Lat­est ver­sion of new Bird­land sub­di­vi­sion in Elmira gets OK

Known as South­wood 4, the project ap­proved this week could even­tu­ally be home to some 1,270 to 1,430 peo­ple

The Woolwich Observer - - FRONT PAGE - STEVE KANNON


WILL con­tinue in the south end, Wool­wich coun­cil this week ap­prov­ing plans for the lat­est ex­pan­sion to the Bird­land sub­di­vi­sion.

South­wood 4 will see a mix of sin­gle-fam­ily homes, semis, town­houses and apart­ments on some 70 acres. Al­to­gether, Bird­land Devel­op­ments’s plan calls for 481 to 552 units that will be home to some 1,270 to 1,430 peo­ple.

The fi­nal plan rec­om­mended by town­ship plan­ners and OK’d by coun­cil Tues­day night ad­dresses many of the con­cerns raised by neigh­bours dur­ing a pair of pub­lic meet­ings, said man­ager of plan­ning John Scar­fone.

Though no one from the pub­lic spoke to the is­sue – some neigh­bours were in the gallery – coun­cil­lors did have a few ques­tions and even reser­va­tions be­fore ul­ti­mately ap­prov­ing the project.

Coun. Patrick Mer­li­han con­tin­ued to raise traf­fic is­sues, not­ing few had been re­solved in re­vi­sions to the plan. In par­tic­u­lar, an al­ready prob­lem­atic si­t­u­a­tion at South Park­wood Boule­vard and Arthur Street could get worse.

That in­ter­sec­tion, where mak­ing a left turn at peak times can be a chore, has been a bone of con­tention for res­i­dents and coun­cil­lors. While there have been sug­ges­tions a traf­fic light would help, the Re­gion of Water­loo, which is re­spon­si­ble for Arthur Street, main­tains sig­nals aren’t


Stud­ies sub­mit­ted by the de­vel­oper that looked at traf­fic in the area sug­gested that the project’s plan to open up new con­nec­tions to Lis­towel Road and Whip­poor­will Drive would even­tu­ally pro­vide ad­di­tional out­lets for traf­fic.

But that raised an­other con­cern from Coun. Mark Bau­man, who sug­gested traf­fic sig­nals would be needed at the in­ter­sec­tion of Lis­towel Road and a pro­posed new thor­ough­fare from the sub­di­vi­sion. In the ab­sence of that, driv­ers would likely opt for Whip­poor­will Drive in or­der to take ad­van­tage of the traf­fic lights there.

Not only would the ad­di­tional sig­nals be help­ful, chances are the town­ship would re­gret not do­ing so.

“I might have to say I told you so,” he said, jok­ing about re­turn­ing at a later date, his fi­nal term on coun­cil end­ing this month.

Scar­fone, how­ever, coun­tered that re­gion won’t al­low a light given that stud­ies show traf­fic vol­umes aren’t enough to war­rant sig­nals – as with Arthur Street, Lis­towel Road is a re­gional road.

While traf­fic re­mains an is­sue, the project as ap­proved main­tains changes in­tro­duced in the sum­mer to ad­dress neigh­bours con­cerns about a planned apart­ment block. Rather than right at the cor­ner of Whip­poor­will ad­ja­cent to ex­ist­ing sin­gle-fam­ily homes, the apart­ments will be lo­cated more cen­trally and away from cur­rent res­i­dents.

“In re­sponse to is­sues raised by the pub­lic, Bird­land mod­i­fied the draft plan in an at­tempt to dis­perse the mul­ti­ple hous­ing blocks which were iden­ti­fied in the orig­i­nal plan as be­ing too con­cen­trated ad­ja­cent to Whip­poor­will Drive. The street pat­terns and block lay­out were al­tered ac­cord­ingly to re­flect this change,” said Scar­fone in his writ­ten re­port.

Given the higher den­sity hous­ing and the need for new roads, par­tic­u­larly con­nec­tions to Lis­towel Road, Wool­wich is al­low­ing Bird­land some flex­i­bil­ity in its stag­ing of de­vel­op­ment. Still, build­ing out South­wood 4 is ex­pected to take about 10 years. That’s within the town­ship’s growth tar­gets for Elmira, said Scar­fone.

“Elmira can work to­wards achiev­ing its pop­u­la­tion tar­get over the next 11 years by av­er­ag­ing an an­nual pop­u­la­tion of ap­prox­i­mately 453 peo­ple.”

Fronting on 1143 Lis­towel Rd. in Elmira’s south end, the de­vel­op­ment would es­sen­tially form a link be­tween Whip­poor­will Drive and Lis­towel Road when built out.


Cur­rent plan for the lastest Bird­land de­vel­op­ment, South­wood 4.

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