Proposed 300-unit Charlottetown housing development passes 1st reading
'It opens a lot of opportunity to provide some new housing'
A housing development that could bring more than 300 units to a vacant property between the Charlottetown Mall and Mount Edward Road is a step closer to breaking ground.
First reading for rezoning the property for the development called Sherwood Crossing passed 7-3 at the Charlottetown city council meeting Monday night. The proposal would see the area changed from low-density residential to a comprehensive development area.
The plan for Sherwood Crossing includes two five-storey apartment buildings containing 88 units, a five-storey apartment building containing 78 units, a four-storey apartment building containing 60 affordable housing units, seven townhouses containing 36 units and a commercial building that will be home to a medical centre.
The resolution passed but there were some conditions. The development cannot conflict with the city's traffic master plan, which has yet been released.
The master traffic plan is for the entire Charlottetown area and not just for the area near Towers Road, said Coun. Mike Duffy, chair of the planning committee. He said council did consider the plan in relation to the development.
"It was determined that there was no detrimental effect that traffic flow would have on that particular area," Duffy said.
If the development ends up not fitting the traffic master plan council will look at the project again.
Coun. Mitchell Tweel attempted to defer the decision to a later date in order to have the traffic plan in place before voting on the development — and have another public meeting for residents to voice concerns.
Charlottetown Mayor Philip Brown deemed that request out of order during the council meeting.
There was a public meeting about the development in August. Residents were concerned about increased traffic in the area. Particularly at the end of Towers Road where there is a four way stop connecting to the mall.
"There are many concerned residents in that area that are very worried about this size of development," said Coun. Bob Doiron, who voted against the development.
The development would take up about six hectares of land.
"I think our area in Ward 6 is getting over developed," Doiron said.
"With a big development like this, you know, there is lots of worry about traffic and who can get in and out safely."
If Tweel was allowed to continue with his request to defer the vote, Doiron said he would have seconded the motion.
Local resident Barbara Dylla was at the council meeting, and said she is still concerned about traffic congestion in the area with new developments.
"I'm disappointed by the number of councillors that did vote for the application," she said.
She along with other residents also wrote letters asking city council to reject the proposal.
But APM CEO Tim Banks, Sherwood Crossing's developer, was excited by the approval.
"It's a great project for the city and it opens a lot of opportunity to provide some new housing stock for the city," said Banks.
A traffic study requested by APM showed the development wouldn't impact traffic, but the city asked for some alterations to allow for entrances for things such as emergency vehicles and those were added to the plan, Banks said.
"It's a good opportunity for the residents and people in the area," Banks said.
Banks said he has been trying to get the project started for 13 months. Now it looks like he may be able to break ground in the spring, he said, if the resolution makes it through the next two rounds of readings.
As for the project having to fall in line with the master traffic plan, Banks isn't worried.
"There will be nothing in there that will surprise us," he said.