4853 Thomas Alton Boulevard refused

I want to thank the hundreds of residents who have participated in meetings about this proposal as well as those who have sent me written correspondence regarding Official Plan and Zoning By-law Amendment Applications for 4853 Thomas Alton Boulevard.  As I have previously stated I was not in support of this development and I appreciated all your emails, phone calls and comments.  Please know that these comments were provided to Council, even the last minute comments submitted that were in the delegation package or by email. Staff report regarding Official Plan and Zoning By-law Amendment Applications for 4853 Thomas Alton Boulevard (PB-100-16) was considered at the Development and Infrastructure Committee on December 13, 2016.  After much debate I brought forward a motion to refuse the development.  However I want to disclose that this was a difficult decision because the developer had made many improvements to the development including:
  • A reduction in 79 units
  • A reduction in the maximum density from 335 units per hectare to 305 units per hectare
  • A reduction in the floor area ratio (far) from 2.54:1 to 2.5:1
  • A reduction in the number of vehicle parking spaces from 832 to 759 (1,059 spaces are required by the zoning by-law)
  • The realignment of the podium of the north building (street wall), fronting on palladium way, to respond to the curvature of palladium way
  • A reduction in the tower floor plates to less than 750 m2
  • A reduction in the maximum length of the tower walls from 40 m to 35 m
  • An increase in the minimum separation distance between towers from 21.5 m to 28.5 m
  • The introduction of tower step backs with a minimum step back distance of 3 m
  • The integration of an underground parking ramp within the apartment building
  • A reduction of the number of underground parking levels within the apartment building from 4 levels to 3 levels
  • The replacement of an internal block of stacked townhouse units with a surface parking lot, including highly-visible accessible, visitor and carshare parking spaces
  • An increase in the size of the shared private outdoor amenity area (common open space) from 1,700 m 2 to 1,875.8 m2 and adding additional visitor parking spaces at grade adjacent to the traditional townhouses
  • An increase in minimum amenity area to 17 m2 per dwelling unit
  • Additional changes and modifications have been made to the site layout including the internal circulation, and interconnection of the underground parking garages, which will contribute to a better functioning site
  • Enlargement of green space area
  • Exit and entrance on palladium way to ease congestion on Thomas Alton.
I also felt that the new proposal was much better for the residents who surround this development because of the transitioning factors of the town homes.  The original zoning allows for 10 storey buildings, and when I put myself in their shoes, thinking of a 10 storey building looming over my back yard, I cringed.

While I believe that many of these modifications are good for the Alton community, I had hoped and expected the applicant to reduce the tower height, but unfortunately this was not the case. In essence, it was the no reduction of height that formed my decision to refuse.

If the development had received approval, staff were also recommending the following community benefits as part of Section 37 of the Planning Act:

  • The applicant agrees to construct and the future condominium corporation will maintain a surface outdoor amenity space on the subject lands. These open space lands will be developed to a high standard and public access will be assured by way of an easement to be registered on title of the lands allowing public access to and use of this park space. This amenity space will be subject to a Landscape Plan and lighting review at the site plan approval stage. This indirect community benefit has been assessed at a value of $519,800.00.
  • The applicant agrees to provide 20 residential dwelling units at a cost of $35,000 below market rate (approximately $262,000.00) to a housing provider (such as but not limited to Region of Halton Housing, Habitat for Humanity, etc.) for the purposes of delivering affordable housing on a long term basis. This indirect community benefit has been assessed at a value of $700,000.00.
  • The applicant agrees to provide a direct community benefit valued at $60,000.00 towards improvements at Doug Wright Park, located in close proximity to the subject lands. It is anticipated that these funds will be spent on the creation of a community garden. The City agrees to erect signage acknowledging financial contributions were made by ADI Developments Inc. by the community garden facility.
  • The City will also receive a $60,000.00 financial contribution to be placed into a specific reserve fund for Doug Wright Park on Palladium Way. It is anticipated that these funds will be spent on improvements to Doug Wright Park within 5 years of receipt to allow sufficient timing for park planning, procurement, and installation of agreed upon items.
With refusal of the development these community benefits would no longer apply.

What are the next steps?

The recommendation to refuse the development will go to Council for final approval on Monday Dec. 19th.

Will this be the end?

It’s never over till it’s over and under the Planning Act the developer has the right to appeal Councils decision. This is a risk as this means someone else not from our community would be making a decision about this development and the developer could change the proposal and ask for more density.  I would also like to point out that our professional planning staff were in support of this new proposal, this in itself would make a defense difficult for Council at the OMB.

One good outcome of this planning event is that staff have agreed to review the traffic concerns in Alton.  This will help to address traffic in a more robust fashion and I expect a plan for traffic calming and improved traffic flow will result.

Again, I can’t thank residents enough for taking the time and effort to become involved in this process.

One Comment on “4853 Thomas Alton Boulevard refused”

  1. Thank you very much Councillor Blair and all your staff… our hard work of educating the community and all the e-mails and online petitions have paid off. But work is not completed yet…. lets all make Alton Village a great place to live.

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