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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Essex - Total construction value in 2020, nearly $104,000,000 

by Sylene Argent

During the regular meeting on Monday evening, Director of Development Services, Lori Chadwick, updated Council on municipal-wide development that took place, at various levels of progress, in 2020.

  As part of her presentation, she noted the total construction value in 2020 (a 57% increase from 2019), was $103,914, 427.50. This includes all new and expanding commercial, industrial, institutional, and residential developments that required a building permit, and the ample ongoing development projects.

  Ongoing residential development, at various progress levels, in Essex Centre includes: a Finance Agreement will come to Council at the next regular meeting in regards to the 500-600 singles, semis, and townhomes planned through the Essex Town Centre development. The Rush Drain will also need to be relocated. A site plan control application for nine more mobile units in Viscount Estates will be submitted; Weston Apartments have been given its occupancy grant for its 57 apartment units; 62 single dwelling units in the Jakana subdivision is on its last phase; an Environmental Impact Assessment has been completed and a Stormwater Management plan is under review for the 81 single dwelling units planned for Woodview Estates; there is also 90 single dwelling units and an apartment structure planned for Gianni Estates.

  According to Chadwick, all arrows are also pointing towards development of the lot at the corner of Fairview Avenue and Talbot Street, for the possible building of 40-unit apartments. The Town is waiting for Site Plan Control with a traffic impact study and stormwater study that will need to be undertaken. The Townsview subdivision, she added, has achieved full build out. The road has not yet been assumed by the Town of Essex. This includes 66 single dwelling units.

  Commercial development, at various progress levels, in Essex Centre includes: Crawford Packaging, which is in phase one of construction. The plan is to be open in spring of 2021, with phase two to be completed in spring of 2023. There will be a two-phased RV camper and trailer sales lot and self storage lot to be constructed on South Talbot Road. Site Plan Control applications are ongoing.

  In regards to the Highway # 3 industrial park, Chadwick noted, preliminary discussions with a developer are taking place to subdivide vacant industrial land south of Highway # 3, into six to eight lots. Planning applications will be submitted, following completion of studies.

  Kevin Girard, Director of Infrastructure, said this will take place on south-side of Highway # 3, and the Town is working with the developers. Municipal water will need to be serviced with water, which is being worked out with the MTO.

  Residential development, at various progress stages, in Harrow includes: Planning approvals are in place, servicing drawings are to be amended, and then construction can begin on the 24 single dwelling units planned through the Dalla Bonna Subdivision. The conclusions of a noise assessment need to be addressed for the potential 33 semis and townhomes through the DaSilva Subdivision. A Stormwater Management Plan and Servicing Plans are under review for the ten single dwelling units planned though the Liberato development.

  The Town just sent its draft conditions to the County of Essex regarding the Parkland Woods development, which could bring 72 single and semi dwelling units. The developer would need to meet certain criteria in accordance with the conditions. All building permits have been issued for the Pollard Subdivision, the former Harrow Junior School, which could bring 37 semi units with full build expected in the summer of 2021. A stormwater management plan and attention to a traffic memo is required for the Sunset Gardens development, which could bring 62 single dwelling units.

  As far as commercial/industrial development in Harrow, Classy Caps opened in December.

  McGregor residential develop, at various stages, includes: an addition to Massaccio Drive. A stormwater management plan needs to be updated for the 24 single dwelling units proposed. Construction is looking to be started in the spring.

  A new draft plan application needs to be submitted, in addition to sanitary capacity needs to be reviewed, for the 27 single dwelling units to the east of the existing Ducharme Lane development. There could be an additional phase to the north. The Parnell Street Apartments is proposing 122 townhomes and apartments. Concept plans and a pre-consultation meeting have been held. A site plan control application needs to be submitted, Chadwick said.

  Building permit plans need to be revised for the former Home Hardware lot, which is looking to add nine apartment units.

  Colchester South residential development, at various levels, includes seven single dwelling units through the Levergood development. It is pending ERCA approvals. The Wellesley Drive Subdivision includes 40 single dwelling units. It needs the stormwater plan and sanitary servicing study to be completed. A development agreement is also required.

  Colchester South commercial/institutional development includes: Upper Canada Growers completing a greenhouse expansion and adding ancillary dwellings. Construction of the dwellings are ongoing. A site plan control application for the greenhouse expansion needs to be submitted, following the completion of a water supply study.

  The John R. Park Homestead’s Heritage and Tourism Centre is currently under construction and it aimed to be open in the spring. The Colchester Schoolhouse, owned by the Town of Essex, was deemed surplus at the December 7 meeting. The offer to purchase to develop short term rentals is valid until March 15.  

  Chadwick added, since November, there have been many inquiries regarding possible development opportunities at Coboto Park, a seasonal campground.    

  In addition, Chadwick spoke about the Town’s Development Charges (DC), which recover capital cost associated with residential and non-residential growth, in addition to what would normally be constructed as part of a subdivision.

  Essex’s current DC bylaw expires in August of 2024, as part of which, commercial, industrial, and institutional DCs have been waived until that point. In addition, residential DCs are waived in the Harrow Settlement area by 100 percent until December 31, 2021. It will be waived by 75 percent until the end of 2022, by 50 percent until the end of 2003, and by 25 percent by August of 2024.

 The municipality still has to make up for the DC charges that are waived to encourage development.

  She explained that in 2020, the Town charged $1,119,563 in residential charges and waived $369,539. It also waived $451,076 in commercial/industrial and institutional DCs.

  Jeff Morrison, Director of Corporate Service/Treasurer, said the Town has a deficit of $466,000 in terms of hard and soft services that the Town needs to find, as a result of the DC waivers, and the recent unexpected boom. He will identify possible areas this can be absorbed in a future report.

  “I’m blown away,” Councillor Joe Garon said, adding the growth is there, and it is strong. The developments will help the tax base.

  Councillor Chris Vander Doelen added he suspects that is best growth report the Town has seen in 30-40 years. He said he wasn’t sure what was more exciting; the investment, the jobs, or the new housing.

  Councillor Steve Bjorkman added this was, “fantastic news.” As far as DC charges go, he added this is what Council waned to happen to kick start development in Essex.

  Council received the presentation.

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