380 new homes slated for Concession 7 area

Town council is moving ahead with a proposed subdivision that has plans for 380 homes in the Glendale area, on Concession 7 between York Road and Queenston Road.

At last Tuesday’s committee-of-the-whole meeting, councillors approved applications for Official Plan and zoning bylaw amendments, as well as a draft plan of a subdivision for Modero Estates, a step forward in allowing 55 single-detached dwellings, 121 on-street townhouses, 204 block townhouses, and a commercial building with three apartment units above on 23 hectares (about 56 acres).

Before the applications were endorsed, Coun. Sandra O’Connor directed some questions and concerns to staff.

One was related to earlier information that the project could not be given the green light until a secondary plan for the Glendale area was completed, which has yet to take place.

But planning director Kirsten McCauley said conversations have evolved since then.

“Both the regional staff and town staff felt it could come forward at this time,” said McCauley.

A “main concern” for O’Connor is that the project has plans for several of the units to use grinder pumps to force wastewater into the sewer main, used when homes are at a lower elevation than a nearby sewer system.

Asked by O’Connor how many homes will require grinder pumps, McCauley said 67 homes are currently expected to need them. But the developer, through a servicing strategy, is working to potentially reduce that number, she added.

McCauley also said the Region is not in favour of installing a pumping station for the subdivision. “They were supportive of the strategy we’ve come up with,” she said.

Interim director of operations Darren MacKenzie also weighed in, saying the Region’s position is that a pumping station would not be feasible, and would be too expensive.

“It really came down to the maintenance and usage for the Region on that,” said MacKenzie.

O’Connor also doesn’t like that the homeowners are being handed a responsibility and cost she feels belongs to the municipality.

“I’d like to see some other kind of system considered,” said O’Connor.

McCauley said as the draft plan of subdivision process unfolds, potential buyers will be notified of the need for grinder pumps and how to maintain and operate them.

The report approved by the town says town staff, the applicant, and the Region discussed a preferred servicing strategy to address the challenges with the site, and to avoid the need for a pumping station.

“While some dwelling units proposed will require grinder pumps, ejector pumps and gravity connections to ensure that there is viable servicing for all units in the subdivision, the servicing strategy has been developed to limit the number of pumps needed for individual dwelling units,” says the report.

The servicing strategy will require the applicant to obtain an easement across 736 York Road to connect into the municipal system, staff said.

Coun. Erwin Wiens said the use of grinder pumps should be considered an “education issue,” and that people will be aware of the need for them. Homeowners, he added, will “understand what they’re actually purchasing.”

The Official Plan amendment requests the property be redesignated for residential use with a refinement to environmental designation boundaries. The zoning bylaw amendment requests site-specific zoning based on the subdivision layout.

Marz Homes is the developer behind the project, working with property owner Rainer Hummel.

The impact of the new homes and setbacks on neighbours were topics at a public meeting held in December, which drew four people who spoke in opposition to the project for reasons that included the density of homes impacting neighbours, traffic, trees and the creek system through the area.

Kris Dube, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Niagara-on-the-Lake Local