By Dianne Cornish
Drainage and increased traffic on Dundas Street were the two major concerns voiced last Wednesday at a neigbourhood information meeting focusing on development plans for the Bohemian site. Burlington builder, Branthaven Development Corp, plans to build 66 townhouse units, most of them three storeys tall, at 215 Dundas St. East, the site of the former banquet hall, demolished last fall to make way for development.
Representatives of the builder, their consultants and City of Hamilton staff were on hand at Knox Presbyterian Church, Waterdown, to field questions from neighbouring residents at the meeting, arranged by Ward 15 councillor Judi Partridge. Residents heard at the outset that the development application hasn’t been approved by the city and that it is still in its preliminary stage and likely to change before given final approval.
“Any additional water coming in would be a big problem,” a Culotta Drive resident whose property backs onto the Bohemian site told developers, after another neighbouring resident noted that the area already has significant drainage problems. “There’s a Lake Bohemia there every time it rains,” she protested of the site, which drains from south to north.
The runoff has rendered five backyards on the street “unusable,” the Culotta Drive resident said.
Paul Brown of Urbantech West Consulting, hired by Branthaven to look after grading and servicing of the site, said he knows of the current drainage problems and is working on a detailed storm water management report that is required at the project’s detailed design stage. “We will be matching existing grades on the perimeters of the site,” he told the crowd of about 20 residents at the meeting.
Much of the discussion focused on an easement on the west side of the Bohemian property: one man asked if there would be any grade changes on that part of the site; Brown replied that he would be looking at the hydraulics to determine flows in that area.
During a discussion about proposed drainage systems to prevent runoff, a neighbouring resident suggested that a catchment wouldn’t be enough to contain storm water, but Brown explained that an outlet pipe will be installed in the northwest corner of the property and runoff will be released in a regulated manner through the drainage system. “We cannot increase flooding issues on your property,” he declared.
With no traffic lights or turn lanes currently proposed for the site, which will have one access point directly across from Goldenview Court, a couple of residents voiced concern about increased traffic along Dundas Street (Hwy. 5). “That highway is (makes it) like Dodge City living in this town,” said one man, who complained that many motorists heading westward are travelling well over the posted speed limit by the time they reach Perrilli Street. He said the volume of traffic has also grown with the commercial development at Clappison’s Corners and will grow even more when the new library is built.
Land use planner James Webb assured residents that traffic patterns in the area “will be thoroughly reviewed” during the planning process.
One woman asked about plans for the neighbouring commercial site, just east of the Bohemian property. Partridge said nothing specific has been proposed for the property, although it is zoned commercial and an application for demolition has been received by the city. When plans become more definite, she hopes to host a public meeting to keep residents informed of plans for the site, she said, but also noted that because the property is zoned commercial and that is its proposed use, the developer is not obligated to hold a public meeting.
Webb said the site for the Branthaven development is currently zoned commercial and will require a zoning bylaw change and Official Plan amendment from the city before the project can proceed. The rezoning and OPA applications were submitted to the city in December 2012.
Responding to questions about the timeline for the project, Sean Wadsworth, a project manager for Branthaven, said the company hopes to begin servicing the property, which is just under three acres, next spring. It will take about 18 months to build the units, which will consist of eight blocks, including 13 two-storey standard townhouses. The remaining units will be three storeys and will include 22 back to backs, 15 towns at the back of the property and 16 street fronting towns.
Branthaven’s project coordinator Jason Mosdell said a six-foot privacy fence will be installed along the site’s perimeter, each unit will have a garage and driveway, and visitor parking will also be available. “We will do our best to keep trees,” he said.
Mosdell offered to meet with residents, individually, to discuss any concerns they have about the project.
Partridge reminded residents that development plans are still at the early stage and advised them to watch the information board on the site for notice of the upcoming planning committee meeting, where the project will be discussed by city councillors and residents will have another opportunity to provide input.
She expects the meeting to be held within the next couple of months. The planning session’s date must be posted on the development site at least 17 days before the meeting.