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20 acres. A 142-unit townhouse proposal. Plenty of unhappy neighbours

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Plans to build a 142-unit townhouse development in northeast London has riled neighbours who are now pledging a fight – the city’s latest clash over higher-density housing proposals.

The lot at 613 Superior Dr., near Adelaide Street and Sunningdale Road, is a 3.4-hectare (8.4-acre) site zoned for a school or 49 single-family homes. It may, however, become home to 28 two-storey townhouse buildings that will include 142 units if politicians approve the proposal going to city council’s planning committee next week.

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“Its ludicrous. There’s now one road that goes into that development and it’s already full of traffic,” said Kristin Ladd, whose home backs on to the site. “It’s unbelievable they want to put 142 units inside a subdivision.”

This rendering shows some of the townhouses proposed along Superior Drive in northeast London

Ladd and other neighbours have met with city staff and Ward 5 Coun. Jerry Pribil to discuss the development by Ironstone Building Co. She’s written a letter to politicians opposing the scale of the project.

“We were all completely shocked to see the rezoning request for 142 townhomes,” the letter reads. “We oppose such a large number of units when the infrastructure has proven that it cannot handle the current capacity.”

Her letter also cited the safety of neighbourhood children.

Ladd said opponents of the plan want it scaled back to about 75 units.

Pribil supports the development but wants to see improvement to the roads around the site before he will vote to support it, he said. Now, there’s just one access road, Canvas Way, to Superior Drive. He wants to see Superior extended to Adelaide Street.

“I’m very much for this development. I support infill and we need the units, but we have to have infrastructure in place,” Pribil said. “If there was an accident, could emergency vehicles get in and out? As a city we need to address this as soon as possible. We have to have a plan in place.”

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The site is a highly coveted infill area, exactly where the city wants to build, said Ward 8 Coun. Steve Lehman, chair of council’s planning committee.

“It’s a massive area of land surrounded by neighbourhoods. I understand concerns about traffic and loss of green space. I will listen, but we have to balance that with housing needs,” Lehman said. “I’m sure it will be a robust discussion.”

In January, city hall sent alerted 137 nearby owners and residents to the proposal and received 60 responses. Much of those responses mirrored Ladd’s, expressing concern over lower property values, not enough infrastructure, traffic and safety. But city staff recommends approval of the development.

Council’s planning committee on Tuesday will consider proposals for more than 700 new units across the city. In addition to Ironstone’s 142 units, it will debate:

  • A 13-storey, 126-unit residential development at 192-196 Central Ave. near Richmond Row
  • A three- to four-storey, 78-unit stacked and cluster townhouse plan at 900 Jalna Blvd. in White Oaks
  • A 120-unit, 12-storey apartment at 3010-3050 Yorkville St., near Startech.ca (Bostwick) arena
  • Two six-storey apartment buildings, a five-storey apartment building, eight three-storey back-to-back townhouse buildings and two three-storey townhouse buildings, for a total of 248 units, at 460 Asher Cr., at the city’s eastern edge near City Wide Sports Park.

City council’s push to meet Queen’s Park-set targets for new home construction – the city is expected to build 47,000 by 2031 – will create more conflicts between existing homeowners and planned high-density projects. For example, neighbours are already set to fight a 28-unit townhouse proposal among high-end houses at 634 Commissioners Rd. W. that hasn’t even been considered yet by politicians.

ndebono@postmedia.com

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