Land-lease community with 33 homes proposed by local developer in Arthur

KENILWORTH – Wellington North council has voiced support for a unique home ownership concept presented during a recent public meeting.

A numbered Ontario corporation, with James and Shirley Coffey as directors, is proposing to build a community catering to the 55-plus crowd on 22 acres of land.

Located north of Gordon Street in Arthur, the land sits adjacent to Arthur’s wastewater treatment sewage lagoon, requiring houses to be located 100 metres away to mitigate odour impacts.

Steve Wever of planning firm GSP Group spoke about the concept community during a Nov. 6 public meeting about rezoning the land for the development.

The 21 single-detached homes and 12 townhomes proposed for the property would be individually owned, but the land would be owned entirely by the corporation and leased to the homeowner.

Wever told council the concept is relatively new, but is gaining popularity in Ontario.

The benefit, according to Wever, is that homes can be purchased for less up front because total land costs aren’t factored in to a purchase price.

A letter from legal firm Cohen Highly supporting the Coffeys’ application states land-lease homes are “significantly more affordable than traditional housing options.”

“Residents also benefit from access to amenities that are managed by the developer and certain maintenance and repair responsibilities are also the responsibility of the developer,” the letter adds.

Wever said amenities would draw inspiration from a U.S.-based concept of bringing an agricultural lifestyle to communities.

There would be a greenhouse, rainwater collection for irrigation, garden plots, a community garden, plenty of trees, solar energy to power common areas, RV/trailer parking, and pickleball and shuffleboard courts.

Wever also pitched council on the benefit of getting more housing without having additional responsibility for maintaining the land; the developer would manage the property, though homes would be connected to municipal services such as wastewater.

Councillor Sherry Burke said she likes the idea because it will help people access the housing market.

Councillor Penny Renken said she likes the amount of green space and trees.

“I think it’s a great concept,” Renken said, also agreeing with Burke that it would provide some with a more accessible way to own a home.

The developer’s application to rezone the land from future development lands and industrial to residential and industrial will be fully considered at a later meeting when a draft bylaw returns to council for a vote.