A housing development proposed for a vacant parcel of land between Mount Edward Road and the Charlottetown Mall has some residents in the area concerned about traffic congestion.
Sherwood Crossing would include more than 300 units constructed over the coming decade, sprawled across six hectares of land. Charlottetown city council hosted a public meeting on the proposed development Monday evening.
"Many of the residents stood up and said they had no problem with the development itself," said city councillor and planning committee chair Greg Rivard.
"Their concern was the amount of density that was proposed causing, you know, further traffic and not having, you know, the traffic plan."
The plans for Sherwood Crossing include two five-storey apartment buildings containing 88 units, a five-storey apartment building containing 78 units, seven townhouses containing 36 units, a commercial building that will be home to a medical centre, and a four-storey apartment building containing 60 affordable housing units.
Towers Road congestion
In the current plans, the development has multiple entrances. Apartments are accessed through Spencer Drive, while townhouses will be accessed off Towers Road. The medical centre will have a public entrance on Mount Edward Road.
Rivard said the traffic problems stem from a lack of suitable infrastructure options to move from Mount Edward Road to University Avenue. It's currently limited to the bypass, Belvedere Avenue, and taking Towers Road and navigating through the Charlottetown Mall parking lots.
Residents who attended the public meeting expressed concern that the bottom of Towers Road, currently a four-way stop, could not handle more traffic.
"The congestion is high there now," said Rivard. "They said that there's a lot of queuing."
The Charlottetown Mall is on private property, but Rivard said there are plans in the works to see a section of the property handed over to the city. This is so that a public road could connect Towers Road to Spencer Drive.
There is currently a temporary passage marked with concrete barricades through the Cineplex parking lot.
Traffic study gives go ahead
Tim Banks is the CEO of APM and the developer making the application to council. He said a traffic study has been conducted and concluded the area can handle the additional vehicles that would come from more than 300 housing units.
"At the end of the day here, when the project is developed, it will certainly help relieve some of the issues that are happening between the neighbourhood of Sherwood trying to get over to the retail node in the Charlottetown [Mall] area," Banks said.
"It's probably very minimal density if you're relating to another city. In most cases, we'd be able to put over a thousand units on a site like that."
He said the building footprint on the site accounts for less than a quarter of the land, and another 50 per cent of the site will be green space.
APM had originally planned to start construction on the first 80 units in 2020, but Banks said delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic have slowed the approval process.
"We've had it out there for a number of months so people could talk to us, have dialogue with us," he said. "So it'll probably be next spring before we start the first building."
The application for Sherwood Crossing will go before the city's planning board on Tuesday, Sept. 8. After that, the board will make a recommendation to city council, which is expected to vote on the matter at its Sept. 14 meeting.
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