City committee backs plan to build 42-unit development on vacant Riverside Drive lot

A rendering of the planned development. (Architectural Design Associates - image credit)
A rendering of the planned development. (Architectural Design Associates - image credit)

A residential development proposed for a vacant riverfront lot passed the latest hurdle on its way to being approved.

At a meeting of the city of Windsor's planning and heritage committee Monday, members voted unanimously to move ahead with the proposal for the southwest corner of Hall Avenue and Riverside Drive East.

The lot has been empty since 2013, when the historic building that used to house male strip club Danny's Tavern was torn down.

Katia Augustin/CBC News
Katia Augustin/CBC News

The design of the five-storey, 42-unit building proposed by St. Clair Rhodes Development Corporation underwent some changes after a planning committee meeting in October brought concerns from residents and recommendations from the committee.

Committee members suggested the developer meet with neighbours who were against the proposal.

The developer held an open house, heard residents concerns and shifted its plans to better align with the community.

That move was lauded at the committee meeting Monday by several councillors, who also pointed out that no residents were at the meeting to oppose the development.

Kerri Breen/CBC
Kerri Breen/CBC

Karl Tanner, who was representing the developer at the meeting, told the committee that with council approval, he hoped to get to work by spring.

The development still needs to be approved by council for work to get started.

Resident raise concerns

One of the concerns raised by residents was about parking, and the heat island effect it could have on the neighbourhood.

Heat islands are urban areas that experience higher temperatures because of infrastructure like buildings or roads that absorb the sun's heat and re-emit that heat more than natural landscapes.

The developer changed the plan to have surface parking below an overhang of the building, lessening the impact of the heat island.

The addition of a pedestrian crossing was also a need, according to residents.

But the city's planning department said the amount of pedestrian traffic in the area doesn't warrant the creation of a signalized crosswalk right now.