Same Place, New Plan

We have been following the planning process for a vacant block of ‘L’ shaped properties on Innisfil Beach Rd. for the past four years (east from Jans Blvd. & Innisfil Beach Rd). An earlier submission, dating to May 2016, proposed a seven-storey mixed-use building, two single tenant restaurants, three blocks of townhouses, and a multi-tenant office and retail building.

In the meantime, the developer acquired the former site of Scotty’s Towing and added it to the development project. It encountered opposition at an open house, held on March 6, 2018, from residents living adjacent to the site who objected to a proposed roadway connecting planned new townhouses to Goshen Road.

SitePlan150-18

Source: Staff Report DSR-150-18

On September 19, Town Council approved a zoning bylaw amendment concerning 1124, 1130, 1136 and 1154 Innisfil Beach Road. These zoning amendments divide the proposal into two phases. The purpose is to separate the townhouse proposal as a possible future phase:

“Consideration of development on lands originally proposed for the townhouses will be removed from the initial phase (this application), to give more time for the ongoing Environmental Impact Assessment and flood hazard assessment. The remaining balance of the proposal would constitute Phase 1 of the development. Phase 1 includes the same number of residential apartment units (147 units), commercial space (4,469 m2), and parking spaces (335) as was originally considered in Staff Report DSR-048-18. The layout of Phase 1 has been amended to accommodate the access options for Phase 2 should the Goshen Road connection not be possible. The Draft Plan of Subdivision application proposed to prepare the site for subsequent part lot control exemption related to the proposed townhouses, has therefore also been withdrawn.”

Planning staff conclude that the proposal “provides a compact, mixed-use development and an appropriate level of intensification on a vacant infill property located within an intensification corridor. The proposal provides for apartment style dwelling units that serve to diversify Alcona’s housing stock and opportunities for employment within Alcona’s key commercial corridor.” (Staff Report DSR-150-18)

“This application proposes the phased development containing the following components”:

BldgA-150-18

Building ‘A’ – Mixed use residential/commercial with underground parking

  • seven storey mixed-use building containing 147 residential apartment units and 549 m2 of commercial space (referred to as Building A);
  • two one-storey single tenant buildings (restaurants) [with drive-through lanes] containing 217m2 and 239 m2 of commercial space (referred to as Building C and D);
BldgB-150-18

Building ‘B’ – retail & commercial spaces

  • and a two-storey multi-tenant commercial building (office and retail) containing 3,464 m2 of commercial space (Building B).

“All elements listed above constitute Phase 1 of the proposed Site Plan Control application, currently under site plan review. Phase 1 is the subject of this Zoning By-law Amendment.”

Council directed Staff to “schedule a community consultation meeting as part of Site Plan Control approval for the lands at 1124, 1130, 1136, and 1154 Innisfil Beach Road, inviting Councillors from Wards 3 and 4”.

Previously published:

Advertisements

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

Stroud Centreville Gets Another Look

After two public meetings, a proposed development for the main street of Stroud gets another look on Wednesday, June 14 at Town Hall. In this revised plan:

  • the number of townhouses is reduced from 107 to 94 on a slightly smaller space
  • 12 single detached homes are proposed for the western boundary
  • the size of the commercial blocks is reduced slightly
  • the site includes a gas bar and convenience store

Centreville3

A proposal to include several floors of apartments over the commercial units was rejected by local residents at previous public meetings. The single detached homes (instead of townhouses) are intended to buffer the transition from existing residential homes to the new development.

I think this revised plan continues to miss the mark for good planning. Completely removing apartments above the commercial space is a mistake. It would have been wiser to include this mixed-use option to offer more housing options for all age groups. Younger and older Innisfil residents don’t necessarily want, or can afford, a single family home. A retired individual that I know who is planning to move from their home is forced to look in Barrie, Alliston and Midland because there are no suitable apartment options in Innisfil. The objections from Stroud residents to more housing options is unreasonable and puzzling. Including these residents in the development would also make Stroud livelier and more economically viable.

The site plan itself is sadly disappointing in offering yet another parking-lot laden strip mall. I hardly think that a tired and outdated approach to make Stroud look like 1960s Mississauga or contemporary Brampton should get any serious consideration at all. It flies in the face of all the urban planning discussions that have taken place in Innisfil in the last 10 years.

The Implementation Plan for Inspiring Innisfil 2020 (Feb. 2011) stated the following objectives:  Continue reading

The Art of Public Art

It seems that any time someone tries to do anything new and innovative in Innisfil, it’s a bit like the “Running of the Bulls” – there’s a strong probability that you’ll get gored! Fellow blogger and former political candidate, Darren Durham, has been writing about Jig Rig, the sculpture being installed at InnPower’s new headquarters:

Innisfil Hydro Sculpture Altered, Darren Durham

I’ve written a couple of times vigorously defending the public art initiative so it’s best that you read his critical piece (link above). He makes some valid points and gets full marks for getting residents all riled up about ‘bureaucrats’. But seems to me, he totally misses the mark in (a) identifying what possibly went wrong, and (b) how we might fix ‘it’. Mr. Durham says he’s not against art and I believe him. So what exactly are people against? Who’s responsible? Where did they go wrong? How can we avoid controversy in the future? Continue reading

Some Thoughts on Green Space

Have you ever sensed that a group of random ideas was weaving itself into a larger fabric? I’ve had that feeling lately while thinking about some recent reading in the context of related events in Innisfil. It has to do with green space, how much we have, what it consists of, and questions like “How much should we have?”.

“Ontario’s Planning Act permits municipalities to require … either a maximum of 5% of residential land area (s. 42(1)) or a maximum of one hectare per 300 dwellings
(s. 42(3)) to a municipality for parks or other recreational purposes.”
(Neptis Foundation: “Density and changing standards for public facilities”)

Several examples come to mind of public outrage at the sudden razing of natural growth and treed areas, sometimes without permits, and sometimes on a property that was promoted as a ‘protected’ natural area. Sometimes, residents have banded together in defense of an individual tree as happened in Oakville and recently in Cookstown. Nature matters and people notice.

Chips

Alcona, 2010: “I thought I had a permit”

Continue reading

Inspiring Innisfil – the Path Divided

Here we go again. The owner of Home Hardware in Alcona is the latest to complain about the streetscape centre median on Innisfil Beach Road as being “unsafe”. Two years after completion, the objection rings hollow. He says there have been accidents. I shop there, on foot and by car, and I’m not aware of any. I’d have to see the statistics and accident reports. What charges were laid? Speeding? Following too close? Failing to yield? Making an improper turn?

But what we are now learning from newspaper reports is that Continue reading