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Waterdown townhouse plan raises concerns

By Dianne Cornish, REVIEW STAFF

A proposal from Branthaven Homes to build 45 three-storey townhouse units on the northwest corner of Parkside Drive and Hamilton Street has neighbouring residents worried about increased traffic pressures at an intersection that is already heavily travelled.

A petition signed by 30 residents of Truedell Circle, a residential street in the new subdivision just west of the proposed development, was recently presented to Ward 15 councillor Judi Partridge, who hosted a public meeting about the development last Wednesday. About 30 residents attended the meeting at St. Thomas the Apostle Roman Catholic Church.

Attendees were given an opportunity to ask questions about the townhouse development and voice their concerns about the plan.

The petition indicated residents are opposed to increasing the number of townhouses from 47 to 59 units. But Jason Mosdell, project coordinator for Branthaven Homes, said the density has been decreased from 47 to 45 units and there was never any plan to build 59 units on the site. He explained that some confusion might have arisen from a document previously circulated to area homeowners that mentioned the number of proposed units based on 59 units per hectare. That number, too, has been downgraded to 57 units per hectare, he added.

Partridge scheduled last week’s meeting after learning about the proposal from a Branthaven Homes representative about three weeks ago. “That is a lot of density for an incredibly busy intersection,” she said, adding that traffic and parking are her biggest concerns. Parking will not be permitted on the streets of the new development, putting additional pressure on areas in the neighbourhood where parking is allowed, she said.

Mosdell said Tuesday that each townhouse will have two parking spaces, one in an attached garage and the other in a driveway. In addition, visitors’ parking will be provided.

As far as adding to traffic in the area, he said the development will “minimally add to an existing problem” that is to be alleviated with the widening of Parkside Drive in the area.

Partridge said residents at the meeting wanted to know when Parkside would be widened and when the proposed east-west corridor north of Parkside will be built. Both measures are designed to relieve traffic congestion in the area.

While the City of Hamilton wasn’t planning to widen Parkside Drive to three lanes from Hwy. 6 to Churchill Ave. until 2016, Partridge was successful in getting the project moved up to 2013-2014. Discussion on the east-west corridor is expected to resume this fall, the councillor said.

The petition about the Branthaven Homes proposal was drawn up after Partridge’s office circulated a notice about last week’s meeting. Because some residents were scheduled to be away during the week, an area homeowner created the petition so they had a way to indicate their opposition to the plan.

Partridge said residents were “respectful but very vocal” about their concerns. Some are worried the new development will be linked to their neighbourhood, increasing traffic on their streets, but Mosdell said there is no interest in having the new development access onto Truedell Circle. At the meeting, the project coordinator gave a presentation about the proposal and, along with city planners, fielded questions from residents for over an hour.

Partridge said holding the meeting was a good way not only of garnering public input, but also to show a representative of the developer firsthand what the concerns and challenges are for any development at the busy intersection. She said she plans to hold a public meeting for all developments that have yet to receive site plan approval in Ward 15 since she was elected as councillor.

Early plans for the Branthaven development showed one egress from Hamilton Street and two on Parkside, right across from the Tim Horton’s entrance, but the revised plan shows just two on Parkside.

Mosdell suggested that anyone wanting to get an idea of the styles of townhouses planned for the Waterdown site can visit Branthaven’s Mayfair development at 4240 Fairview St. in Burlington, where back-to-back townhouses exist, or the Millcroft Lane development at 4183 Upper Middle Rd. in Burlington, where standard and rear-lane townhouses can be seen.

Partridge said she plans to keep on top of the Branthaven plan until a resolution satisfactory to neighbouring residents is found. “I will not support anything that doesn’t work for that particular intersection,” she said.

The proposal is expected to come before the city’s planning committee for public comment in December.

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