389-home subdivision nears approval on Con. 7

A proposed subdivision on the outskirts of Glendale is one step closer to becoming a reality.

Niagara-on-the-Lake council rubber-stamped Modero Estates, a development proposal for 389 housing units, at a meeting Feb. 13.

The project by Hummel Properties Inc. and Marz Homes will be brought back for a final endorsement at a future meeting.

A report, signed by three senior staffers including the planning director and chief administrator, recommended the project on 38 acres on Concession 7 between York and Queenston roads be approved.

The project includes 55 single-family units, 128 on-street townhouses, 178 block townhouses and 28 units above commercial spaces, according to a staff report.

The report said the diversified housing stock “would cater to residents of different age groups, lifestyles, incomes and household sizes.”

The proposed subdivision would increase density on the lot to about 56 people per hectare, which is consistent with development targets set by both the region and province, the report said.

As part of the build-out, the developer is asking to rezone the land from industrial and conservation uses to low and medium-density uses with space for community facilities.

An engineering report filed with the project application said the development would be hooked up to existing sewage infrastructure.

Though most houses would be serviced by sewers, which use gravity to move waste, 67 homes would need to use grinder pumps, which help to move sewage uphill.

When the project was discussed at a public meeting on Dec. 5, some residents raised concerns about the subdivision’s impact on traffic.

The staff report said the applicant filed a traffic study with the application, which showed the development would “not significantly impact traffic operations in the area.”

Coun. Sandra O’Connor expressed concern that houses in the development would need to rely on grinder pumps for proper sewage service.

Chief town planner Kirsten McCauley said staff are working with the developer on a servicing strategy for the project.

“We’ve tried to limit the number of grinder pumps that would be required here,” she said.

The town and developer discussed installing a pumping station in the development but the region was not in favour of the idea, McCauley said.

Director of operations Darren MacKenzie said it would cost more to maintain a pumping station than grinder pumps.

“To me, this is like the downloading of a municipal service to the property owner,” O’Connor said in response.

“If something goes wrong with the grinder pumps, they have to end up replacing it,” she added.

On top of that, residents could be without sewage if the pumps fail.

O’Connor said she couldn't support the project without seeing a sewage management plan with alternatives to grinder pumps.

Coun. Erwin Wiens said residents in the rural area of NOTL “envy” grinder pumps.

Without municipal sewage services, rural residents who rely on septic tanks have no sewage access during power outages.

He said home buyers are responsible for understanding how their pump works before they buy the property.

Rather than trying to limit pumps, Wiens suggested the town should make sure residents “understand what they’re actually purchasing” when they buy a house with a grinder pump.

Coun. Adriana Vizzari worried the school board would be unable to accommodate an influx of new students if the development goes ahead.

“Currently the basement is flooded at St. Davids and the kids are in the library, so it’s hard to believe they can have 200 more homes go to that school,” she said.


Evan Loree, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Lake Report