Neighbours oppose 'greedy' plan to build Hamilton's 3 tallest buildings in Stoney Creek

Neighbours along the Stoney Creek shore are getting increasingly anxious over three planned condo towers that would be the tallest buildings in Hamilton.

A New Horizon plan would see 3 buildings, 2 about as tall as Mississauga's Absolute World towers

On the left: an artist rendering of the planned towers. On the right: a sketch in the planning document that shows their height. (City of Hamilton)

Neighbours along the Stoney Creek shore are getting increasingly anxious about a plan that would see Hamilton's three tallest buildings tower over their backyards.

New Horizon Development Group plans three high-rises at 310 Frances Ave. — one 48, one 54 and one 59 storeys. The latter two would be roughly the same height as the curvy Absolute World buildings in Mississauga.

The development still has to go through site plan approval, which impacts everything from building heights to how far it's set back from the road. But it's on a property with no height restriction set out in the city's zoning bylaw, and residents say the area doesn't have enough transit or road capacity to handle it.

"I beg you, please reconsider all aspects of this development," said Mark Victor, one of seven residents who called or wrote to city council's planning committee Tuesday. "I'm not opposed to the development. I'm opposed to the format that it's in right now." 

The towers would bring 1,826 residential units, and a population of about 2,500 people on a residential cul-de-sac. The only transit in the area is HSR trans cab. 

The plan also includes a four-storey podium that would connect the three buildings, and about 400 square metres of commercial space.

The proposed towers are roughly the same height as the Absolute World towers in Mississauga. (Shutterstock)

Dan van den Beukel, a resident of Ward 10 (lower Stoney Creek), says the city should freeze the application and change the maximum building height to five storeys.

"As a councillor, ask yourself, 'Would I want a tower next to my home?'" van den Beukel said in a letter.

Any structure taller than five storeys is "vastly inappropriate, greedy, over-indulgent and disrespectful to the community, the environment and neighbours."

The property is an anomaly in that it's one of the few in Hamilton without a height restriction. Buildings in downtown Hamilton, by comparison, can't be taller than the Niagara Escarpment. In most places, that's about 30 storeys.

Never imagined something this tall

Whatever happens next, it will be up to senior planning staff. They have what's called "delegated authority" — the ability to approve site plan applications without city council voting on them. This was implemented to streamline the development process, said Steve Robichaud, the city's director of planning.

But the site plan process will address everything neighbours are worried about, said Jason Thorne, general manager of planning and economic development. 

"We'll be looking at traffic," he said. "We'll be looking at parking. We'll be looking at servicing issues. We'll be looking at open space and landscaping."

Coun. Maria Pearson of Ward 10 asked for a report back on future steps, what's happened so far and what happens next. "This isn't the end of the process," she told residents. "It's the beginning of one."

"We always anticipated there was going to be something taller here," she said. "Did I ever imagine this? Absolutely not."

About the Author

Samantha Craggs is a CBC News reporter based in Hamilton, Ont. She has a particular interest in politics and social justice stories, and tweets live from Hamilton city hall. Follow her on Twitter at @SamCraggsCBC, or email her at samantha.craggs@cbc.ca


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