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prepare the site for subsequent part lot control exemption related to the proposed townhouses, has therefore also been withdrawn.”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:

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Mixed Use Developments Rise in Alcona

IBRMHBC

Illustration (MHBC Planning): Janis Ramsey – Metroland

While a seniors residence with ground floor retail is currently under way at the corner of Innisfil Beach Road and the 25th Sideroad, Innisfil residents had the opportunity on March 6 to examine plans for a multi-use development at Jans Blvd. and Innisfil Beach Rd. and adjoining lots (1124 – 1154 Innisfil Beach Rd., illustrated above)

This plan includes a seven-storey building with retail and 147 condo units. The proposal also includes retail and office buildings, two restaurants and three blocks of townhouses.

The Open House was called to review plan amendments concerning “minimum front yard setback, minimum building height, and rear yard setback for accessory structure.” Subdivision of the lands would create “new property lines between the residential townhouse, multi-tenant commercial, restaurant and mixed-use commercial/residential uses. Five accesses are planned – two from Innisfil Beach Rd., two from Jans Blvd., and one from Goshen Rd.”

A Public Meeting to further examine this plan is scheduled for Wednesday, March 21 at 6:00 pm at Town Hall. There will be a formal presentation followed by questions and comments. The proposal then returns to Staff to consider comments and submissions in order to prepare a final recommendation to Council at a future date.

Commercial at the Core

A new building under construction on the south side of Innisfil Beach Road is the first development to follow the design guidelines set out under the Inspiring Innisfil 2020 Official Plan. It is a multi-story, mixed-use building that fronts the sidewalk.

IBR02

The original signage on the property indicated it would be a medical building. The current signage only indicates leasing availability. It remains to be seen what final form this development will take and whether it is the start of a new approach to Alcona development or whether it will be an anomaly on the street.

Meanwhile, the development proposal for the Abendel property on the north side of Innisfil Beach Road seems to have stalled or collapsed. Old signage has been left to deteriorate. Nothing further has occurred since the additional purchase of Scotty’s Towing, which is boarded up. This was originally proposed to be yet another strip mall with the addition of a bank building and a fast-food franchise. Local resident opposition blocked earlier proposals for a residential tower and townhouses on part of the property.

Over at the 25th Sideroad and Innisfil Beach Road, the corner property has also been idle for the summer in spite of reported OMB approval for a proposed multi-story seniors condo with ground-floor retail and a banner proclaiming, “great things are happening”.

After the departure of Lakeside Treasures this summer, 1041 Innisfil Beach Road also sits idle. This property has a history of frequent tenant turnover. A rezoning notice appeared briefly this summer for a “one story commercial” building before being taken down.

At the western end of Alcona, a new housing tract is advancing toward the northern edge of the No Frills parking lot and a new building is taking shape near the supermarket, expected to be another fast-food franchise.

The Centreville plan in Stroud is advancing. Land severance has been approved for single detached housing on the north side of the property. Townhouses, a gas station, convenience store and strip mall form the rest of the project.  A ‘hold’ designation remains on actual construction until final design plans are approved.

In late 2011, the Retail Demand Study found that 2/3 of all resident expenditures were made outside of Innisfil. It suggested that with further residential growth, it would present an “expenditure potential” of over $400 million by 2021. More than 5 years later, it appears that potential for local shopping will be difficult to realize for many more years to come. For the uninitiated, it’s difficult to understand what hurdles are preventing an obvious opportunity from being realized.

Live, Work and Play

I’m just catching up to local news since being away from writing. At first glance, I’m impressed with the six story residential and commercial development being proposed for the 25th Sideroad and Innisfil Beach Road. It’s the first significant new construction that actually conforms to the Official Plan and the ‘Inspiring Innisfil’ urban design concept for Innisfil’s commercial core. It would add four or five new retail spaces to the street and add a mix of 55 living spaces (bachelor to 2 bedroom) to enliven the street. It might even inspire development, or redevelopment, of some other nearby commercial properties that need to be brought into the 21st century.

I have a hard time reconciling resident objections to the project since it has been clear for at least the last five years that Innisfil Beach Road will be developed as a retail area with zoning to allow street-front buildings up to six stories.

What I find more disappointing is Mayor Wauchope’s response as he tried to deflect responsibility to the county and provincial governments:

“The province is telling us this, the county is telling us this … we’re caught between a rock and a hard place.”  Continue reading

Planning Streets for Everyone

Seniors at Lakeside Retirement Residence in Alcona have petitioned for a crosswalk that would allow them to cross safely to businesses on the north side of Innisfil Beach Rd. (full disclosure: a family member is a resident there) A quick internet search shows that seniors across the country petition for this amenity so regularly it makes you wonder why it isn’t mandatory.

Town Council had a reasonable solution in their lap when they were planning the Innisfil Beach Rd urbanization project. This would have been the ideal location for a raised median with a cross-over ramp through the center allowing seniors with walkers to safely navigate their way across the street at their own pace. The median would serve as a pedestrian safety island.

Considering that Council wasted $100,000 to rip up significant portions of the completed project, undoing years of planning, public consultation and consensus, and marring the streetscape in the process, spending about $50,000 to accommodate our seniors seems like money well spent. (Note to business owners: the seniors want to cross to spend money at your shops and services).  Continue reading

Innisfil – Just Not Ready

As I write this, Innisfil is making good on its promise to demolish the streetscape median east of St. John’s Rd. Let me share the result with you:

MedianAfter2

Road

 

 

 

 

It only took a couple of whiners and an ignorant, weak-kneed council.

Continue reading