Carleton Place Council Turns Down Retirement Community Proposal

Carleton Place Council Meeting
Photo credit: Brian Turner.
Posted on: August 14, 2019

At the mid-summer meeting of Carleton Place’s Committee of the Whole, newly installed chair, councilor Toby Randall led council and staff through a packed agenda which included a planning application for an aging in place retirement community on Costello Drive. The applicants, Dr Neel Chadha and Wit Lewandowski were seeking a permission to build and operate their facility on town-owned property which is currently designated as employment lands. If their application were successful they would enter into negotiations to purchase the property from the town.

Town planner, Joanna Bowes argued that this requested change in permitted use could only be supported after a comprehensive review of the town’s official plan demonstrates that the new use was in the best interests of the town.  Such a study usually takes between 6 and 12 months according to Bowes. The applicant’s planning consultant Tracy Zander countered that her client’s application was no trigger for such a review.  Area investment specialist Barry Nabatian spoke on behalf of the developers noting that the expected level of employment and economic development for this 230 unit complex would be far greater than any traditional industrial or commercial enterprises.

When councilor Jeff Atkinson asked Lewandowski what staffing levels were being anticipated, he replied approximately 170-180. Monica Dashwood, director of development for Viva (owner/operator of Waterside) registered to speak and remarked that it was unfair that her facility had to be developed on residential land which involved considerably higher property and development charges costs. She explained that “all competitors should be treated the same.”

Council Theresa Fritz commented that the successful proposal by Revera for a similar project on neighbouring property on Costello Drive was not comparable to this proposal because for one, the Revera facility was non-profit and would see its operation funded by the province. Lewandowski was heard to state from the gallery that this wasn’t the case. In the end the committee voted unanimously to accept the staff recommendation to refuse the application.

Anti-idling bylaw approved

In other business the committee approved the creation of a new anti-idling bylaw for the town which included a public education campaign on improving air quality by limiting the practice. Most councilors spoke on the difficulty in enforcing such a regulation but agreed that embedding it in town legislation was the best way to gain public acceptance and compliance. The bylaw would prohibit idling a vehicle engine for more than 3 minutes in any 60 minute period with exemptions for extremely cold or hot weather among others. Council amended the motion to defer enforcement until after a 12 month public education campaign was completed.

Article by Brian Turner