King council okays subdivision, wants traffic calming measures implemented

·3 min read

King wants to mitigate traffic and safety issues before a Schomberg subdivision is built.

Councillors approved staff recommendations to pave the way for Forestbrook Hills phase 2, off of Roselena Drive in Schomberg.

This “extension” of the existing community has been in the works for years, with plans dating back to 2016. A draft plan and bylaw amendments were submitted by the proponents in 2017 and a public meeting was first held in 2018.

The plan has been revised, and now includes 51 single-detached homes on the lands, which will be accessed from an extension of Roselena, crossing the river and forming a new intersection with Church Street. The extension of Roselena, staff said, will facilitate the connection of the existing community as envisioned in the Community Plan.

Protecting the Schomberg River is important, and measures will be taken to mitigate any negative impacts. Also, staff said a hardwood forest adjacent to the development will be enhanced with buffers intended for replanting.

The plan also includes a reasonable transition of lot sizes. Curbs, gutters and a sidewalk will be installed at the frontage of the development abutting Church Street. Retaining walls will be necessary in some spots.

Commenting agencies such as King, LSRCA and York Region have no objections, noting any outstanding matters will be addressed during the draft plan approval stage.

This type of development is permitted and even supported by residents.

The main concerns surround traffic and pedestrian safety. Residents contend when the extension to Roselena takes place, it will create a bypass through the neighbourhood.

Staff said Roselena would be a second principle entrance for the development and would allow water services to be “looped” and provide optimal response times for emergency vehicles. Right now, more than 100 homes are served by a single access at Roselena and Moore Park Drive.

“Two fully maintained road access points would also foster better traffic flow and protect for future transportation-transit planning,” staff said.

Staff also noted that King’s new Traffic Calming Strategy can help in terms of alleviating potential traffic woes, such as speeding. Staff suggested that Roselena be considered for “passive traffic calming techniques,” which include signage and markings used to slow traffic. Staff also said the developer will have to build and maintain the calming measures, and monitor traffic on an ongoing basis.

Residents, however, are not completely convinced. While they support new housing, they point to safety and speeding as major concerns.

One resident said compromises need to be made, and he’d like to see a double cul-de-sac, instead of the connection of Roselena with Church. Opening Roselena will only compound the problem, he said, adding this new phase need to be done with safety in mind.

One resident did a house-to-house survey prior to the recent virtual council meeting. He said most residents thought the cul-de-sac was the preferred option.

Other residents pointed to the quality of life, stressing the character of the existing neighbourhood needs to be maintained.

Planner Paul Kulyk aid staff don’t support the double cul-de-sac. He noted the Township now has the benefit of the traffic strategy to help guide them. The developer, he said, is obligated to implement the traffic control measures. A lot of the concerns, he said, point to driver behaviour, and it’s difficult to design for behaviour.

Councillor Bill Cober put forth an addition to the recommendations. It calls for traffic mitigation measures be included in the design.

Mark Pavilons, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, King Weekly Sentinel