So Lame, So Late


Abandel Plan: bank building & offices (A in blue); retail B & C; restaurant D; townhouses (in yellow at rear)

Residents of Alcona have noticed a new billboard display erected at the property owned by Abandel Group Ltd. on the north side of Innisifil Beach Rd., opposite the Shoppers Drug Mart. This was the site of two previous proposals, one for a multi-storey condo at the back of the property with no clear plan for the street frontage, and a later second concept for a couple of strip-plaza type of buildings with one of them fronting on Innisfil Beach Rd. Neither plan met with Council approval.

The company is back with another lame concept consisting of multiple buildings surrounded by parking including a drive-through fast food restaurant and a bank with a drive-through ATM. The bank building would also include three additional floors of office space. There would also be two strip-plaza type of retail spaces and some town houses at the rear of the property. The development plan encompasses the Scott’s Towing property to the west as well as the adjacent empty field that was the site of earlier proposals..


The development site is largely a ‘blank slate’ but includes Scott’s Towing site

Remarkably, this design comes forward just as the province has announced that control on sprawl will be tightened to require 60% of new development to be within municipal settlement boundaries instead of 40%. The kind of suburban style auto-oriented development proposed by Abandel is at least 50 years out of date. It may have been acceptable pre-Jane Jacobs in the sixties. And in the last 30 years we’ve had Smart Growth, Greenbelt legislation, the Inspiring Innisfil official plan, the Innisfil Place-Making plan, the Innisfil Beach urbanization project and design guidelines, and the province’s review of the Greenbelt Plan, “Planning for Health, Prosperity and Growth in the Greater Golden Horseshoe 2015-2041”.

Is the company and its architects and planners totally clueless about provincial and municipal planning objectives? Do they have any grasp of contemporary urban planning concepts? What part of intensification, urbanization, commercial core, main street, downtown, walkability and place-making don’t they understand? I just think that paving more than 160 parking spaces on this site is a tragic waste of a prime development opportunity. Maybe our zoning regulations are partly to blame.

I would think that any reputable urban planner and architect would leap at the chance to design a fresh, contemporary, 21st century people-friendly, multi-use concept on a ‘blank slate’ like the empty commercial properties here, which are free of any pre-existing built impediments. Who would throw away that opportunity to build something that is outdated before construction even begins? Well, now we know.

The sad part is that if this proposal is approved, the next property to the east, a 2 acre empty field, will almost certainly follow the same fate of being turned into parking with strip-plaza retail. And Rod’s Esso and the Crossroads Plaza is adjacent to that. We face the prospect of the entire eastern stretch from Jans Blvd. to Adullum Ave. consisting of car-oriented strip retail on a series of bleak parking lots for at least another generation.

Applications for rezoning of the Abandel Group property and Scott’s Towing property to facilitate Abandel’s proposed plan will be considered on Wednesday, June 1 at 6:30 pm.


Abandel Group Revises Development Plan

A public meeting was held to discuss the new development proposal from Abandel Group Ltd. for their property on Innisfil Beach Road (#1124, 1130. 1136, approximately opposite Shoppers Drug Mart). The developer is appealing a Town decision to zone the rear of the property as “Future Development. It is seeking a zoning of “Mixed Use 2” to allow for the construction of three commercial buildings. A hearing scheduled at the OMB on August 25, 12014. This more comprehensive proposal replaces their earlier partial plan to construct a multi-story condominium building on the rear portion of the land, which would have been accessed by a driveway to Goshen Road. That concept is no longer valid.


The Town background information describes the zoning issue this way: Continue reading

Negotiations Continue for Abandel Apartment Proposal

A public meeting held to consider the secondary plan for a 7 storey apartment building  at the rear of a property fronting Innisfil Beach Road resulted in concerns about the impact on existing residents on Ashley Court.  Questions were also raised about creating an access road through a protected watershed area extending from Goshen Road to the development site.

Subsequently, Council directed planning staff to negotiate an easement agreement and insist on a 30-metre setback from existing homes in talks prior to an Ontario Municipal Board teleconference.  Local residents, Stan Daurio and Sue Jende, were permitted to participate in the OMB teleconference.

The OMB has reported that legal counsel for the parties … “believe they are very close to a full settlement, with only one issue yet to be resolved”.  Although the Town and developer wanted to schedule a settlement hearing in about 3 months time the OMB was “reluctant to establish another hearing date until the outcome of settlement discussions and/or the type of hearing event required is known”.

previously: Abandel Zoning Appeal at the OMB February 12

Abandel Zoning Appeal at the OMB February 12

Local residents voiced several concerns about the Abandel development proposal (1124-1136 Innisfil Beach Rd, near Jans Blvd.) held last night (Jan 28). From my perspective, it was useful to get an updated version of the development and its current status.  Previously (2011), the company had shown a concept for two commercial strips with car parking fronting Innisfil Beach Road and a multi-storey residential building at the rear. The commercial retail strip is designated as Phase 1 and the residential building as Phase 2.

Abandel Appealing Zoning to OMB

As I understand it, the front of the property is zoned for mixed-use (MU2) but the rear portion is zoned for “future development”. The developer has since appealed to the OMB to rezone the rear portion as MU2 as well. The Town presents its position on this appeal to the OMB on February 5 and an OMB conference takes place on February 12. Continue reading

Public Open House re 1124–1136 Innisfil Beach Road


Concept by Innovative Planning Solutions, Barrie ON for Abandel Group Ltd.

A public meeting at Town Hall is scheduled on January 28, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. to consider the development proposal for 1124 to 1136 Innisfil Beach Road. This site in Alcona consists of the vacant properties on the north side of Innisfil Beach Road, adjacent to Scott’s Towing and approximately opposite the existing Shoppers Drug Mart.

The proposed development is composed of Continue reading