‘Redline Revision’ would more than double density of proposed subdivision

MINTO – A plan to more than double the density of a proposed subdivision in Palmerston was presented at a public meeting here on Sept. 5.

Breymark Homes Inc. is seeking a Redline Revision to rezone a 2.33 hectare (5.76 acre) plot of land to permit construction of a 40-unit street townhouse and 60-unit cluster townhouse subdivision. 

Redline Revisions are alterations to an approved site plan that do not substantively impact the visual appearance of a development and operational requirements of a municipality or regulatory agency.

An existing draft plan of subdivision, approved in 2016, called for 18 single-detached, eight semi-detached and 16 street townhouse dwellings on the property. 

The proposal would increase the number of units from 42 to approximately 100 units, noted Genevieve Scott of Cuesta Planning Consultants. 

A report from the consulting firm indicates the change will increase the overall density of the subdivision from 13.5 units per hectare to 32.25 units per hectare.

Scott explained the revised development will consist of seven street-facing townhouse blocks and three stacked back-to-back townhouse block units on one local street and include a storm management block. 

“Each of the townhomes units will be three storeys and contain three bedrooms – that’s the street-facing townhomes. The average frontage for those townhome parcels will be six meters with an average depth of 14 metres and the average lot coverage for each unit will be approximately 30 per cent,” said Scott.

Each townhome will have a minimum of two parking spaces (one indoor and one laneway space).

The stacked townhome units are expected to be four storeys and contain two or three bedrooms in each unit.

The redline amendment applies to the first phase of a planned development, Scott pointed out.

“Phase two is proposed just north of phase one. We have received a conditional approval for consent for that phase two, which will be about it’s about a 10.4-hectare parcel of land … that forms a future phase of residential development,” she stated.

A report from County of Wellington Senior Planner Matthieu Daoust indicates the proposed planning applications will result in the creation of a medium-density residential development on lands that are currently vacant. The proposed zoning bylaw amendment will rezone the lands from residential (R1C, R3, R2) and open space (OS) to site-specific residential (R3). 

“The site specific relief we’re looking for will be site specific relief from the R3 zone and for the stacks that will be a relief … to recognize a reduced front yard setback, lot density requirement and height provision as well as to permit a new dwelling type, which is the back-to-back stacks, which is not contemplated in the zoning at this point in time,” stated Scott.

“And for the street-facing townhomes, the required site specific zoning will reflect some relief from lot frontage and side yard setbacks primarily.”

The county report also indicates the property is located outside of the defined “built boundary” and therefore is considered a greenfield area. 

Additionally, the subject lands are located within a special policy area, which permits residential development subject to specific policy requirements related to servicing capacity and the buffering of sensitive lands uses.

The subject lands were initially added to the Palmerston urban boundary in 2011 through an Official Plan Amendment that was subsequently approved by the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). In 2016, a draft plan of subdivision was approved for the subject lands and the balance of the property was added to the Palmerston urban boundary in 2021.

In April 2021, the lands were purchased by Breymark Homes Inc., which initiated the current Redline Revision to the approved draft plan.

Scott said the proposed development complies with provincial housing policy which requires planning authorities to provide an appropriate range and mix of housing types and densities as well as growth targets and the County of Wellington Official Plan.

“As about 9% of the county’s population is to be directed to urban centres, and Palmerston’s household growth is projected to double from 2021 to 2051, providing affordable housing options as reflected by the subject proposal will assist in this provincial priority,” she pointed out.

Deputy mayor Jean Anderson asked how the units would accommodate aging in place.

“Just talking about accessibility with the stairs and aging in place. How do people manage that,” she wondered.

“The only thing that we can do here is have lifts … either up or down … aging in place maybe more difficult in the stacked townhome community,” explained Breymark Homes president Brett Cormier.

“Now if you’re aging, that’s probably not the product you’re looking at. However, the other units in the subdivision … they’re very, very simple to age in place there. These ones (the stacked townhomes) might not be perfect to age in place unless you’re fit.”

Councillor Paul Zimmerman noted plans indicate the buildings are not expected to include sprinkler systems.

“From the perspective I bring, that’s worrisome,” said Zimmerman.

“It will be built as per the building code. So if the building code does not require sprinklers, then that will be the case,” said Minto director of fire services Chris Harrow.

“Buildings of that size typically aren’t sprinklered,” noted director of building and planning Terry Kuipers. 

“They’re loaded with fire separations, firewalls, all that sort of thing, which basically compensates for the sprinkler requirements.”

Kuipers added, “Further to deputy mayor Anderson’s question about accessibility, I just would like to note that as soon as a building contains more than six units, 25% of those units need to be accessible.”

Minto planning coordinator Ashley Sawyer pointed out, “This is just the preliminary discussion for the public meeting component; there is still a lot of details that will come and the detailed design and the draft endorsement and all that before we get to a point where we would actually sign the subdivision agreement.”

Councillor Ron Elliott asked, given the current provincial government push to get homes built quickly, when the developer hopes to get “shovels in the ground.”

Comier said his company was hoping to begin building next year. 

“I want to build some houses … and I think this is a great town to do it in.”

Scott said she and Kuipers have had discussions about timing with regards to pre-servicing of the site.

“So even if we don’t have the subdivision agreement in place … we could hit the ground running getting the site prepared with a servicing agreement. So, one way or the other, we hope to get started sooner (rather) than later.”

No members of the public addressed the meeting. Prior to the meeting one letter, in support of the project, was received by town officials.

Once town staff are satisfied with the proposed draft plan, it will be brought back before council with a bylaw for consideration. If approved by council, the draft plan and conditions will then be sent to the county planning department for sign-off on the approval. 

The draft plan requires the conditions be cleared and a subdivision agreement entered into prior to construction. A subdivision agreement will also be brought back before council once the draft plan conditions are addressed.