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After long debate, TBM council approves Lora Bay rezoning

It took a lengthy discussion spread over two meetings and multiple resolutions, but The Blue Mountains council has approved a rezoning application for phase 4B of the Lora Bay development.

The rezoning, which council had okayed at a committee of the whole meeting two weeks earlier, was back for final ratification at council’s meeting on Feb. 20. The appearance of the rezoning application set off another long discussion around the council table, prompting multiple resolutions, a reconsideration and a midday lunch break before the issue was finally put to bed during the afternoon portion of the meeting.

In addition to approving the rezoning, council also passed a separate resolution requesting that the developer – Great Gulf – make a financial contribution to the affordable/attainable housing portion of the town’s community improvement plan (CIP).

Council made one major change to the rezoning request. Council did not allow an increase to the permitted lot coverage from the standard 40 per cent to 50 per cent. Instead, council approved a suggestion from Deputy Mayor Peter Bordignon that the lot coverage be increased to 45 per cent in an effort to meet the developer in the middle.

“This is a compromise situation,” said Bordignon.

The deputy mayor’s compromise passed in a 5-2 vote with Mayor Andrea Matrosovs and Coun. Paula Hope voting against, as they preferred the 40 per cent standard be left in place.

Council also continued to express concerns about the Georgian Trail. A significant portion of the lots in the Phase 4B portion of Lora Bay are located along the Georgian Trail. The developer’s plans also show that future Lora Bay projects will be on the other side of the trail. It’s possible that down the road, the developer will request a road crossing of the trail to access future development lands.

Councillors wanted to see the trail protected and a future road crossing prohibited. As part of the rezoning, a three-metre strip of vegetation will be included on any lots abutting the trail. Council requested the vegetation strip be registered on title as a covenant. The strip of vegetation required a reconsideration from council as an early resolution approving the rezoning left it out of what was approved.

As for the road crossing, town staff explained that the current application did not include a request for a crossing of the trail. CAO Shawn Everitt suggested council could prepare separate correspondence, unrelated to the rezoning application, to express its concerns about a future request for such a crossing.

“The goal is to limit the number of crossings on the Georgian Trail,” said Everitt.

Following the approval of the rezoning, council also unanimously passed an additional resolution requesting that Great Gulf make a contribution to the “housing within reach” portion of the town’s CIP.

Hope made the suggestion after noting that phase 4B of Lora Bay does not include any units of affordable/attainable housing.

“This community needs help with attainable housing,” said Hope.

The rezoning changes the property’s designation from development to residential. The change permits the construction of 45 single detached dwellings, 13 rowhouse dwellings and two park blocks. The development will also include an extension of West Ridge Drive, new internal roads and two servicing blocks.

Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca