A townhouse complex approved by councillors this summer has been appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board by a neighbouring development.
At the July 10 meeting of city council, councillors unanimously approved a zoning bylaw amendment for the property at 1131 Gordon St., south of Harts Lane. Under the amendment, developers were given the go-ahead to build an eight-unit townhouse complex. The single detached home on the property is to be torn down to make room for the development.
However, the property’s neighbour is appealing that decision, saying that the removal of trees at 1131 Gordon could have an impact on the residents of 1155 Gordon.
Michael Royston, the property manager of 1155 Gordon, also known as Gordon Gates, says that the close proximity of the proposed development to the existing one was cause for concern.
“The building is very, very close to the property line, which cuts down on the privacy for the people at Gordon Gates,” Royston tells the Mercury Tribune.
Following direction from the board of directors for Gordon Gates, Royston wrote in a letter of objection sent to the city in late July that mature trees between the two properties provide privacy screening for his residents.
“Evergreen trees were planted adjacent to the rear yards of the homes on Harts Lane with the intent of providing natural privacy screens,” Royston wrote in the July 31 letter.
“These trees have matured and all but completely obscure the adjacent houses. While some evergreens were also planted adjacent to 1131, there were already a number of existing mature trees along the fence line and the Gordon Gate plantings were not as dense.”
Removal of those trees, which is proposed for this development, would take that away, he adds.
“Once the mature trees on the 1131 side of the fence are removed (and, no doubt, some of the roots of those right along the fence with our side will be damaged during excavation), this will leave the division between the two properties much more sparsely screened than the fence line between Gordon Gate and the properties on Harts Lane.”
Katie Nesswetter, a senior development planner with the City of Guelph, tells the Mercury Tribune that the city is encouraging both sides to work together to solve the issue ahead of going before the OMB.
“We’ve encouraged both sides to talk and see if they can resolve it,” she says.
Royston says there has been meetings with the developer, adding he hopes it can come to an agreement “without pursuing the application.”
In the letter of objection, Royston writes that the trees being compensated — under city bylaws, either an equivalent number of trees removed for developments must be planted elsewhere, or financial compensation provided to the city — be planted at 1155 Gordon.
“More evergreens interspersed with deciduous on the 1155 Gordon side would help to preserve at least some of the privacy currently enjoyed by 1155,” he writes.
Given the size of the project — three storeys, along with a raise in the grade on the property and a one-metre retaining wall — Royston writes that replanting trees may not provide enough privacy.
“The proposed decks on the second floor of the units will allow people to look directly into the patio areas and bedroom windows of the residents at Gordon Gate,” he writes.
“The neighbours on all other sides of the development at 1131 have substantial tree coverage and privacy screening to their homes.”