I attended last week’s public meeting regarding a revised re-zoning request being put forth for the Don Black lands. If you missed the first go around back in December 2013, just click here to see what happened then.
This most recent zoning application was a very, very different story from the first. On a side note, I was pleased to see some new faces amongst the crowd in attendance: some people I know but haven’t seen at a meeting before, some people that have recently moved to Kilworth, and others who have chosen to engage at this point.
For reference, here’s the public information packet. I’m hosting it myself since I don’t know how long the municipality will leave it up on their website. This was the information distributed to council and the public prior to the meeting – council only received it on May 22, just five days before the public meeting.
I was a few minutes late for the presentation from Tridon (who has replaced Stantec on the project). Here’s what I got from the presentation:
- Asking for duplex, twinned, single detached, townhouses in the UR3 areas
- Minimum 28m height is a typo, should read “maximum”
- Claim that there will be three multi-use pathways – Daventry, Doan Drive, and the main north/south drag that will connect the South Winds Dev and Don Black dev, up to Glendon
- Took inspiration from new 3-story walkup near Masonville for Block I
- Talking about the school like it’s definitely going to be there; not a done deal, despite school board (which one?) expressing interest
- Municipal staff asking to enhance Optimist Park; DBI/Tridon ready to place one or two soccer fields at Optimist Park; have retained park planner to help sort out the plan
- Need to widen Glendon at two points, where new north/south street comes out and at Springfield Way
Questions I wrote down during the presentation (answers later):
- Why is there such a massive difference between the proposal from December 2013 and this latest proposal?
- It’s been almost 18 months since the original proposal came through. Why are we still at a phase where, really, there is no detail as to exactly what Don Black Investments and Tridon want to put on the land?
- Who will pay for the streetlights on Glendon, and the eventual enhancement of Glendon/Vanneck/Coldstream/Jefferies (a.k.a. Five Corners)?
Questions and Answers:
- Got clarification on what setback means, and they want to reduce it from 6m to 2.5m
- Ken D. asked whether the traffic study had included cyclists or not; it didn’t
- I followed up and asked why it hadn’t, and the answer was that the original study was very old and Tridon has never seen a traffic study that included cyclists
- Al D is concerned about traffic, another 120 cars in the current development area; probably looking at ~1,000 cars mostly heading to London
- Brian Lima, municipal engineer, municipality is looking at EA for Glendon Dr from bridge to 402, focus will be streetscape development; EA will produce baseline info to evaluate how to handle Glendon Dr
- Mayor Edmondson says the want to get EA done before development starts
- Al D asked when construction will start; Tridon went over the process, wastewater treatment pipeline still needs to be finished; hoping to have first housing done late 2016 or early 2017
- Brian Lima says earliest EA will be complete is early 2017
- Jane C, lives on Komoka Rd; does not support bylaw amendment application; OFA is calling for protection of multiple kinds of land, including this farm property; has a history with Tridon and protesting the way they do development in Komoka and her aunt’s land; much applause
- Darren on behalf of Ratepayers Association; “I’m for development, but not this development. This development completely changes the face of Kilworth.” Lots of consistency now from river up to Stephen Moore and Baron Cres; and then there’s this proposal; pointing out how other developments by the same company are 40′ wide, 36′ wide, and 34′ wide; this is not for Kilworth
- Ian T; how many more people is this going to bring? Average of 2.1 per household, but no one at Tridon wanted to do the math for us and give us a total number, potentially because the number of households to be built is still up in the air(?)
- Zelinka Priamo representative (didn’t catch her name) has a problem with additional C1 (commercial) proposed as a big C1 hub is supposed to go on NE corner of Tunks and Glendon
- New planning justification not submitted because DBI feels this is the same development with minor tweaks; this woman has been working on planning applications for 30 years and has never seen an application with such a huge lack of information
- Jim C asks “Can I split an existing lot into a triplex?” Mayor says, “I don’t think you’d want that.” Jim responds “Exactly,” to a bit of laughter.
- Victor N just moved here from Tecumseh, daughter suggested it as a beautiful area; retired from Canada Post management; seniors centre will likely be 3 or 4 floors, and many of those seniors won’t be able to get their mail; this plan will turn Kilworth into an area that’s no longer nice; no shopping, no buses; doesn’t make sense
- Donna S is concerned that this doesn’t suit the existing neighbourhood; mentioned the 3 storey walkup in Masonville – it’s ugly, doesn’t belong here; very worried about traffic
- How many cars is anticipated to exit onto Glendon Dr? 995 during AM peak time.
- Parking and visitor parking would be put in place as per the bylaw(s) that require them
Answers to my questions:
- The design is drastically different because the municipality asked us to go from two entrances to Glendon, down to one
- Don’t have any idea what we want to market on C1 and some UR3 properties because we don’t have the zoning yet
- Chances are that the conditions laid out by the County will say that the developer must pay for the new streetlights and enhancements to “Five Corners”
Later on I got a chance to read a statement I had prepared. It ended up being the final word of the night, though I didn’t intend it to be so. I was asked to cede the floor to others earlier in the night after asking my questions I had written down. The statement went, more or less, as follows:
I have some serious misgivings about the revised proposal being presented here today. Here are a few:
- This looks *nothing* like the original proposal presented December 4, 2013.
- I will say, on a positive note, that Daventry Way has been opened up. I appreciate that being taken into consideration after the last public participation meeting.
- On the other hand, the original proposal maintained a lot of flow with the existing settlement, and proposed wide path ways that would encourage active transport around the neighbourhood. In the documents we see today, those have been completely done away with.
- It appears that a 6 storey building is proposed for Block G. I fully understand the need for mixed housing, however a 6 storey building simply doesn’t make any sense outside of a larger community like Strathroy. People living in apartment buildings typically expect highly walkable areas, which, much as I enjoy living in this area, Kilworth and Komoka do not qualify as highly walkable areas, with Kilworth currently receiving a Walk Score of 9.
- The proposal doesn’t appear to contain anything that would significantly alter the Walk Score.
- Information about proposed heights for several blocks are missing from the proposal.
- The street design, frankly, is pathetic and will make the proposed settlement a nightmare to navigate. It doesn’t use the current set of best practices being used in the most walkable neighbourhoods worldwide.
Overall, this proposal simply contains far too much density for the area. I was mostly in favour of the original, but this has taken a drastic turn for the worse. I was happy to defend the original proposal, despite its minor flaws, but I cannot, in good conscience, ask Councillor DeViet to vote in favour of this proposal as it stands before us today.
That got a round of applause, as did many other statements made and questions asked by members of the public throughout the night. Mayor Edmondson had a hard time maintaining order at several points as people got fed up with the answers – and in some cases non-answers provided by Tridon. Needless to say it didn’t go well for Tridon and Don Black, and we hope the next version of the zoning application is very different. Whether the planner, Ben Puzanov, mandates another public meeting for the next iteration remains to be seen.