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Ambitious 173-unit development approved for Fuller Avenue

The development will feature 126 single-detached units and 47 townhouses in addition to a commercial component and a park

The town has given the green light to pave the way for St. Andrews Village - an ambitious 173-unit development planned for Fuller Avenue. 

The notice of approval for the plan for the 1145 Fuller Ave. property was released Aug. 19 by the town. The plan includes 126 single-detached houses, 47 townhouse units, a commercial block proposed at intersection of Fuller Avenue and Pine Grove Road, a private park, two stormwater management blocks, and one future development block.

The plan came forward after amendments were made following questions raised at a public consultation session held in September last year. 

Louis Forget, who lives on Pine Grove Road, asked if the number of units being requested in the development could be reduced.

Darren Vella, president and founder of Innovative Planning Solutions, who was representing the subdivision owner(s), responded.

"The decision rendered by the then OMB (Ontario Municipal Board) stipulates the number of units that should be developed along with the mix of residential and commercial uses," said his submitted response. "The proposed plan of subdivision is consistent with this previous approval."

The application had already been modified to indicate environmentally protected land next to St. Andrew's Lake, which abuts the property.

Forget's next question was related to that designation. He asked how the development will provide for turtle nesting.

Vella says a detailed environmental study has been completed that recommends, "the installation of turtle exclusion fence around the perimeter of the active development site, with the fence monitored daily during nesting season (June), to ensure that no animals have been caught in it. In addition, we suggest that all workers on site be aware of the reptile species that may occur in the area, such that the species are recognized and handled appropriately."

Once construction is complete, Vella said design elements will be incorporated into the condominium plan to limit impact to nesting turtles post-buildout, including permanent exclusion fence/barriers (rear-yard fences, retaining walls along the environmental protection limit). As well, the applicant will be dedicating the environmentally protected lands to a non-profit environment group.

Ed Lacroix, who lives further up on Fuller Avenue, asked if this was a seniors-only subdivision.

Vella said the original intention was to cater the development toward seniors, given the demographic of the town. That demographic may ultimately be the majority of the buyers, however, there are no age limits set by the developer.

Ernest Reid, who attended the meeting on behalf of the Huronia Gun Club located on 1145 Pine Grove Rd., wanted to remind the developer about the noise from the gun club and asked that future residents be informed of the presence of the club.

The draft plan conditions set by the town required a noise study be conducted to address and mitigate noise emanating from the Gun Club and that the developer provide warning clauses in the purchase and sale agreements thus notifying residents of potential noise concerns from the club.

A couple residents expressed their concerns around flooding in the area.

"The applicant engineering team is working cooperatively with the town, MNR (Ministry of Natural Resources) and MECP (Ministry of Environment, Conservation, and Parks) to develop a strategy to ensure flooding is not exasperated as a result of the proposed development," Vella responded. "Recognizing there is an existing problem that was not created by the applicant, we will participate as much as possible to find a solution."

The draft plan conditions presented in July require the developer to monitor St. Andrew’s Lake and should impacts be observed then a contingency plan agreement will be formulated to re-examine the stormwater management system.

Council inquired about the rationale for including a commercial block in the development.

Vella says it was a mandatory requirement from the County of Simcoe for the approval of an Official Plan amendment. 

"We hope that a market exists to bring amenities to the existing and future residents of the community," writes Vella. "Should no market exist, future planning applications will be required to change the land use of this property."   

Staff answered questions around increased traffic on Cambridge and Sheffcote Streets and Oxley Drive, noting a traffic impact study had been conducted and did not indicate significant increases to traffic volumes on those streets.

Council members were also concerned about impacts on the town's aquifer.

"Hydrogeological work is currently underway to determine the connection of the groundwater system to the town's water supply, as well as to St. Andrew's Lake," Vella said. "The type of development proposed typically does not result in high potential for groundwater contamination."

Staff also gave input: "the development has proposed a significant amount of infiltration and low-impact design techniques to address the quantity polices in which a water balance has indicated that there will be no impact to the town's water supply."

The decision can be appealed with the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal within 20 days of the notice as issued on Aug. 19.