Residents want better access to future subdivision

A new subdivision being proposed in St. Davids may only have one way in for vehicles – and that's a big concern for some of its neighbours.

At a Niagara-on-the-Lake council meeting on Tuesday night, St. Davids resident Martin Quick and a few of his neighbours said a new subdivision in their community should have an additional access point.

Developer Gatta Homes Inc. proposes to extend Kenmir Avenue into a 28-lot subdivision ending in a cul-de-sac.

If built, the future residents will have one vehicular access point to the subdivision from the intersection of Kenmir and Hickory avenues.

“That makes absolutely no sense at all,” Quick said of the access plan.

Quick said this is a “major development” and would be subject to the coming and going of massive construction vehicles.

He said these vehicles would be better serviced if they could enter the development directly from Tanbark Road rather than having to drive all the way around the site and enter through Kenmir Avenue.

Quick said “maybe one house is going to be replaced" if the developer decides to build an access point from Tanbark Road.

He was also concerned with the removal of black walnut trees from the site.

“Can any of these absolutely magnificent trees be preserved?” he asked.

If not, Quick said he wants to see mature trees planted in their place.

An arborist’s report provided with the developer’s application shows 39 of 57 trees on the site are slated for removal.

Also sharing Quick's concerns was Darryl Byrne, who said there is a “topology issue” with Kenmir Avenue.

The St. Davids resident said the street is hilly and he worried how it would impact existing issues such as vehicular access and snow removal if the developer moves forward with one entrance for vehicles.

“This is already a busy street,” resident Hao Zeng said.

Zeng said the road was made more narrow by the construction vehicles frequenting it.

He said Kenmir already has over 70 homes on it, and the development, if approved, would raise the number of homes to over 100.

For him, this is a safety concern – especially for children on their way to and from school.

And Quick said there should be no work after 6 p.m. to help keep the neighbourhood quiet.

He also argued the town should enforce bylaws to make sure contractors are “wearing proper safety gear” at all times.

Tanbark Road resident Lloyd Oliver said some lots were too small, and worried the proposed houses would cast long shadows on his home.

“We back onto the Kenmir extension, where the lots behind us are about 70 feet (21.3 metres) in depth,” he said.

Oliver said once the back porch proposed for the futures houses is build, his future neighbours could be eight feet away from his fence.

“Moving out here to St. Davids, I didn’t think I’d ever have that issue,” he said.

Coun. Gary Burroughs asked if the proposed houses were going to be a “little less expensive.”

“It would be nice for our community if we could actually have affordable – so called – affordable housing,” he added.

This elicited a laugh, as Gatta homes has a reputation for building expensive luxury homes.

Kekoo Gatta, the developer's CEO, said the smaller lots should help keep the future houses in a “lower price range.”

Evan Loree, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Lake Report