Arthur mixed housing subdivision proposal draws concern from nearby residents

KENILWORTH – Nearby residents have voiced numerous concerns about a proposed mixed housing subdivision in Arthur.

The 2.34 hectare property, legally described as Part of Park Lot 4, is located north of Domville Street.

The  application for a draft plan of subdivision would result in the creation of 10 single detached lots, four semi-detached lots, eight townhouses and a 24-unit residential building.

The proposed zoning bylaw amendment would rezone a portion of the lands from residential (R1C) to residential site specific to facilitate the proposed Draft Plan of Subdivision.

While the lands are designated residential, the property is located outside the defined “built boundary” and therefore is considered a greenfield area.

At a public meeting on June 24 Wellington County senior planner Michelle Innocente explained the mixed density subdivision proposal is an irregular shaped parcel fronting onto Domville Street and backing onto former railway lands.

She explained the 10 single detached home lots would be located near the front of the site (nearest to Domville) while the semi-detached, townhouse and apartment block lots would be located in the rear of the property.

Innocente said the amended zoning would allow additional densities.

She said comments to date from neighbours included concerns about the size and location of the apartment block, increased traffic, water and sewer use, potential crime such as home or automobile break-ins.

Innocente said when the final recommendations come back to council, those comments will be included.

With respect to servicing, Innocente said additional water and sewer service is currently not available. However, Innocente said it would depend on timing of the current work to upgrade the Arthur sewage treatment plant.

She said if the application continues to advance, it could be placed into holding until such time as the service is available.

Innocente noted the statutory meeting was the time for residents to ask questions of council or the developer. She added work would continue to address any concerns raised.

Innocente noted that after review, there would be an opportunity to bring a report back to council and, “At that point we’d be in a position to ask council if it endorsed the plan of subdivision.”

The endorsement would then go to the County of Wellington, the approval authority for plans of subdivision, Innocente said.

After that the rezoning could come back for council consideration.

Residents first questioned the need for numerous forms of housing on the parcel.

Innocente said policy requirements now include a minimum density that cannot be met using just detached single family homes.

“Our policy within the county official plan is to encourage a mix of housing.”

It was noted the final design and landscaping is still up for further review.

Nearby resident Jennifer Green asked about property drainage, location of the multi-residential aspects of the development, sewage allocation and timelines for development.

Green also wanted to know how many storeys the apartment building would be. The developer responded that two storeys is what is currently being considered.

Green said “we moved here 10 years ago from Guelph from a very densely populated area and we came here for the country.”

She expressed concern for the wildlife and trees now on the site.

While she understood she would not be able to stop the development, she wanted council and the proponents to understand people had moved to Arthur because of its rural appeal.

“My husband now wants to move because of this,” said Green, who also voiced concern with water pooling on the back of the existing residential properties.

Innocente said the intent of drainage plans is to ensure development properties would deal with stormwater on site and not create additional water flow to neighbouring properties.

Green asked about the fate of large oak trees which provide a measure of privacy.

“They’ve been looked after and maintained by residents here, although the trees are not actually on our property,” she said.

Residents were told there are no plans to remove existing trees.

They were also told the start date for the project hinges upon Arthur’s sewage capacity.

There is no excess capacity at the moment, but the township is working to upgrade the Arthur sewage treatment plant.

CAO Mike Givens said work on the treatment plant is scheduled for this fall, with an expected two-year construction period.

Givens noted there is the opportunity for a pre-servicing arrangement to allow work to be done prior to sewage capacity being allocated.

He stressed there is no current agreement to that effect with any developer yet.

Givens noted that if sewage allocation was provided to the development, then there was the potential of construction before the end of the two years.

Innocente said plans of subdivisions are an ongoing process with lots of back and forth discussion.

“There is a significant amount of technical work which goes on,” she said.

Innocente added a report would come back to council outlining conditions of draft approval for the subdivision.

Mayor Andy Lennox said there will be opportunities to submit written comments throughout the process.