• Protecting Water and Farmland in Simcoe County

.Nottawa project draws a crowd

In Clearview
Aug 13th, 2010

By Michael Gennings Aug 11, 2010
STAYNER – Clearview Township council held a public meeting Monday night regarding the large-scale residential and commercial development that’s proposed for Nottawa.
The meeting was required under the province’s Planning Act because the 129-acre property requires an Official Plan amendment and subdivision draft plan approval for the proposal to move forward.
Clearview Developments Inc., the company that is pursuing the project, which if approved would be situated on the east side of County Road 124, just south of McKean Subdivision, presented an overview of what it has planned.
The project calls for 422 residential units, the bulk of which would be single-family homes.
As well, there would be a commercial component fronting onto County Road 124.
Village residents who attended the meeting voiced an array of comments.
Some said the proposal is welcomed because it will bring sewer and water services to the community.
Others said it will create traffic problems.
And still others said the proposal was too large.
But some liked it too – assuming specific concerns, such as traffic – are dealt with before the project unfolds.
Rossalyn Workman, a planner for Clearview Township, noted at the start of the meeting the Official Plan amendment would change the property designation from rural, residential, industrial and greenland-natural hazard land to residential, commercial, open space and rural. The effect of the change would permit a subdivision draft plan that would have residential and commercial land uses.
Kris Menzies, a planning consultant acting on behalf of Clearview Developments Inc., owner Gian Del Zotto, presented the bulk of the project overview.
Menzies noted they have made the street layout of the development more grid-like. She said the move was in response to comments made by locals at a recent public information session. She said locals said the design would better blend with McKean Subdivision.
Menzies noted the company has conducted several studies in connection with the proposal – studies that are under review by the township. These include a traffic impact study, an external sanitary servicing report and an external water supply report.
Mike Hensel, of Hensel Design Group, also speaking on behalf of Clearview Developments, talked about the environmental aspect of the project and noted the subject land is primarily agricultural in nature.
Chris Crozier, of Crozier and Associates, another consultant working on the project, said the plan is to provide the development with water from the Collingwood-New Tecumseth Pipeline, which is located to the northeast. He said sewer services would also be provided by Collingwood, by connecting into its system to the north.
Clearview Township, after conducting an environmental assessment a few years ago, identified Collingwood as the preferred provider of water and sewer servicing for the village, he noted.
Residents currently living in Nottawa use septic systems to collect waste and wells for water.
A representative of the Blue Mountain Watershed Trust Foundation was the first member of the public to speak at the meeting. He said the organization is concerned about the impact the development will have on the environment.
A McKean Subdivision resident said he doesn’t want to see the development impact wildlife in the area and for that reason he’s against the project.
Louise McCartney-West, a local resident who also is paart owner of D and L Variety on County Road 124, said she’s not against progress but does have concerns.
She said that if water and sewer services are provided for the development they should also be made available to the whole community. She said many are using old septic systems and aging wells.
“We can’t afford not to have good water,” she said.
She added a traffic light is also needed on County Road 124, allowing people in and out of the development.
McCartney-West said she was worried the development might become a separate community within the village. She said the design should ensure that doesn’t happen.
“I strongly suggest to each and everyone of you…make sure you know what will take place. Change is not a bad thing but it has to be for the right reason. It has to be done right from the start. We don’t want a village within a village.”
Gillian Foxcraft, another local resident, said she’s not against the development but concerned about how it will impact the rural atmosphere of the community.
Linda Simpson, who also lives in the village, said Nottawa Elementary School is not big enough to accommodate the number of new students that would live within the development.
“My opinion is it is too many homes in the wrong place,” she said.
Curtis Wagner was one of many people to raise concerns about increased traffic.
Eric Jelinski, a County Road 10 resident who is running for deputy mayor, spoke at the meeting and said that if elected this fall he would not support the development.
Hae said municipal officials don’t know enough about the impact the project will have on the community and added the cost of connecting existing homes to servicing would be “significant and is not fully appreciated in today’s economy.”
“Nothing should proceed until there has been a comprehensive review of the Clearview Official Plan by all ratepayers in accordance with the provincial Planning Act and Places to Grow Act,” he said.
Ward 1 Councillor Doug Measures, who represents the village, said he is interested to see what township staff in their follow-up report says about how Clearview can provide services to the whole village.
He later asked that Clearview’s Public Works Department create a master plan on how the whole village could be serviced. He said such a plan is the responsible thing to do.
Ward 6 councillor Roger McGillvray asked if there were any provisions for housing to accommodate the elderly.
Menzies responded to the question, saying Clearview Developments Inc., can’t “people zone”. However, she did say lots could accommodate bungalows, which might be a housing style of interest to older people.
McGillvray pressed about what time frame the project would happen.
Menzies said that’s “up to the market” but said once approvals are granted the project should take seven to 10 years to complete.
Ward 4 councillor Thom Paterson then spoke.
“The unique thing that I see is how the existing community can benefit,” he said. “There is a very direct need – water and sewer servicing…right from the beginning we should start talking about how the development can provide a benefit to existing residents.”
Paterson said he wanted to know the cost of putting the infrastructure in and wanted the clearest picture possible.
Picking up on a point raised earlier in the meeting, he said the development should not be isolated from the rest of the village.
“There is a lot more that needs to go into the site plan to integrate this into the community,” he said.
Deputy Mayor Alicia Savage stressed the project is just at the start.
“There are lots of questions to be answered,” she said. “This is not going to happen overnight. Clearly until a servicing plan and agreement [with Collingwood] are in place this council can’t make a decision.”
Mayor Ken Ferguson said he was glad that in the late 1990s the council of the day – which he was part of – had the foresight to have a connection installed on the Collingwood-New Tecumseth Pipeline, near Nottawa.
He said Clearview needs new development and it needs investment.
Clearview Township staff is now reviewing all of the comments received and in the future will bring a report to council with a recommendation on whether to approve the project.

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