Rezoning for $33M development nixed

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A proposed $33million townhouse development in Petrolia has hit a road block.

Town council has turned down the bid by Baker Build and Design to rezone a 10 acre parcel of land between Third, Fourth and Kentail St. to allow a 66-unit townhouse development to move ahead at the May 24 council meeting.

The builder hoped to build town houses which were between 1,400 and 2,000 square feet and sell them at a cost of about $500,000.

During a zoning hearing earlier in the month, neighbours voiced concerns about a wall of two-storey town homes in the predominantly single storey home neighbourhood. Many, including Alison Mavis, said they checked with real estate agents before buying to make sure the area around their homes would also be single family homes.

Their main concern at the rezoning hearing was the poor drainage in the area which led to standing water in most yards, damaging fences, decks and lawns.

When council reviewed the rezoning application for the development – which is called Petrolia Sky Estates – May 24, the neighbours returned. They were expecting answers from town employees about who would deal with the drainage problems, but Mavis said they had not received them.

“What happens if this massive development causes issues to current homeowner,” she asked councillors.

“Who do we turn to? Who is responsible?”

During the pandemic, BM Ross and Associates looked at the area and determined it was in need of major repairs because of constant flooding in the area. Mavis voiced concern that study was completed when it was expected the neighbourhood would continue to be single family homes. She wanted to see the planners take another look at the study, and take the proposed town houses into consideration.

Councillor Marty Souch asked if it was possible for BM Ross to take a second look. “Those questions should be answered before we make a decision” he says. Councillor Grant Purdy agreed. “The drainage is an important issue I know it is really bad there. If we pass this right now, it does pave the way for things to go through.”

But town staff said if the zoning were changed, the builder would still have to come up with a drainage plan which would be approved by council.

Mayor Brad Loosley said he hoped the reconstruction of the streets in the area this summer should help the situation.

But three of the five councillors at the table didn’t want to take the chance. Souch, Purdy and Don Welten all voted to deny the rezoning with Councillors Wade Deighton and Ross O’Hara in favour. Councillor Joel Field was absent Mayor Brad Loosley only votes to break a tie.