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Niagara Falls
Wednesday, April 17, 2024
Resident urges people to attend meeting onParliament Oak development

Alan Gordon wants everyone who cares about the future of the former Parliament Oak school site to take part in a public meeting on Nov. 8.

A resident of Regent Street, near the old school, Gordon has concerns about the proposed development for the site.

Gordon, who also spoke at the initial open house for the project earlier this year, said he's gone through both of the town's official plans — one that's current and one that's awaiting approval from Niagara Region — and said he's found some major discrepancies between those official plans and the developer's planning justification report.

“(The report) makes many references to the official plans, as to what justifies their application. I went through the same official plans and came up with a number of areas where they substantially contravene the official plans,” Gordon told The Lake Report.

Details about the Nov. 8 meeting are on the town's website at notl.civicweb.net/document/21408.

Gordon said he has been going door to door, handing out information to nearby residents about the concerns he's identified.

Among the issues, he said, are that the site is not a location designated for intensification and that the proposed density is almost double what is allowed in an area that is designated for intensification.

As well, there will be 177 parking spaces with direct access onto Centre and Gage streets.

He also said the building height will be more than 40 feet above Gage Street, or about the equivalent of a four-storey building.

In addition, a mechanical penthouse on top which will make the structure more than 50 feet high in total — even though the town's official plan states building heights in Old Town are not to exceed 10 metres (about 33 feet).

He said the height, mass, scale and architecture do not “achieve a harmonious design and integrate with the surrounding area and not negatively impact lower density residential uses,” as the town's official plans require.

“That's lifted right out of the official plan … and this building is not even close to anything like that,” Gordon said.

In a letter to residents, he warns, “The character and future of this town are at stake,” if such a large development is approved.

Gordon said he wants people to be aware, so they can voice their objections or support for the development.

“I just want people to attend the public meeting,” he said. “I will expand upon this substantially and I will go through every single point.”

The main concern of residents he's spoken with is the size of the development, pointing out that most infill developments are two-storey houses.

“I think people were anticipating some form of development like that here. Well, this isn't that. It's an apartment building — an 80-unit apartment building. There isn't one that exists anywhere in Niagara-on-the-Lake. It just doesn't exist.”

“Not only that, and this is where I'm having problems with the developer — they state throughout their application that this building is 11 metres tall. And it isn't,” he said.

The town's zoning bylaw and official plan define how you measure the height of the building, he said.

“Using the town's definition, that building isn't 11 metres, it's 12.45 metres. Using the applicant's own drawings above Gage Street, and I put a dimension there, it's 13.1 metres. The difference between 11 metres and 13 metres, or 13.1 meters, is almost seven feet.”

“Whether they're for it or they don't care or whatever,” he said he wants residents to know what is being planned.

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