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'It just does not fit': Mapleview West townhouse project put on hold

Ward councillor says residents have issues with proposed height; 'No one could have predicted an application of this size coming forward'
08-12-2021 407-419MDr.W.
This overhead map shows the site of proposed townhouses on Mapleview Drive West in south-end Barrie.

Barrie councillors pushed the pause button Tuesday night on 46 proposed condo townhouses on Mapleview Drive West in the city's south end.

Sitting as planning committee, councillors sent a motion to rezone 407, 409, 413, 417 and 419 Mapleview Dr. W.  to multiple residential use with variances from single residential  to their Jan. 18 meeting.

The development of 24 back-to-back, stacked townhomes and 22 standard townhomes doesn’t sit well with area residents, said Coun. Gary Harvey, who represents the area.

“One of the big issues that still exists in speaking to the residents is the height of what’s being proposed and how it doesn’t fit with the community in their opinion,” he said. “This application has been very difficult for many of the residents. They’ve invested everything in their homes and some have lived in the area for as long as 32 years.

“No one could have predicted an application of this size coming forward," Harvey added. 

The development is to be 4.5 storeys of stacked, back-to-back townhouses with rooftop terraces along Mapleview and three blocks of three-storey townhomes at the rear, Harvey said.

“It will look out of place compared to the adjacent properties,” he said. “It just does not fit.”

Harvey said this is a residential area of 42 single-detached homes and 24 of them back right onto this property. He also said Mapleview Drive West is not an intensification corridor, or a section of Barrie earmarked for high-density development.

And, the Ward 7 councillor noted, 61 trees have been identified on the property, but only a handful are to be saved on the 1.57-acre site.

“There is no reason for all of these perimeter trees to be destroyed and the policy is to save as many mature trees as possible,” Harvey said.

The development began as an 88-unit project and was reduced to 72, Harvey said, both of which he said were “ridiculously massive” and the 46 units are still far too large in height for this area.

Harvey suggested removing the rooftop terraces, which would cut one storey from the back-to-backs and that the standard townhouses should be two storeys tall, for a total of 40 units.

What’s being proposed doesn’t work on a number of levels, he said.

“This is not building a strong neighbourhood, it is not in line with the Official Plan (which designates land use) nor is it good planning  intensifying an area to that height and density on a non-intensification corridor,” Harvey said.

There are expected to be talks involving developer Encore Group, residents and Harvey before Jan. 18.

The land is located on the south side of Mapleview Drive West, west of the intersection of Essa Road and east of Redfern Avenue.

This proposed development includes garage and surface parking, an internal controlled access private roadway and land for an expanded public walkway to Redfern Park from Mapleview Drive West.

The stacked townhomes would be situated close to Mapleview Drive West, while incorporating design elements to buffer residents from the noise of this arterial roadway. In this way, the streetscape of Mapleview Drive is improved and activated, according to city planning staff, while offering residents of the proposed development private amenity space.

The variances or site-specific provisions would permit a reduced front yard setback and landscaped open space, increased lot coverage, gross floor area and building height for the back-to-back/stacked townhomes, and density of the development.

Ontario’s Planning Act and city regulations require Encore Group to submit a site-plan application before this property is developed. Encore Group is required to provide the city with a comprehensive understanding of the proposed development and its architectural, landscape and engineering details.

Should council approve the rezoning application, planning staff  through delegated authority, may review, approve or deny the site plan.

Bob Bruton

About the Author: Bob Bruton

Bob Bruton is a full-time BarrieToday reporter who covers politics and city hall.
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