Residents, council oppose reduced setbacks

It appears the next phase of the Drayton Heights subdivision will not proceed – at least without some changes.

On June 9, council unanimously opposed plans by landowner Activa Holdings Inc. to rezone a portion of its property as well as amend setbacks and maximum lot coverage.

Activa has proposed “bungalow style” homes on on 36 lots on Green and Maple Streets, to be built by Sunlight Heritage Homes. But several residents voiced concerns about the impact Activa’s plans for parking and reduced setbacks could have on the community.

“I don’t see why we have to suffer to please the developer,” said Ron Ellis, who lives on nearby Edwards Street. He saw no reason why the subdivision plans could not include two parking spaces on each driveway – instead of one – so cars are not parked on the road, thus affecting local traffic.

Larry Fowler, who lives on adjoining Andrews Drive, said reducing sideyards to four feet – from five and ten feet – relegates them to “useless passageways.” He added reducing front and back yards by five to ten feet will also be “detrimental to the functionality of this community.”

Activa planner Valerie Schmidt said the developer is required to provide only one parking spot per residence, and it is providing two – one in the garage and one on the driveway. She also explained the purpose of sideyards is to provide access to the rear yard and help with drainage, and she feels four feet is adequate to accomplish both.

But councillors seemed to echo the concerns of the residents who are opposed.

Jim Curry, for example, said one thing that is abundantly clear to him, after living in Drayton for about 28 years, is the areas in the village that contain mostly semi-detached hom­es are also among the worst for the volume of cars parked on the road.

“I’m certainly opposed to chan­ging the setbacks,” Curry said, adding sidewalks in the front of the lots will only exacerbate the problem.

Schmidt pointed out only nine of the 36 homes will be “semis,” but that did not sway council.

Councillor Dennis Craven said it can often be hard to fit a car into a two-car garage – let alone a single car garage – once other items are stored there.

Councillor Bruce Whale agreed with Curry, and is op­pos­ed to altering setbacks on a series of lots in the village. He also said the township needs to look at its long-term goals in terms of subdivisions and other developments in the village.

“I’m afraid if we start doing it piece by piece it will be a real mess,” Whale said.

Council unanimously de­feat­ed a motion to bring an amending bylaw forward at its next meeting.