10 April 2014

To: Members of Mississippi Mills Council
Cc Steve Stirling, Town Planner

From: Harold Street Rezoning – Working Group

Re: Minto ZBA

The Working Group represents the over 80 residents who signed a Petition against the proposed rezoning amendment described in the Town’s Notice dated January 13, 2014. That petition was filed with the Town on February 4, 2014. In addition to the petition, several letters from residents opposing the rezoning were also filed with the Town.

At the COW meeting on February 4, 2014, following comments from some residents and a brief discussion by several councillors, it was agreed to defer consideration of the Minto ZBA until after a meeting could be arranged by the Town Planner with Minto and a working group of concerned residents.

On February 26, 2014 a meeting was held with the Town Planner, Minto representatives, and the residents’ Working Group. While Minto offered concessions regarding height and rear setbacks, they would not accept to limit the number of townhouses to be developed to their original concept plan, i.e. twelve. Nor did they accept that the townhouses would be restricted to bungalow style as we had been advised by the Planning Department. They stated that two storey townhouses would be more likely. In addition, Minto confirmed that they would not be the developer, but wanted the rezoning in order to make the sale of these properties more appealing to some other developer. Minto subsequently provided revised concept plans showing a potential of up to 17-18 townhouses on the six lots, in other words, a density increase of up to 50% over the original concept plan. Incidentally, this would also represent a density increase of up to 200% over the current R1 zoning which would see six single homes built on the lots in question. All of these numbers assume that only six of the eight lots owned by Minto would be developed because of the hammerhead turnaround requiring two lots.

We understand that the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) of 2005, and the Town’s Community Official Plan (COP), both encourage intensification, but this is to be compatible with the original neighbourhood. We believe this maximum increase in density, if allowed, will be far too excessive to be compatible in a mature, predominantly R1 neighbourhood.

Despite all of these changes to the original concept plan presented by the Town to residents, at the COW meeting held on April 1, 2014, after a short debate around the table, councillors voted to recommend that Council approve the zoning amendment from R1 to R3-9. Much to our disappointment!

Residents now are at the point where we don’t know who will be the developer, how many townhouses will be built, whether they will be bungalow style or two storey. In other words, we now know less than we did at the start of this process!

Our frustration and dissatisfaction with this whole process leads us to ask Council to reconsider and reject this recommendation at its upcoming Meeting on April 15, 2014.

Any rezoning proposal decision should be deferred until an actual future developer presents more detailed proposals to the Town, and the residents have an opportunity to review exactly what is to be developed in our community. After all, we are the residents who have to live adjacent to whatever final development may be approved.

Respectfully Yours,

Harold Street Rezoning Working Group,
Pat Miller – 11 Gale Street
Dave Depratto – 13 Gale Street
Mark Booth – 27 Gale Street
Paul Cliffen – 69 Harold Street
Pam Preiss – 56 Harold Street
Alex Hughes – 75 Harold Street