Rise in student housing concerns homeowners near Conestoga College

A new townhouse development near Conestoga College has neighbours worried it may eventually turn into student housing.

'We want more families in the area, we don't want boarding houses'

Proposed concept for a future development in the Doon Valley Drive area. (City of Kitchener)

Residents in Kitchener's Doon Valley Drive area want to make sure the development of an empty parcel of land in their neighbourhood is for families and not college students.

Over the last couple of years, the Lower Doon area has seen significant increase of homes being bought and transformed to accommodate student living, which many in the community feel it has degraded the area.

Many in the community voiced their concerns during a neighbourhood information meeting held after the developer, Cook Homes, asked for a zone change on its property between Pinnacle Drive and Doon Valley Drive to allow it to build 75 two-storey townhomes.

"We want more families in the area, we don't want boarding houses," Daryl Howes-Jones, one of the many residents present at that meeting, told CBC K-W's The Morning Edition.

"This is really our only hope to change the community around."
Resident worry that the future of a townhouse development will eventually turn into more student housing for those attending Conestoga College. (City of Kitchener)

Possible solution

Though many are in favour of the proposed residential development, some worry that over time, those townhouses will eventually convert into student housing.

However, Garett Stevenson, a development planner with the City of Kitchener who is overseeing the proposal, said the city could look at ways to prohibit lodging houses. A lodging house is a type of housing that is regulated in the zoning bylaw which is a dwelling unit that contains four or more people rent a portion.

We want more families in the area, we don't want boarding houses.- Daryl Howes-Jones, Lower Doon resident

There is some proof the future of the proposed development in the Doon Valley Drive area may not transition into student housing.

Stevenson said there are two condominium developments that were built in the area that were not marketed for students that have been successful in staying residential.  

"There is no reason to believe that a market built condominium project here wouldn't follow the same path," he said.

Howes-Jones is also shares that view.

"[Cook Homes's] commitment is to build a single-family residence and he wants to sell them on that point of view," he said. "I think he will stand by his word."


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