But some area residents concerned they would lose their quiet residential neighbourhood
City staff is recommending approval of an Orillia-based developer’s plan to turn the former Jesse Hamilton school in Lively into a 29-unit apartment building.
Seeley Homes Ltd. also wants to build “a new multiple dwelling with 26 units on the northeasterly portion of the property,” says a staff report on the proposal, as well five single resident lots. The plan will go to the planning committee Feb. 25, when area residents concerned about the impact of added traffic are expected to turn out to object to the proposal.
Seeley requires a rezoning of its 6.87-acre property from institutional to a mix of low-density residential and medium-density residential to proceed with its plans to build on both Jessie Street and Patricia Street in Lively.
“The application for the creation of 60 dwelling units is expected to generate approximately 430 vehicle trips on an average weekday,” concludes city’s the roads and transportation section. “A traffic impact study submitted with the application indicates that the existing road network can accommodate the development without the need for improvements.
“As a condition of approval, it is recommended that the owner complete the traffic impact study and agree to participate in the cost of any improvements or upgrading identified in the study.”
Sections of both Jessie and Patricia streets would need to be upgraded “to an urban standard” as part of the development.
Part of the property is on a flood plain, but that area isn’t part of the development. The staff report recommends that the height of the 29-unit apartment building not exceed the height of the former school, and a wooded area on the property be maintained as a buffer between the rest of the neighbourhood and the new development.
Once completed, 70 per cent of the total property would be greenspace, with 87 parking spaces provided for the area’s new residents. A traffic study found the 55-units and five single-family homes will generate much less traffic than Jesse Hamilton did when the school was open.
However, area residents have expressed several concerns about the development, focusing on:
- the impact added traffic will have on local roads;
- the fact local roads not urbanized;
- the proposed use not compatible with low-density neighbourhood with predominantly single detached dwellings;
- a concern that the development will lower property values; and,
- the land should be developed for single detached dwellings only.
Letters objecting to the plan argue that there are only single-unit residences in the area, and that the apartment building isn’t consistent with current development.
“We would not have an issue if the area was developed for single dwelling homes only,” writes area resident Bryson Gray.
“That many dwellings in one particular area would increase vehicular traffic, human traffic and noise in our area,” writes Donald Fraser, another resident. “We don’t even know if these apartments would be regular units or geared-to-income. What would this project do to my property value?”
Opponents have also collected a petition opposed to the plan.