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Parking proves problematic for planned new Metalworks building in The Ward

Traffic concerns also raised regarding Grange Road development

What can be done about all the cars? That’s the main question raised during open houses for two development proposals – a 14-storey condo building slated for the former W.C. Woods property in The Ward and townhouses set for a vacant Grange Road property – held Monday evening.

In the case of the former, part of the Metalworks project, it’s the proposed parking plan that drew most of the attention. 

If it goes ahead as-is, the proposal for 93 Arthur St. S. would see 68 parking spots offered for the 194-unit mixed-use building provided on a property across the street, as well as smaller-than-standard parking spaces in an underground garage, with an overall decrease in the number of spots required.

“We can’t expect public streets to occupy the cars,” commented Ward 1 councillor Dan Gibson of the requested reduction in parking spaces.

“I believe the parking ratios are just a little too low,” added fellow Ward 1 rep Bob Bell.

A total of 196 parking spaces are proposed, with 128 on-site – 52 in an underground garage – and 68 more at 92 Arthur St. S.

In defence of the plan, Ben Jones of Fusion Homes explained the off-site parking spaces are needed to keep the project “financially viable” by not eliminating units in order to accommodate parking, while sticking within the height limit established by previous zoning.

“We just can’t construct enough parking on-site to keep it viable,” he said, noting there are no alternative plans in place for 92 Arthur St. S. or a timeline for redevelopment. Spaces there will be leased to residents, with ownership retained by the condo corporation. “As parking needs decrease in the long-term, then there is an opportunity to redevelop that site.”

In order for redevelopment at 92 Arthur St. S., Jones explained parking will be consolidated on the building property as spaces become available.

The developer is also asking for approval to allow a common amenity area in the front yard, along with an accessory building, and to increase the maximum floor plate sizes.

When the issue returns to council for a potential decision, Coun. Leanne Caron asked staff to serapte wants from needs among the requested zoning amendments.

“Our job is to look at what fits into the neighbourhood,” she said, not putting “square pegs in a round hole to try to make a financially viable project.”

A public meeting was also held Monday evening for a proposed development on part of a long-vacant Grange Road property, which was part of a 2009 joint development proposal including neighbouring lands that never came to fruition.

The project, which drew few concerns, would see two single detached homes built along Grange Road and separated by a private road leading to 21 townhouses located behind. 

With zoning and official plan approvals previously granted, 2538003 Ontario Inc. a subsidiary of Fusion Homes, a zoning amendment is being sought solely to allow the private road.

Area resident Deborah Vogel raised concerns about the development’s impact on traffic, particularly regarding the nearby intersection of Grange Road and Hagen Avenue.

“With the traffic and the accidents that I have seen, I believe that something should be done to help slow down traffic there because (the development) will just make it more congested,” she said.

Coun. Bob Bell, who represents Ward 1 where the proposal is planned, also raised concerns about the driveway running between two single detached homes and the lower setback required for homes from private roads.

“It seems awfully tight with the two single lots there,” he said. “A road is a road, regardless of whether it’s private or public.”

In both cases, the public meetings were held to gather input from residents and council, which is to be considered by city staff while evaluating the proposals and coming back at future meetings with a recommendation in favour or against the plans. 

No timeline is set for either matter to return to council for a decision.


Richard Vivian

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