the proposed building’s effect on neighbouring properties during various times of the year and day. He also indicated the developer would be covering 50% of the costs of upgrading and widening a section of Allan Street for improved access, and a redesign of a sharp downhill S-curve for improved traffic flow and safety.
The majority of the audience members, who registered to speak and who also lived next to or close by the subject property, stood against the proposal for a wide variety of reasons. They quoted loss of privacy from higher elevation windows allowing people to see down onto their homes and yards, loss of sunlight, increased pedestrian and traffic risks due to an additional projected 50 vehicles per day using Allan and connecting streets. They expressed concerns of flooding and home foundation damage due to the soil and rock strata of the underground parking area possibly needing blasting for excavation. A few referred the plans to as a ‘monstrosity of a structure’ that would ruin the quaint and peaceful nature of their street and drive down property values.
Project developer Cheryl Batten stated during her presentation that “we have an ideal site (on Allan Street) for this type of development.” She mentioned that a condition of her purchase of the main parcel of land from the town was that only multi-residential proposals would be accepted for review and that she would have to also purchase an existing home and property to complete the lot. She also presented a letter from former CAO Paul Knowles written to her in 2013 indicating the town’s general support for this type of infill construction. She noted that a major reduction in the number of storeys allowed would create an unfeasible condition from a financial aspect and that she would appeal any such ruling to the new Ontario Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) which replaced the Ontario Municipal Board earlier this year.
At the end of this long session (almost 4 hours) committee chair, councilor Brian Doucette moved the staff recommendation as a motion but could not get anyone to second it. Councilor Sean Redmond declared a conflict and didn’t sit in on any of the debate as he lives in the neighbourhood, and councilor Ross Trimble was absent. Doucett declared the motion dead and after another round of debate a very similar motion did make it to the table only to be defeated in a recorded vote with councilor Theresa Fritz, deputy mayor Jerry Flynn and mayor Louis Antonakos voting against and councilors Doucett and Doug Black voting in favour. To see full details of the town’s planning office presentation to council, log onto carletonplace.ca and search Policy Review committee agenda archives for Aug 7 2018.