By Pauline Kerr.
When all was said and done – and much was indeed said, and homework done, by the members of the public who packed the council room to capacity – council agreed to defer any recommendation on a proposed 77-lot subdivision pending the completion and review of a traffic analysis.
Most members of the public came to state their objections to the subdivision, and they came prepared. In addition to a petition, some brought prepared statements.
Council, with Deputy Mayor Don Murray in the chair for the planning meeting, heard from county planner Mark Paoli, representatives of Bogdanovic Development including Bogdanovic family members, various council members and several members of the public over the course of about two hours.
The general focus of public objections was not development in general, but to certain elements of the proposed residential subdivision, known as Crimson Oak Valley Subdivision, for the lands located between Boiler Beach Road and Lake Range south of Kennedy Road and north of the Heritage Heights Subdivision in the Township of Huron-Kinloss.
The main point of contention was traffic flow, with concern also expressed regarding a lot boundary and access to Boiler Beach Road, stormwater, parkland, sewage treatment and density – the lot size is smaller than in adjacent subdivisions.
The people weren’t at the meeting just to protest; they were also there to listen and learn, present information, hear information and discuss. There was considerable interest expressed in the type of sewage treatment proposed for the homes in the proposed subdivision.
Council, too, made it clear they were interested in learning more, especially the results of a traffic analysis that appears to be the main sticking point with both the county planning office and the public. Council agreed to defer approval of the subdivision pending completion and review of the traffic analysis, at which point another meeting will be held.
The meeting began with Paoli’s report to council, which outlined the general nature of the joint application for subdivision approval and a zoning bylaw amendment by Bogdanovic Developments.
The exact description and location of the proposed development was presented, along with comments from various agencies and the public.
The report stated there are two main concerns related to traffic: “why the subdivision does not propose to access Lake Range (Drive) directly; and the increase in traffic on existing streets.” The applicant has been asked to provide a traffic analysis of the proposed development.
Another concern is the property boundary and related access to Boiler Beach Road, which seems to be in dispute. Property owners have been using an existing gravel laneway for access. The planning report stated the matter is a legal one and discussion between the applicant and neighbours is taking place.
The report stated stormwater drainage is a concern for neighbours in the area. The township will require a final stormwater report as a condition of approval of the Draft Plan Approval.
There was a question of why there is no parkland in the subdivision; the township noted there are parks in the area and cash in lieu of parkland is preferred.
A number of questions were raised about the density of this subdivision – the planning department determined that while the lot size is smaller than in adjacent subdivisions, the type of septic system selected by the developer means this can be done safely. And it’s not out of line with the Provincial Policy Statement and Official Plan, according to the planning office.
The property is presently farmland; it’s surrounded by residential development.
Councillor Ed McGugan asked about the septic system that’s to be used, and Stephen Cobean of Cobide Engineering Inc., acting for the applicant, described the Waterloo biofilter septic system as a “higher end septic system” that is both smaller and more efficient than conventional septic systems. Plans are for an annual inspection of each system.
Cobean also outlined plans for stormwater management.
When Murray opened the meeting to public comments, first to speak was Angela Thompkins, who presented a petition that now has 70 signatures. The primary concern of the people who signed the petition is road access – they want access directly onto Lake Range Drive. Thompkins expressed fear that Kennedy Road is very narrow and has a lot of traffic on it including pedestrians.
The high density, too, is a major concern. “The bigger density does not fit the surrounding area,” she said, noting others have asked for smaller lot sizes and have been refused. “We came here so we would not be on top of our neighbours … if we wanted that, we would have gone to Kincardine or Port Elgin.”
Councillor Jim Hanna said he’d like another look at Lake Range Drive as the access point – it had been the preferred access originally but that was changed at the township’s request.
He also suggested trees in the subdivision might help with the appearance – Bogdanovic representatives said each lot will have at least two trees on it to enhance the attractive, upscale homes.
Bryan Mahn was the next member of the public to speak, and he, too, presented his objections in writing, distributing copies to those in the room. He commented on traffic flow as the main concern and wanted Lake Range Drive included in the traffic analysis. He stressed he was not against the subdivision. “Progress happens. It’s important to come up with a solution (to the traffic issue) that respects the existing residents and the new ones.”
Hanna addressed the root of the problem with a blunt statement: “We may have to drop the speed on Lake Range Drive.” The response was applause.
There was also discussion on parks – there aren’t any that can be reached on foot, and the one that’s closest needs a lot of work; stormwater management – people aren’t convinced the plan to deal with it is adequate; and the fact that traffic in the area increases drastically in the summer including bicycles, pedestrians and vehicles.
Discussion ended with council agreeing to defer approval until the traffic study is done – and council will ask that all roads (for subdivision access) be considered. Murray thanked the members of the public for voicing their concerns.