Wellington North council has deferred a decision on a proposed Mount Forest apartment building to a future meeting.
The two-storey 32-unit building proposed at 773 Princess St. would have a mix of one and two bedroom rentals. A zoning change from medium-density to high-density residential is required to facilitate its construction on a 1.6 acre vacant lot in an existing residential area.
“A really key consideration of this proposal is that it is intended to provide rental housing which is really lacking in the area,” Andrea Sinclair, a planner working on behalf of the applicant, Archcon Group Inc. told the meeting. “We do think there really is a need for attainable rental housing in Mount Forest.”
Sinclair said the developer had made changes to the project’s initial plan to address comments from residents, including increasing the side yard setback between the apartment building and residences on Jeremy’s Crescent from 10 to 20 feet. The company is also willing to install a privacy fence around the perimeter of the property, she said.
Mayor Andy Lennox opened the floor to comments from the public by saying although a zoning amendment bylaw was part of Monday’s council agenda, councillors would not be voting on it that night.
“That will give time for staff and the applicants to work through some of the issues that may come out of tonight’s public meeting to refine the proposal and get it to hopefully an acceptable state,” Lennox said.
Among the five residents who spoke against the proposal, safety issues related to increased traffic on Princess Street, which does not have sidewalks, and loss of privacy were prominent concerns.
Gianni Accettola welcomed the larger setback, but said it didn’t change the fact the two-story apartment building would “tower over” existing homes in the area.
“You can’t build a fence high enough to protect your privacy,” he said. "And that just poses another eyesore."
“If you stand in the middle of the property and do a 365 degree turn, you will not see any two story buildings,” fellow resident Penny Ranken said. “It will detract from the look of the neighbourhood.”
Following the public meeting, council unanimously voted to defer the decision on the proposed zoning change to a future meeting.
Alison Sandstrom, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com