From towers to townhouses
A Richmond Hill highrise development gets a major scale back
After four years of development limbo, an original proposal for two residential towers at 370 Red Maple Rd. has been resubmitted as a reduced plan for a townhouse development, slashing the number of units by 74 per cent and the height from 16 and 18 storeys high to three-storey townhouses.
The surrounding area has been identified as a key development area, and the Red Maple Industrial Complex, which encompasses 370 Red Maple Rd., was positioned for more intensification. However, the surrounding condo dwellers were concerned about the height of the building and the added traffic.
“People were concerned about adding 400 or more vehicles on that section of Red Maple, which is already overburdened,” said Ward 6 councillor Godwin Chan.
The developers submitted their initial proposal to the Town of Richmond Hill in 2012.
A residents’ committee was formed to share information, and soon the members had a petition to present to Richmond Hill Town Council: 129 residents had signed petitions, which were submitted to a council public meeting on May 1, 2013. Brian Cave was an early and active opponent of the proposal.
Chan worked with town planning staff and council, and Cave rallied the existing condo community.
“Together we would work together to see if we could advocate for some kind of change or at least to have our voices heard,” said Cave.
In 2013, the developers appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) and entered a mediated settlement to come up with alternate plans that were more compatible with the existing plans for the area. A new proposal was resubmitted in May 2015. This time, it was for 61 three-storey townhouses with 200 parking spaces and, in a unique twist, 66 spaces for bicycle parking, to encourage the use of alternative transportation in the area.
“People would prefer nothing to be built there,” said Chan. “But having said that, I think it’s a really huge accomplishment.”
Between these two proposals, the number of units went from 396 to 103 units, and the revised proposal saw a reduction of 282 parking spaces.
“I thought once they went to the OMB, that was it,” said Cave. “I was very delighted that the little guy, for a change, won.”
This past August, the OMB approved the settlement reached by the developer and the town. A staff report on the revised development will be issued in the fall.
The developer did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Councillor Godwin Chan in front of the proposed townhouse site