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Tuesday, May 28, 2024
Virgil residents voice concern over next phase of Konik Estates
Ken Burr expressed concerns he and other Virgil residents share about a proposed phase 2 of Konik Estates. Richard Hutton

Some residents in Virgil are worried about the impact to their neighbourhood if phase 2 of the Konik Estates project goes ahead, town politicians heard at a public meeting April 9.

The public meeting was held as a part of the regular committee-of-the-whole meeting that deals with planning matters.

The proposed development — located north of Line 2 Road and east of Concession 6 Road — includes 52 single, detached homes along with 102 block townhouses and six street townhomes. The latter would face onto Line 2 Road.

The developer is seeking amendments to the town’s zoning bylaw “to address lot frontage, lot area, coverage, setbacks, widths of garage doors and encroachments,” senior town planner Aimee Alderman said in presenting the plan to town politicians.

The project is within the town’s urban boundary, she added. Surrounding land is already used for single-family homes. 

At a March 18 open house, residents living near the site of the proposed subdivision had a number of concerns including speeding on and access to Line 2 Road, parking, tree removal, sidewalks, infrastructure and the need for a park.

Alderman said the town is continuing to accept comments from residents and judging by a stream of residents speaking to the issue at the meeting, there is plenty of feedback to come.

Riesling Road resident Ken Burr said he was speaking for an association of residents in the area and “we are saddened by the loss of trees” on Line 2 Road.

“We have enjoyed their beauty and their windbreak and the bird life,” he said. “Right now, we are seeing significant bird life in that area — bird nesting.”

Residents want another study done to determine the impact of removing trees, he said.

“I realize that the environmental constraints assessment reported that there were no identified natural heritage constraints for the property but we’d just like to make sure the birds have a place to go.”

Burr added: “I think it would be quite a surprise for the new homeowners next spring to have 1,000 birds land on their property to nest.”

He was encouraged, however, that homes bordering existing properties in the area would be single-family dwellings.

“That fits in with what we have on our homes,” he said. 

Frontier Drive resident Neil Boyer said the proposal “has generated many discussions between the neighbours” and that concerns centre around construction equipment that will enter the site during the building phase and the increased traffic the development will bring.

“The third and probably most discussed concern is the complete removal of over 800 trees from the property.”

He noted that while the report on the proposal indicated there was “no significant impact,” the removal of trees is always a much-debated topic.

The loss of trees was a concern for James Webber.

“I was interested to hear the representative of the developer say that it was not a significant wildlife habitat,” he said. “I suggest it is to the wildlife that lives there.”

Coun. Wendy Cheropita, meanwhile, wondered about parkland and asked Alderman why only cash in lieu of parkland was being offered by the developer.

“Can we request that accommodation be provided for parkland in that subdivision?” she said.

Alderman said staff were “happy to consider all feedback provided” on the matter.

“Parks and recreation staff did review the proposal and noted that expansion of Homestead Park in the surrounding area is anticipated,” she told Cheropita.

William Heikoop, a planner with Upper Canada Consultants, who spoke on behalf of the developer Great Forest Homes, told the meeting that current infrastructure in the area was sufficient “to handle the additional traffic from this development.”

The developer has “been active in Niagara-on-the-Lake for quite a number of years” and has done high-quality work, he said.

The decision by councillors is only one step in the planning process. It will return to council at a later date when staff compile a recommendation report on the project.

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