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Developer downsizes infill proposal but neighbourhood group still not pleased

Developer wants to build 23 units on Beechwood Avenue, neighbourhood group says six to 14 units should be the max

The developer behind a controversial infill development being proposed for a quiet central Guelph neighbourhood has revised their plans to make is smaller.

But the local neighbourhood group opposing the development says it still isn’t suitable.

Granite Homes originally proposed to build 34 residential units – 12 stacked townhouses and 22 cluster townhouses – at 89 Beechwood Ave., just north of Waterloo Avenue west of Downtown Guelph.

Following concerns from the neighbourhood and in consultation with city staff, Granite Homes re-submitted plans to the city.

The new plans filed with the city call for 23 units on the what was once home to the Guelph Optimist Club: seven two-storey townhouses fronting Beechwood Avenue and 16 stacked townhouse units, three stories high, at the rear of the property.

The townhouses would have driveways to help ease parking concerns along with 37 above-ground parking spaces, the developer says.

The application also has 20 per cent more landscaped open space than the original proposal and now includes a direct connection to a nearby trail. Setbacks have also been increased.

“The revised plan is a significant reduction in the number of units proposed, resulting in a plan with less of an impact on the surrounding neighbourhood, while introducing additional housing choice to the neighbourhood and the City of Guelph,” says the developers in its new submission.

The developer met with city staff and held two meetings with the Beechwood-Chadwick-Hearn Neighbourhood Association.

Sixty of the 70 trees currently on the property would be removed for the development.

The Beechwood-Chadwick-Hearn Neighbourhood Association still feels the development does not suit the “character, design, setbacks, scale and open space of our neighbourhood.”

“We are not expecting single family homes and are not opposed to townhouses; however, we feel that a development of 6 to 14 units and no more than two storeys high would be more appropriate for our neighbourhood,” says the neighbourhood group in a written submission to the city.

The neighbourhood group also urges in its 13-page response that the city to consider the application under the city’s new Official Plan, which came into effect just after the original submission was made under the previous Official Plan.

They continue to have parking concerns and the fact that the adjacent Howitt Park would be less visible from the street.

“The changes to low density residential under OPA48 (the city’s new Official Plan) were intended to protect the character of mature neighbourhoods. The planned development at 89 Beechwood fails to do this entirely,” the neighbourhood groups said.

“With the addition of 23 units on a street of only 11 houses, the population will likely triple.”

The revised application will eventually make its way back to a planning meeting of City Council.



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Tony Saxon

About the Author: Tony Saxon

Tony Saxon has had a rich and varied 20 year career as a journalist, an award winning correspondent, columnist, reporter, feature writer and photographer.
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