Apartments Construction

Not everyone passes through Alcona that often and some visitors to Innisfil Beach Park might also be curious about some current construction in the area. Apogee Apartments is  being built as part of Simcoe County’s effort to create more affordable housing in the county.  It is currently under construction on Innisfil Beach Road at the 25th Sideroad. The project is privately owned and operated. Under an agreement with the County, the units must be rented at ‘affordable’ rates for a minimum of twenty years. CMHC describes “affordable” as less than 30% of a household’s pre-tax income.

Apogee3

This building consists of a mix of 55 apartments on six floors. The ground floor will be allocated to retail spaces fronting on Innisfil Beach Road. Residents will have access to indoor and outdoor “amenities” spaces.  Construction was delayed until the OMB (now called the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal or LPAT) ruled on the builder’s request for altered lot setbacks and a reduced number of parking spaces. These changes were approved.

Floor plans and other information are available on the builder’s website, http://www.apogeeapartments.com

 

 

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How to BILD?

The housing builders association (BILD) regularly lobbies for easier access to more land for more single-family housing in the GTA. They expect an average of 115,000 new residents per year over the next 20 years – a total of 2.5 million more residents in the region.

That will require 55,000 new homes every year according to BILD. They have put forward a four-point plan that includes:

“Fair & equitable fees, taxes and charges”

BILD says these make up 25% of the cost of an average new home. These types of development charges are applied by municipalities to recover the cost of installing basic infrastructure – i.e. water pipes and sewers. Development charges can also be levied by school boards and the county.

“The revenue pays for increased capital costs related to hard and soft services that come as a result of more people and businesses moving into the municipality. For example, the revenue could go toward the construction of new sewer and road systems that might not have been required before. The revenue could also be put toward soft services like new municipal recreation centres and libraries.” (A brief explanation of development charges, Toronto Star, March 2013)

These development charges can vary substantially by municipality. Each municipality decides what’s right for them. I don’t think ‘one size fits all’ is a workable approach. The development charges are collected as housing is built. Municipalities foot the initial infrastructure cost. Historically though, municipalities never catch up with cost recovery.

“Fund & build critical infrastructure”

By that they mean municipalities (i.e. – you) should foot the bill to add new infrastructure over greenfields now without the limitation of sprawl-limiting intensification regulations. Doug Ford’s accidental admission that he was thinking of opening up the Greenbelt to development is an example.

“Cut bureaucratic red tape”

BILD wants a uniform “service standard” to speed up permits and inspections for “building and renovations”.

Adopt new housing solutions

Specifically, BILD refers to laneway housing and secondary suites as ways to “unlock the potential of current neighbourhoods”.

Is that it? I have to wonder if there aren’t more ways to provide more affordable housing? For instance, I have walked through a few local model homes and felt they were really inappropriate to the market. Like the oversized homes, for instance, with “luxury” features, and wasted unusable spaces that were priced around the million dollar mark. Are builders really building for the market? Or building to maximize profit?

Maybe we should (in no particular order):

  • Encourage more relocation to smaller communities
  • Require a better mix of smaller housing
  • Require a better mix of low-rise housing options (I still fondly remember my old walk-up apartment)
  • Research more live/work design possibilities (like the huge residence that was built over a small factory in Toronto)
  • Ban the demolition of existing usable (livable/convertible) buildings
  • Prevent housing speculation through new sales conditions
  • Examine new technologies for basic (water/sewer) infrastructure
  • Examine new technologies to lower construction costs
  • Remove the cost of land from housing developments (I know, think about it)
  • Just wait for us of the ‘boomer’ generation to exit stage left?

Feel free to share your ideas too.

7th Line Redesign – Open House

Plans for reconstruction of approximately 3 km. of the 7th Line takes another step this week with a Public Open House for “an opportunity to review the proposed alternative design concepts”.

This follows a earlier public meeting in October 2017 concerning an environmental assessment of this corridor. The Town of Innisfil has selected “the final Preferred Solution, which proposes three lanes from the 20th Sideroad to approximately 200 m east of Webster Boulevard, and two lanes from east of Webster Boulevard to St. John’s Road”. The plan also includes servicing and intersection improvements. The reconstruction is expected to resolve “capacity and operational deficiencies”.

The Open House is scheduled for Wednesday, March 28 from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm at the Town Hall community rooms. Anyone unable to attend will be able to access presentation documents online after March 28 (www.innisfil.ca/7thea). Residents can submit comments to the Town up to April 11, 2018.

Friday Harbour: Bigger. Better?

Friday Harbor is pregnant – with possibilities. The Town of Innisfil and the County of Simcoe have received planning applications to amend the Official Plans of the County and Town and the Zoning By-law of the Town of Innisfil for the following purposes related to the development of Friday Harbour:  Continue reading

Our Place Plan Nearing Approval

Innisfil Council will consider a staff recommendation to adopt the ‘Our Place’ Official Plan at a Council meeting this Wednesday, January 17 and to take effect subject to approval by the County of Simcoe.

I have previously written about Our Place Plan proposals to create various public gathering and event spaces throughout our town. The Official Plan also covers all of the planning aspects related to development, density, zoning, transportation and so on.

Some of the objectives are:

  • direct the majority of growth to the primary settlement area of Alcona; to direct limited growth to Village settlement areas through intensification and on vacant greenfield lands; to limit growth in Hamlets to infill development.
  • Retail is expected to develop “at an appropriate scale in every primary, urban and village settlement.”
  • Direct higher density residential and mixed uses to the major transit station area surrounding the GO station on the 6th Line …
  • Provide a range of lot sizes and densities, housing types and tenures, provided the scale and massing of development is in keeping with the character of the adjacent neighbourhood.
  • Plan to achieve a minimum intensification target of 33% of all new residential units occurring annually within the delineated built-up areas, or as an alternative target as specified by the County of Simcoe.
  • Protect and maintain stable residential neighbourhoods from infill, intensification and built form which is out of keeping with the physical and heritage character of those neighbourhoods.
  • The progression of development within a settlement area “will be based on a sustainable and logical progression of development in accordance with Provincial County of Simcoe and Town policies.”
  • Neighbourhoods are to be designed with a modified grid street pattern that provides for a high degree of permeability and connectivity …
  • Building design shall incorporate principles of sustainable development and, energy and resource efficiency and may be subject to a sustainable checklist prior to site plan approval …

The full Our Place Official Plan document (429 pages) is available from the Town of Innisfil website.

Urbanization Approaching Reality

On Wednesday, December 6, Council formally received a proposal for an eight-story condo with street-front retail. The development is proposed for the north side of Innisfil Beach Road, adjacent to Alcona Home Hardware and west of the corner plaza.

SeniorCondo

Development Proposal – 828 Innisfil Beach Road

The building would consist of eight floors and 80 residential units. Designed as an adult building for ‘seniors’ aged 55+, the condo units would consist of one and two bedroom layouts. The ground floor would provide a total of about 5,000 square feet of retail space along the street. Parking is situated behind the building in a lot with a landscaped perimeter. In a unique approach to snow management, a snow melter would be utilized to remove accumulations.

In some ways, watching the planning process play out in Innisfil is the municipal equivalent of watching paint dry. The final report of the Inspiring Innisfil Official Plan was released in February 2011. It advocated for an “urban core”. The design guidelines proposed multi-storey zoning in an Innisfil Beach Road commercial zone with retail situated at the street. More than six years later we are just beginning to see this concept take shape. Two other buildings are reaching completion near Adullam Ave., and a multi-storey rental building is expected to receive approval for the south side of Innisfil Beach Rd at the 25th Sideroad.

This development addresses several needs. It provides local accommodation for an aging population (a neighbor has reluctantly moved to Barrie recently); it fills a gap in the streetscape with more convenient local retail and encourages more activity (social and economic) on the street. The condo proposal has been working its way through the planning and approval process since May of 2016 and reached a final proposal of zoning bylaw amendments in November this year. The building proposal was received as ‘information only’. The development will require Council approval of some zoning bylaw amendments concerning height (8 instead of 7 stories) and small changes to setbacks. The developer’s plan comes back to Council for consideration in the spring.

Download PDF:

828 Innisfil Beach Road ZBA & OPA Presentation