Shadows, Setbacks For Beechwood Tower A Concern

  • 06/11/18
  • |          Waterloo

Residents of Beechwood are rallying against a proposed 13-storey tower which they say just doesn’t fit in with the community.

Tom Currie, who lives adjacent to the proposed tower, said the neighbourhood, which consists of mostly single-family homes, is just not suited for a multi-residential building.

“The tallest building we have is the seven-storey building that’s already on the property,” said Currie.

Concept Development Group Inc. is proposing to build a 13-storey, 140-unit building that will abut the existing structure.

Aside from the building’s presence in the community, Currie and many of his neighbours are also concerned about its proximity to the sidewalk along Beechwood Drive. The existing seven-storey apartment building is set back from the road, making it “less obtrusive,” he said.

Currie also has concerns about property value and how it may be affected in the area.

Concept Development is asking the city to make a number of exceptions, especially when it comes to setbacks, or the amount of space required as a buffer to each of the property lines.

The requests include:

  • Front yard setback of 3.5 metres, as opposed to the 7.5 metres required.
  • Side yard setback of 2.7 metres, as opposed to the requirement of half the building height, or about 20 metres.
  • Rear yard setback of 7.5 metres, as opposed to requirement of about 20 metres.
  • Decrease in required amenity space from 50 square metres per dwelling unit to 2.5 square metres per bedroom.
  • Decrease in landscaped open space from 30 per cent of the land to 18 per cent.

The developer’s justification for not meeting the required rear yard setback is because of a no-build zone along the Clair Creek. With the no-build zone taken into account, the rear of the building will be 34 metres from the closest dwelling.

According to the planning justification report, the closest the building will be to surrounding properties is 18 metres.

Another concern of residents in the area is the impact of shadows cast by the large building. According to a shadow study, some homes on Maple Forest Line to the west will be impacted most in the spring, while significant shadows will affect homes to the east in evenings in the fall. At the winter solstice, homes directly to the north will be affected most.

Dan Raats, who lives on the east side of 508 Beechwood Dr., said he agrees with cities focusing on intensification, but if you look at other areas of the city, there hasn’t been anything this dense in a neighbourhood like Beechwood.

“They’re all on major arteries,” said Raats, who was joined by about 25 neighbours to meet and discuss the proposed project on Monday.

The traffic study notes there will be no significant issues when it comes to vehicular flow in the area, due in part to the property’s proximity to transit.

Raats, who uses public transportation to commute, said it’s not as easy as it seems to catch GRT buses from inside of Beechwood.

“You have to adapt,” said Raats. “It’s about a 20-minute walk to the bus stop.”

The development is slated for an informal public meeting at City Hall on June 11, where affected neighbours will voice their concerns.

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