Neighbours Decry Proposed Waterloo Highrise As ‘Titanic On A Postage Stamp’

  • 05/6/19
  • |          Waterloo

Neighbours are pleased that city planners oppose a proposal to build a 12-storey highrise near their suburban Beechwood homes.

Planners say the building should be no higher than six storeys and are recommending council reject it at a meeting Monday.

This sets up a showdown between neighbours, city planners, politicians, and planner Scott Patterson, who is acting on behalf of the developer.

“It doesn’t fit in a well-established neighbourhood of 30-plus years,” said Jennifer Lieberman, a neighbour who has helped lead the charge against the highrise.

“They are looking to shoehorn something the size of the Titanic onto a plot of land the size of a postage stamp.”

The landowner has already filed an appeal with the provincial planning tribunal, claiming approval delays.

The housing proposal is the latest to draw outcry from neighbours in a city aiming to grow up rather than out.

In the suburb of Lakeshore North, council recently approved a four-storey townhouse complex even though neighbours complained it doesn’t fit and will bring too much traffic.

In the suburb of Beechwood, filled with detached homes and townhomes, neighbours complain that 12 storeys is too tall, brings too much traffic, casts shadows and hurts property values.

The highrise would attach to a seven-storey apartment building already there.

Tower critics are numerous, well-organized, informed and comforted that city hall has heard their concerns, Lieberman said.

Mayor Dave Jaworsky denies that city hall, which wants to put more people in less space, is yielding to a strong grassroots lobby n Beechwood after standing firm against upset neighbours elsewhere.

“This one is unusual for the fact that it’s interior to a neighbourhood, and is also taller than any building around it,” he said. “It’s very unusual in that it’s inconsistent with what’s already there in the neighbourhood.”

Waterloo planning guidelines are unclear. The tower is proposed on land meant to support more people in less space. Its 12 storeys, 132 units and 220 bedrooms fall within Waterloo’s growth plan.

Yet the height exceeds city zoning and city planners argue it “does not respect the scale, physical character or context of the existing neighbourhood.”

Council wanted the developer to meet with neighbours after an early version of the highrise drew outcry when unveiled last June. That meeting didn’t happen.

Patterson did not respond Friday to an interview request. Ward Coun. Sandra Hanmer declined to be interviewed ahead of the council meeting.

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