Peter Bakker has been working on a plan to build townhouses in Petrolia for over three years and he’s not ready to give up yet.
The head of the family run Bakker Design and Build based in Watford recently came to Petrolia council to have a 10 acre plot of land in the area of Third, Fourth and Kentail Streets rezoned to allow up to 66 townhouses. But neighbours in the single family neighbourhood voiced concerns about the poor drainage in the area and a “wall of townhouses” in their backyard.
Council backed the neighbours, turning down the $33 million development by a vote of three to two with Councillor Joel Field absent.
On July 7, Bakker will ask for the rezoning again. This time the development asks for most of the land to be for townhomes, however it also plans four semi-detached units and two single family lots with smaller than normal front yards.
Bakker was disappointed council turned down the first proposal for rezoning.
“We were just looking for rezoning so we could finish off our process for the draft plan approval with all the you know, all the engineering required for drainage for sewers, for water – the complete design setup,” he says.
“I’m just concerned they (council) are not voting on what we’re actually applying for, rather than an issue that would be addressed when the complete development gets site plan approval.”
Bakker adds both the town and government bodies like the Ministry of the Environment and the St. Clair Region Conservation Authority have to be satisfied there was a plan to deal with the water on the site.
“We wouldn’t even be able to get shovel in the ground until we have approval that all the water, all the drainage, all the stormwater management system is flowing in the direction.”
Bakker has owned the property for three and half years and has been working with the town as it tries to deal with the water problems in the area. “We’ve helped out with that design process, to try to incorporate everything.”
After years of work, Bakker says the development should have been started already. He’s hoping he’ll get the zoning approval to move the project forward this summer.