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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Public Meeting held to discuss Essex Town Centre Subdivision

by Sylene Argent

On Monday evening, the Town of Essex hosted a statutory meeting inside the Shaheen Community Room at the Essex Centre Sports Complex to go over the requests made for the Essex Town Centre Subdivision with current members of Council, the newly elected members of Council, and residents.

  In the future, the New Term of Essex Council will have to consider amendments to Zoning Bylaw 1037 for the lands located south of Maidstone Avenue West, east of Highway 3 and South Talbot Road (behind the Canadian Tire Store and Tim Hortons and McDonald’s restaurants).

  The first public meeting held on this matter was hosted in July.

  This area concerns an 85-acre parcel, which is divided into street blocks on a registered plan of subdivision.

  This property is zoned R2.2, low density residential. But, two blocks (7 and 8) which are located at the entrance to the future subdivision, are zoned C1.1, neighbourhood commercial, which permits retail stores, personal service shops, business and professional offices and other uses intended to serve this residential subdivision. The applicants are requesting that Block 8, south of the future Canadian Tire roadway, permit R2.2 uses, as well as neighbourhood commercial uses.

  At the July meeting, Applicant, Remo Valente, said this project would be completed in phases, where an up to 550 dwelling units of various types could be accommodated. The first phase would consist of 89 homes: 29 single homes, 32 raised ranches, and 28 ranch-style semi-detached homes.

  The applicant is asking for three revisions to the R2.2 zoning regulations. It would be preferred to permit the construction of single-detached dwellings on a lot having a minimum width of 40 feet and a lot area of 4400 square feet. Currently, the minimum lot width and lot area are 15m and 5000 square foot, respectively.

  Another request is to reduce the width of an exterior side yard from 4.5m to 3m where the lot abuts a 15m road right-of-way having a width of 20m, and reduce the side yard width from 4.5m to 1.2 m where the lot abuts a 20m road right-of-way.

  The applicant is also requesting the elimination of the attached garage width restriction for semi-detached and townhome dwellings. Currently, the width of an attached garage is limited to the equivalent of 60 percent of the width of the dwelling. The applicant would like that maximum width to be extended to 70 percent.

  Essex’s Policy Planner Jeff Watson said reducing the width restriction could be a safety issue as it could limit seeing anyone approaching the home, for instance. It also creates a streetscape of parked cars and garages.

  Watson said this subdivision has been of interest since 2006. Previous terms of Councils have approved requests from former developers of the lot in 2006 and 2013. This included reducing the front yard depth to 20 feet from 25 feet and reducing to 20-meter wide street rights-of-way to 15 meters.  

  At the July meeting, Watson said residents had a chance to speak. Some, who live on Maidstone and will be affected by this layout, requested the homes to be built behind them be required to have 50’ lots.

  Watson said a mix must be created to allow for some of the smaller lot sizes. Residents reiterated this concern at Monday’s meeting.

  Other residents were concerned with the aesthetic look of the smaller lot sizes and whether or not the Town was to consider another traffic light due to a suspected increase in traffic volume.

  Current Councillor members Sherry Bondy, Ron Rogers, Ron McDermott, Steve Bjorkman, and Richard Meloche attended the meeting. Councillor Randy Voakes was present for the first part. Council elect members Kim Verbeek, Morley Bowman, Chris Vander Doelen, and Joe Garon were also present.

  Councillor Bondy would like any letters of opposition on this file to be forwarded to the Council Elect so members will be aware of any concerns. The new Term of Council will make decisions on the file.

  Councillor Steve Bjorkman said the Town does have to provide affordable housing.

  Council received the report Watson provided, along with his power point presentation.  

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