Stratford development gets a big 'no' from neighbours

A new development proposed for Stratford, P.E.I., is receiving unkind reviews from the neighbours.

The developers are looking to put in a new subdivision which will have three different types of housing. The plan is for 101 units, made up of single detached units, semi-detached townhouses and a low-rise apartment building. Stratford held a public meeting on the development Wednesday evening.

The development would go on the six hectares behind Our Lady of Assumption Church, at the corner of Stratford and Keppoch Roads. It would contain two sections, separated by the existing Stratford trail system. 

In its presentation to the meeting, developer Landfest company said the plan tries to provide density and choice for the consumer. It pointed out that Stratford has been the fastest growing community on the Island, and looks like it will continue to grow.

Town of Stratford

"There's a lot larger homes that are for sale now that aren't moving," said John Horrelt of Landfest.

"Demographics are changing. You know, the population is getting older and so on. And with our recent … housing crisis and so on, there's more need for affordability and different types of housing."

Not the right fit, say neighbours

Those who gathered at town hall were not impressed with the idea. Some thought it just didn't fit. 

Natalia Goodwin/CBC

"I look at that development and cringe," said Janet Compton 

"I just don't like the amount of people … There's more duplexes, an apartment building. If it's R1 I see one person in my backyard, if it's this maybe three people will be looking in my backyard."

Compton was also concerned that wildlife in Stratford was deteriorating because of all the development.

The subdivision will have 30 per cent green space, more than the town requires.

The majority of the crowd agreed that the design doesn't fit with the neighbourhood, which is mostly single family dwellings. Many said that the single-family homes were too small, and too close together. Horrelt is asking for 45-foot (14 metre) frontages for the single-family homes. That didn't sit will with some in the crowd. 

"You have to do something to protect the property values of all the homes that surround it." said Micah Hepper.

Horrelt said he is willing to work with the town on a design concept and be heavily involved in what the buildings might look like. 

Traffic concerns

Others were worried that with more units, comes more traffic, something they say is already an issue for the area. Although the traffic study commissioned by the developer found there would be minimal increases.

Natalia Goodwin/CBC

"My wife is visually impaired," said David Ross.

"While the pedestrian infrastructure inside the development looks excellent, there is nothing being addressed in this plan for Reddin Heights and John Hamilton, and Millennium [streets]."

Pedestrian infrastructure should be considered before the development goes in, said Ross.

A few in the crowd had issues with there being only one entrance into the development, and worried emergency vehicles may have trouble in a traffic backup.

The development will be sent back to the planning board on Monday, and to council at a future date. The public also has until noon on Friday to submit and written comments to the town.

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