By Bob Bruton, Barrie Examiner
Another Dock Road development meeting, another frosty reception by neighbours.
Joe and Mary Santos, through Innovative Planning Solutions (IPS), have applied for an Official Plan (OP) amendment to change 200C Dock Rd.’s designation to medium density from low density residential to permit a 24-unit seniors development on the 1.2-acre site.
“This gives seniors an opportunity to age in an area which they are familiar with,” said Darren Vella of IPS at Monday’s public meeting. “It’s a very different type of seniors facility, for active seniors.”
To the north, east and west of 200C Dock Rd. there is city parkland.
But Craig Duncan, who lives on nearby Plunkett Court, said he was speaking for a dozen or so area residents who don’t want the development.
“We’re discontented with the idea of changing the zoning,” he said. “We have development-specific concerns.”
Allan Mather, who lives on Tynhead Road, was concerned with losing a mature stand of trees on the property, the building’s real height (counting a raised landscape), stormwater management and runoff into Kempenfelt Bay.
“This project is ill-conceived,” he said. “It is out of character with our neighbourhood.”
Coun. Arif Khan raised concerns about the facility’s future.
“At some point this is going to transition into a care facility, for some of these people,” he said. “Is it going to turn into a nursing home? That’s what people are concerned about.”
Vella noted there are currently no rest homes in Barrie.
Coun. Alex Nuttall represents this part of Barrie and doesn’t agree with the Santos proposal. He’s said it’s not close enough to public transit and employment, and an example of a developer just trying to maximize investment.
There are large residential properties along Plunkett Court, and neighbours there have said a rest home doesn’t fit there. The site has 34 metres of shoreline and 82 metres along Plunkett.
This Dock Road property has a long history of controversial development plans, and council resistance to them. There have been six public meetings about it.
In 2007, OP and zoning applications were made to permit a medium-density condo project. Their denial was appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), then that appeal was withdrawn in order to move ahead with plans for a rest home – which was a permitted use.
In June 2009, there was a site plan application for a 29-unit rest home. But council changed the city zoning bylaw that same year, removing rest homes as a permitted use in this residential (R1) zone. Council even denied a 24-unit, three-storey walk-up condominium building there.
This was appealed to the OMB, along with the site plan and zoning.
These appeals have been consolidated, but stayed by the developer, pending the OP amendment application.
City planning staff had recommended turning down the plan and rezoning changes because the Dock Road application was inconsistent with the Provincial Policy Statement of 2005 and Barrie’s OP, which designates land use.
But the developer contends a higher-density development on 200C Dock Rd. conforms with Places to Grow, a provincial planning policy, and Barrie’s intensification proposals.
It also provides for the needs of an aging population, an increasing demographic, in a serene environment bound by parks and Lake Simcoe, says IPS.
Last year, the OMB dismissed an appeal by developer Marandal Enterprises for condominium townhouses on just more than three acres at the northwest corner of Dock and Tynhead roads.
The board said this land was instead appropriate for single-detached homes, and that Marandal’s plans for either 28 townhouses or 18 townhouses combined with six single-detached units along Dock Road don’t conform with intensification policies in the provincial growth plan on a number of fronts.
The Santos application for an OP amendment now goes to city planning staff for a report, then to city council.
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