Camden Terrace Gets OMB Lifeline

  • 10/12/16
  • |          London

A proposed $300-million project that would be the largest residential development in downtown London has hit another stumbling block.

The project by Rygar Properties Inc. that would replace 140-year-old Victorian rowhouses on Talbot Street with residential towers of 29 and 38 floors and a nine-storey building is being appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board.

“It’s very frustrating,” John Rodgers, principal at Rygar, said Tuesday. “We worked with the city to come to an agreement on this development. We worked hard to try to not go to the OMB, but here we are, going anyway.”

Rygar is still committed to the project, he said.

The development proposal has had a bumpy ride at city hall. Early last month, city council’s planning and environment committee voted to send the company’s application back to staff for more study.

The committee wasn’t satisfied with the company’s plan to incorporate the facades of the rowhouses, known as Camden Terrace, in the development on Talbot between Fullarton Street and Dufferin Avenue. Heritage activists also urged politicians to save the rowhouses.

But council voted Sept. 13 to approve the project that would add more than 700 residential units. The public has 20 days to file an appeal to the OMB after the city council decision.

The city received notice of the OMB application Friday, said Michael Tomazincic, a manager in the city’s planning division.

The city doesn’t know who filed the appeal or on what grounds. That information can’t be released until the 20 days have expired.

“We were supportive of the proposal,” Tomazincic said. “It is consistent with local and provincial policies and it is a good fit, good use, in the area.”

Tomazincic praised Rygar’s plan to preserve the facades of the row houses in the lobby of the nine-­storey building that would be flanked on either side by towers.

Rygar’s project architect has said preserving the row houses would be too costly because the soil beneath them is contaminated. Tuesday, council paved the way for demolition, rejecting a bid by councillors Stephen Turner and Jesse Helmer to have the townhouses designated as historically significant.

It could be six months to a year before OMB hears the matter and gives a decision, Tomazcincic said.

Another major core residential development also is before the OMB. A proposal by Middlesex County to build a $100-million, 30-storey residential highrise at 50 King St. faces opposition from neighbours.

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