Stacked gets attacked; Fort Erie councillors question townhouse proposal

Fort Erie councillors weren’t shy in sharing their opposition to a stacked townhouse development proposed for Garrison Road.

While no decisions were made at the public meeting, town politicians around the horseshoe voiced their displeasure with the plan brought forward for 1127 Garrison Road, which would see 90 total units built in a combination of stacked townhouses and a mixed-use building.

“This is one that caught my eye and not in a good way,” said Councillor George McDermott, echoing a common sentiment.

Councillor Joan Christensen was even more blunt. “I have grave reservations,” she said. “The proposal is ugly.”

Following a presentation by consultants Aaron Butler and Asawari Modak from NPG Planning Solutions Inc., councillors expressed concern with the overall design, parking, a lack of common green space, and questioned just who would want to live there.

The consultants argued otherwise.

“It does represent good land use planning practice and serves the public interest,” said Butler.

The proposal would see a three-storey mixed use building on the north part of the lands, with 340 square metres of commercial space on the ground floor and 10 residential units on two upper floors.

The bulk of the residential space would be found in three blocks of three-storey stacked townhouses to the south of the property. They would contain a total of 80 units. Unit sizes would range from 540 to 850 square feet, said Modak.

Under the plan, there would be 131 parking spots, falling 11 short of the required 142.

Several councillors asked why the developers opted for stacked townhouses, expressing a preference for apartments on the site.

“This is a perfect opportunity to go higher, go bigger,” said Councillor Nick Dubanow. “I’m not entirely against the idea of stacked townhomes as long as it’s a good plan that makes sense.”

However, Butler said stacked townhomes are being built elsewhere in the region, and suggested less common space could appeal to some potential residents since it would result in lower condo fees.

Responding to questions about affordability, Butler said he couldn’t speculate on what price range the units would fall into.

Butler did say that TrinityStar Aquila Inc., the owners, have been working to address some concerns regarding capacity at the nearby pumping station.

“They’re attempting to install weather monitoring devices to give the town and region some additional data,” he said. “The client has been actively working with the Region and Town for a resolution on the issue.”

Staff said they will try to meet with the developers to discuss ways to make the development more palatable.

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