Fort Erie councillors approve two Ridge Road development proposals

Several times over the past few months as various residential development proposals came before Fort Erie council, some councillors would repeat variations of a similar question: Why not an apartment building?

They got their wish on Monday, May 27, though not without facing some headwinds in the form of neighbourhood opposition, approving a development proposal for 436-440 Ridge Road North that includes a four-storey apartment building.

“If we turn this down, we’re saying the complete opposite of what we have so said in the past,” said Councillor Nick Dubanow, imploring his fellow councillors to think of the needs of the entire community and the data that backs that up before a recorded vote on the staff report for the property.

The vote saw Councillors Ann-Marie Noyes and Darren Flagg vote against the proposal, with Dubanow, Joan Christensen and George McDermott voting in favour. Mayor Wayne Redekop also voted in favour, while Tom Lewis was absent on Monday.

Dubanow was successful in getting two amendments passed, one to implement a three-year sunset clause on the approval of the zoning bylaw and official plan amendments, and the second to have the site plan return to council although it’s typically handled by staff.

In voicing her concerns about the proposal, Noyes questioned the potential loss of trees on site. She also asked for more information regarding possible soil contamination and a proposed retaining wall.

The proposal sees a four-storey, 80-unit apartment built on the property, as well as 10 townhouse units. As requested by council at a public meeting held earlier this spring, the developers reduced the size of the apartment by one storey and 11 units, and also changed a planned 12 semi-detached units to the 10 townhouse units.

Another 12 residential units will be found as part of a three-storey mixed-use building, which remains unchanged from the public meeting.

Dubanow said he was looking for three things coming out of that public meeting: No more than four storeys, meeting the density requirements, and meeting the parking requirements.

“The developer at the time met all of them and then some,” he said.

Technically, the density is over 75 units per hectare at 75.4, though staff said they would normally round down but wanted to be fully transparent.

The approval comes with a holding provision that requires a species at risk habitat assessment be completed, with respect to the red-headed woodpecker.

This wasn’t the only Ridge Road development up for discussion Monday night. Councillors also approved a recommendation report on a development for 576 Ridge Road North. It includes 49 lots for single-detached units fronting on Prospect Point Road North, and a roughly 69-unit condo build. The condo build still needs to be finalized and will come before council later.

Noyes said it was unfortunate they don’t know the plans for the rest of that site, and also expressed concerns about the overall amount of development going on in the area.

Redekop was able to get two amendments passed on the project. The first requires a sidewalk be built on Prospect Point Road and the second will see council seek parkland dedication by the stormwater management pond instead of cash in lieu.

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