Council hears Blind Line build would bring minor change to traffic
Safety concerns seem to be at the heart of objections to a Blind Line development in Orangeville.
The owner of a heritage structure at 330 Blind Line wants Orangeville council to rezone their property from a development holding zone to a residential zone. The two-storey heritage structure will remain untouched, but they want to build a new single detached dwelling on a portion of the property.
Orangeville council took in a presentation about the proposal by Melissa Visser of MHBC Planning during a public meeting Feb. 13. Council agreed to receive the information.
Scott Drive resident Brian Hambly voiced his safety concerns about the development by way of a letter to council. Specifically, he is concerned that the part of Blind Line in question won’t be able to safely accommodate another driveway.
“On school days, the hill can often be backed up with vehicles trying to enter and exit St. Benedict Catholic Elementary School,” Hambly wrote. “Parents also park on Scott Drive and walk their young children the short distance uphill to the school.
“I’ve wondered if they find this a lot easier and safer than bothering with Blind Line hill by car, when it’s busy to get to the school.”
Further in his missive, he wrote: “With the school, town wells, the Dufferin ambulance station, and the Credit Valley Conservation Area as neighbours, I’m concerned about adding another driveway to this narrow strip of road I call ‘Blind Line Hill’. Another residential build approved at the location proposed might not be a safe bet.”
Patsy Swanson, another Scott Drive resident, shared the concerns for pedestrian and motor vehicle safety, and the integrity of the municipal drinking water supply.
“Blind Line, which really should be called School Road, is filled daily with the hustle and bustle of school kids – up and down the road, people walking dogs or out for exercise,” she wrote. “The craziness of vehicles up and down the road is unbelievable.
“From frantic parents dropping kids off for school, blocking side streets, and stopping along Blind Line itself, having vehicles double parked, pulling out around each other ... the road is a very busy one and is configured as such that I can’t see it being widened in the near term.”
Swanson encouraged the mayor, deputy mayor, and other town councillors to experience “the madness of Blind Line first-hand, the speed of vehicles wildly flying by, the careless nature faced, and evaluate what a new driveway into the middle of this might bring.”
Visser said the proposed rezoning and severance would be a gentle intensification of the site. The urban planners completed a heritage impact assessment, a stormwater management report, and a low impact development functional servicing report.
“The property is located in a source water protection area, so the low impact development report was completed to make sure that any future development could maintain groundwater rechange rate pre- and post-development,” Visser said.
Given the proposal includes a driveway to be added to the stretch of Blind Line, Mayor Lisa Post asked is a traffic study should be completed.
“When it comes to construction vehicles and the time that the build is happening, is there any consideration that needs to be taken to ensure that the area is protected and that we don’t have any traffic issues during the construction time?” she said.
Brandon Ward, the town’s manager of planning, said it’s a development zone and that highlights the intention for growth to happen in the future.
“It’s important to take that recognition into consideration when looking at this,” he said.
Regarding the need for a traffic study, Ward said they would consider how what’s proposed for the area will affect the existing traffic conditions.
“We look at the existing characteristics of the road and the traffic activity ... in tandem with what is happening,” he said. “Are we introducing a development of many, many units?”
With the current proposal, only one driveway is to be added to Blind Line and Ward said that would entail only a minor change to the existing traffic conditions.
“The entrance (driveway) location is something staff would look at as part of the siting of the lot,” he said, and added that the new entrance would be aligned with the existing driveway.
“But that’s a more finite siting exercise than it is a land-use decision matter,” Ward said.
The project calls for a portion of Blind Line to be widened about five metres. Councillor Joe Andrews asked if the widening would include additional sidewalk.
Ward said the requested widening isn’t to facilitate road reconstruction. Rather, he said, it’s to accommodate the right of way width.
“This property is historic,” Ward said. “The other properties around it as they’ve developed over time, we’ve acquired additional land to widen out that roadway width.
“This is a sort of a remnant that is still more narrower at that location.”
James Matthews, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Citizen