Mount Forest development. Submitted image

MOUNT FOREST ‒ Martin and Cork Street residents are asking council to reconsider a future cluster townhouse development that proposes building several townhouses a metre outside their backyards. 

At a public meeting in Wellington North Monday afternoon, neighbouring residents of a future development shared their issues with the proposal, which will see seven-street townhouses and 27-cluster townhouse units built on a vacant lot on 9453 Highway 6, south of Mount Forest. 

While the public meeting was to change the minimum sideyard requirement from six to 1.2 metres and the distance between the townhouses themselves from three to 2.4 metres, some took it as a chance to reiterate their concerns about traffic and housing volumes. 

“When we retired, we came to a community that we thought was small and quiet and all of a sudden we’re going to have all of this massive construction,” said Monica Dryden, during the meeting. “A lot of the houses on the northern part of Martin Street will be backing onto it and it just seems like it’s going to be really congested and packed in there.” 

With close to eight homes per acre, the plan proposes six blocks across 3.95 acres, with a private street, as well as a storm water pond and a neighbouring amenity area. 

“There will be lots of trucks and noise and we will be boxed in if all construction starts at the same time,” said Dryden, who also wrote a letter to council with her husband, John. “That’s a concern because where we live, we have to have at least one exit in and out.”

John also shared his fears about the development’s future snow management location but said his feelings seemed “mute” because the subdivision itself was already approved. 

“There is already moisture (in that area) in the spring; how much worse will it be if they (put)  all their snow from the private roads there too,” said John. “That’s going to affect every house in behind (the development).” 

Coun. Penny Renken shared Monica’s concerns about current residents and the impact on them considering their close proximity to future development. 

“The integrity and character of the existing neighbourhood is going to be changed forever it’s not going to be the same,” said Renken. “Even though the number of units that are going to be built conforms with the bylaw, the dedicated space for the sideyards and between the units will certainly not conform to the existing neighbours.”

According to Matt Daoust, senior planner, the proposed setback of 1.2 metres is consistent with a number of neighbouring municipalities and this minor variance application occurred because cluster townhouse developments are still new to Wellington North. 

But Renken didn’t feel that a variance to deprive both existing neighbours and the new units’ future inhabitants of their personal space was necessary. 

“I’m not too pleased that we’re having to go by what other municipalities do,” said Renken. “We’re Wellington North and should be able to set a precedent.” 

Coun. Steve McCabe was also reluctant to voice his support. 

“What other municipalities do, I don’t really think that holds much water with me I’ll be honest with you,” said McCabe, during the meeting. “But if we can do something with that spacing, get closer to the six metres instead of the 1.2, I’d be more favourable to it.” 

A decision will be made at a future meeting. 

Isabel Buckmaster is the Local Journalism Initiative reporter for GuelphToday. LJI is a federally-funded program.

By Isabel Buckmaster, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jul 11, 2023 at 09:51

This item reprinted with permission from   Guelph, Ontario
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