Blogging Mud Creek News 2

Two items from David Daniels, also printed in the MCN. Get yours at the Post Office – if there are any left . [Don’t forget to check the trash can.]

CLOCK PARK UPDATE?

David A. Daniels

Perhaps in the spirit of public participation and communication, the Town would be good enough to publicize what actions it has taken and will take concerning the Town’s newest park.  I understand that a planning charette was held to discuss how the park will be landscaped and developed.  Apparently the charette was by invitation only.  I do not know who did the inviting and what criteria were used to select the select. Hopefully, at some point, the public will have an opportunity to provide their input.

A  Charette! How special.

INNOVATIVE DEVELOPMENT AT 65 HIGHLAND AVE.

David A. Daniels

The owner of a three acre parcel on Highland Avenue, zoned R 2/4, has won approval for her proposed development from the Planning PAC.  It now moves to the Council for approval.

The parcel can as of right be subdivided into four lots.  One lot will contain the existing home and three other dwelling units.   On each of the three new lots, oddly shaped to meet the road frontage requirements, will be four separate buildings, each containing one dwelling unit, sometimes known as houses.  Each house will have either two or three bedrooms, totalling 10 bedrooms per lot.

Because each of the three new lots contains four separate houses, the developer will likely have to form three separate condominium associations, one per lot.

The twelve new houses will be serviced by a private driveway/road. This should be a big advantage to the Town: 12 new houses (on three new lots) with increased tax revenue without having to pay for the maintenance of a new “road” servicing the 12 new houses.

The condo form of unattached home ownership may be innovative but it also comes with a price.  By sidestepping rezoning to the Residential Comprehensive Development District which would permit 12 new lots, one house per lot, the developer avoids meeting the requirements set out in the new Municipal Planning Strategy s. 8.4.5. such as the possibility of an affordability housing component or providing barrier free/accessible housing units.

Key issues raised by nearby residents at two public input sessions: drainage, traffic and whether the individual units might end up being rented to students.  There was much discussion of whether the style and cost of the houses would preclude them from becoming rental units.  Although the developer provided assurances that the homes would be of a quality and style which would make them unlikely to become rental properties, she did not have any sketches or prototypes of the houses likely to be constructed. (It may be possible for the developer to put to rest the issue of potential rental properties: include in the condo association agreement a provision requiring owner-occupation.)

I suggested that the development agreement contain a provision that the developer provide the Town with security in case the Town has to take ownership of the private driveway.   Requiring such security would not cost the Town anything.   The argument that the Town has “security” provided by its ability to go after the “owner” of the properties does not take into account the time and legal expense such an effort might entail, especially if the form of ownership is a condominium.   And it’s not as though condo developers have never run into financial difficulties.  Think Railtown. [emph ours]

Think Railtown indeed.

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One response to “Blogging Mud Creek News 2

  1. If 65 Highland was re-zoned to RCDD, the allowable housing density would be nearly 3 times that of this latest proposal. The RCDD zone allows a maximum of 12 units per acre. 12 units x 3 acres = 36 potential units (if rezoned.)

    This proposal for 12 units on 3 acres (regardless of ownership) shouldn’t be seen as a nuisance by neighbours. It’s a comparably low density development on land that’s sufficiently serviced and well located. I think it’s a great development, and I’d like to see the site be used more efficiently by having even more units.

    Since not all students are obnoxious late night partiers, there’s no reason to stress about having these units house younger people. Shitty properties with absent land lords seem to be the regular culprits for student housing issues. The developer of this property seems very reasonable and caring about the final product. Looking at the beautiful renovation of her home, and the hiring of an architect, I think we can expect the design of these houses to be high quality. If some of these homes were rented to students, I don’t think they would attract the troublesome ones.

    Instead of getting caught up in generalizations, we need to recognize the importance of infill projects like this one, and respect the efforts the land owner and architect have gone through to build such an appropriate development. Good for them!