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Residents don’t want “city” behind their homes

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In Barrie
Sep 17th, 2010
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By Leigh Blenkhorn Barrie Advance Sep 15, 2010
BARRIE – Traffic congestion, wildlife and protecting environmental areas are among the concerns of residents living in the neighbourhood of a proposed 2,172-unit development in the city’s south.
The development, by Baywood Homes and Options for Homes, is proposed for Mapleview Drive, east of Yonge Street and the GO Station.
Developers were at city council Monday night with a proposed amendment that would change the project’s designation to high-density. Currently the development carries a low to medium density designation.
“I feel like I’m about to have a entire city built right behind my house,” said area resident Fred Van Arragon. “I’m concerned about the sheer volume of people this would house.”
The proposed development calls for 165 townhouses, 721 stacked and cluster townhouses, 1,044 high-density units in multiple eight to 24-storey towers including a 20,000 sq. ft. ground floor commercial space, 238 medium-density six-storey apartments and four units for future development.
Other concerns included schools, winds and shade, whether or not the project will attract health care providers and parking for residents.
“I just wish I would have known about this three years ago when we moved in there,” said area resident Ron Redmond. “How are we going to sell, knowing there is going to be another city behind us?”
During their presentation, developers stressed the environmental considerations they were making for the project, including rain gardens, walking trails, and a car-free theme.
Some at the meeting were in favour of the amendment, calling the idea forward thinking.
“Do not fold to the pressures of NIMBYs,” said James Bazely, owner of Gregor Homes, and president of the Ontario Home Builders Association. “If we as a community support these types of progressive initiatives, we will attract the best of the best.”
The property was approved for residential development in 2006. Later, developers were granted a three-year extension, but council informed them their plans did not fit with intensification standards.
Earlier this year council denied the developers an extension of its draft plan approval status.
Baywood Homes and Options for Homes plan to host an open house in the future to answer concerns.
The city’s planning department will now take a look at the plan, bringing it back to council, most likely in 2011.

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