A three-storey apartment proposed for a New Sudbury neighbourhood doesn't match the “character” of existing homes in the area, a city staff report says.
For that reason, along with other planning issues, the report recommends against approving the six-unit building, which would have gone up on Dollard Avenue. To proceed, the developer needs a rezoning of the 15,000-square-foot lot from low-density residential to medium-density residential.
But the plan was already the subject of more than a dozen letters from people in the area, many of whom were concerned about the impact on property values. Several signed a form letter that said their homes are a big part of of their retirement fund, so a decline in property values would impact them long-term.
“In addition, more crowding, more traffic, more noise and possibly more crime would be extremely upsetting to the many middle-aged to elderly residents of the street,” the letter to city staff reads. “Please be sensitive to the preservation of the unique character of our street. Those wishing to build apartments have many alternatives more appropriate to choose from.”
While such NIMBY (not in my backyard) objections are fairly routine in the planning process, in this case, staff is on the same side as residents. The reason is the Official Plan -- the city's primary guide for planning decisions -- requires new residential buildings fit in with what's already there.
“Development must be compatible with the existing physical character and size of established neighbourhoods, with consideration given to the size and configuration of lots, predominant built form, building setbacks, building heights and other provisions applied to nearby properties under the zoning by-law,” the report says.
The Dollard Avenue area consists mainly of single-family homes, many dating back to the 1950s. There are no similar apartment buildings on the street, the report says, or on nearby Gary Street.
“The density proposed, height, anticipated massing and parking lot in front of the building does not give consideration to the predominant built form, building setbacks, building heights and other provisions applied to nearby properties under the zoning bylaw,” it says. “Further, the sketch provided by the applicant does not make provision for required bicycle parking, and the storage and collection of solid waste and recycling for the proposed six unit apartment building.
“Staff are also concerned that the proposed parking lot in front of the building is not compatible with the surrounding neighbourhood.”
The city's planning committee will formally vote on the proposal Sept. 9. A neighbourhood meeting was expected to be held before then.