TLTI council approves Lansdowne subdivision

“We’ve given the green light to change Lansdowne forever.”

Those are the words of Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands Deputy Mayor Terry Fodey, after council unanimously gave the OK to a draft plan for a proposed subdivision in Lansdowne.

Now, the subdivision is permitted subject to the conditions established through the approval being met. This now gives the developer the opportunity to put together a detailed engineering design of the subdivision.

The project still requires the green light from the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville.

The township council gave its approval during its April 8 meeting, hours after the region experienced a total solar eclipse, prompting some philosophizing by the deputy mayor.

“The sun is shining on us for a reason today,” said Fodey.

“Mother Nature provided us with a once-in-a-lifetime experience for anyone in this part of the Western Hemisphere. We, on a much smaller scale, but large in the terms of the Township Leeds and the Thousand Islands and, more particularly, this village of Lansdowne, could also provide a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, which we just did in a unanimous vote. This could have major impact on this village. It pleases me greatly that this will have huge impact on our revenue, through taxation down the road, as the developer creates all of these homes and puts people in them.”

Just as important, Fodey added, it will spread wealth directly into businesses in the township and abroad.

“I’m thrilled,” said Fodey.

Mayor Corinna Smith-Gatcke echoed the sentiment.

“It’s often these processes that frustrate developers and frustrates the actual process of getting homes built, so this is helpful,” said Smith-Gatcke.

Monday’s approval also creates a double-edged sword, the mayor made sure to note.

“We’ve grown the village potentially by almost 50 per cent (with the proposed subdivision) and, with that, with more people, yes, there will be more economic spinoff, which is great, but there will also be more people here, which means schools, community centres, recreation programs, all of those other things,” said Smith-Gatcke.

“I ask that council keep in their mind that when we increase the village by that size, and potentially more down the way, that it comes with greater pressure, as well.”

Applications for amendments to the township's official plan and zoning bylaw, and for a draft plan of subdivision, were submitted by Fotenn Consultants Inc., on behalf of the property owner for a portion of the vacant, unaddressed property located southeast of the intersection of County Road 3 and Grand Trunk Avenue.

The portion of the property that corresponds to the applications is within the Lansdowne settlement area. The overall property is approximately 42 hectares, with the portion corresponding to the applications being approximately 9.2 hectares.

The property is currently vacant of buildings, with two existing watercourses and a small area of woodlands along the eastern property line.

The proposed development has been scaled back from the initial application submission in 2020. The owner is now proposing a single draft plan of subdivision, consisting of 76 residential lots, a commercial block, a temporary stormwater management block, a parkland block, three municipal roads, an easement block and reserve blocks.

The 76 residential lots are proposed to be comprised of 61 single-detached lots and 15 lots for semi-detached dwellings (total of 30 semi-detached dwelling units).

The proposed official plan amendment was to change a portion of the existing residential land use designation to highway commercial, to match the location of the proposed commercial block. A small portion of the existing highway commercial designation was proposed to be amended to a residential designation to ensure that the entirety of Lot 1 is designated residential.

The proposed amendment also requested the creation of a special exception area for the proposed subdivision to establish 76 as the approximate number of residential lots.

The United Counties of Leeds and Grenville is the approval authority for official plan amendments and plans of subdivision, while the township is the approval authority for the zoning bylaw amendment.

During last week’s council meeting, it was noted by staff that construction could begin next year.

(Keith Dempsey is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Brockville Recorder and Times. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.)

Keith Dempsey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brockville Recorder and Times