Coun­cil ap­proves plan for small res­i­den­tial devel­op­ment in Welles­ley over neigh­bours’ con­cerns

The Woolwich Observer - - FRONT PAGE - FAISAL ALI

WELLES­LEY IS MOV­ING AHEAD with a con­tentious devel­op­ment in the village de­spite op­po­si­tion from res­i­dents.

Town­ship coun­cil’s de­ci­sion Tues­day night had more than a few heads shak­ing among those in the gallery at Crosshill coun­cil cham­bers.

The de­ci­sion was made after a heated dis­cus­sion at coun­cil meet­ing last month that saw mem­bers of the pub­lic vo­cif­er­ously de­nounce the pro­ject, pro­vid­ing coun­cil with a pe­ti­tion call­ing for the plan to be scrapped.

Blaze Prop­er­ties Inc. wants to build 16 semi-de­tached homes and one sin­gle-fam­ily house on a va­cant twoacre lot on Ger­ber Road in the village. Hav­ing orig­i­nally won ap­proval two year ago for a 16-unit plan, the com­pany made changes to add a sin­gle­fam­ily house into the mix. That re­quires three of the 17 units to be smaller than the man­dated min­i­mum sizes of semi-de­tached and sin­gle­fam­ily homes in the town­ship

In a sep­a­rate ap­pli­ca­tion to the town­ship’s com­mit­tee of ad­just­ment, Blaze Prop­er­ties also re­ceived ap­proval to de­crease the set­back of the sin­gle home that abuts Ger­ber Road, al­low-

home that abuts Ger­ber Road, al­low­ing the prop­erty to be built three me­tres closer to the busy road than nor­mally al­lowed.

Res­i­dents are un­happy with plans to fit so many units into the rel­a­tively small space.

At last month’s meet­ing, they ac­cused the de­vel­oper of try­ing to cram as many peo­ple onto the land as pos­si­ble, with­out re­gard for the village’s char­ac­ter. They had ques­tioned why the com­pany could not build one fewer home on the land in­stead of de­creas­ing the min­i­mum lot size.

Speak­ing at the Tues­day night’s meet­ing, Ward 3 Coun. Peter van der Maas op­posed the mi­nor vari­ance, sug­gest­ing in­creas­ing the den­sity of homes would in­crease con­ges­tion and park­ing is­sues. He took is­sue with the “mi­nor” de­scrip­tion.

“We’re talk­ing about a fairly sig­nif­i­cant vari­ance,” said van der Mass, not­ing the size of one lot was de­creas­ing more than 35 per cent of the rec­om­mended size.

Mayor Joe Nowak, how­ever, sug­gested the re­duced home size would help Welles­ley of­fer more di­verse hous­ing.

“I see that ex­tra house is going to be on a smaller lot, it’s going to be a smaller house, and I’m pretty con­fi­dent that some­body would ap­pre­ci­ate that house at some point in time,” said Nowak.

Coun­cil voted 3-2 in favour of mi­nor vari­ance, al­low­ing Blaze Prop­er­ties to con­tinue the devel­op­ment process.

An­gry Welles­ley res­i­dents walk out of meet­ing Tues­day evening fol­low­ing coun­cil’s ap­proval of a devel­op­ment at 2245 Ger­ber Rd. (right)

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