News Local

Public meeting Monday on Barrie tower

Bob Bruton

By Bob Bruton, Barrie Examiner

East-end resident Nadine Saunders continues her fight against a proposed development of a second 11-storey apartment building at 37 Johnson St., in Barrie’s east end. Saunders has gathered more than 430 signatures on a petition opposing the project. MARK WANZEL/PHOTO

East-end resident Nadine Saunders continues her fight against a proposed development of a second 11-storey apartment building at 37 Johnson St., in Barrie’s east end. Saunders has gathered more than 430 signatures on a petition opposing the project. MARK WANZEL/PHOTO

Neighbours continue to rally against the proposed development of a second 11-storey apartment building at 37 Johnson St. in Barrie.

“It does not fit. You cannot put a 12-size foot in a size-six shoe,” said Nadine Saunders, of nearby Campfire Court, who says she has gathered more than 430 signatures on a petition opposing the project.

The property's owner – D.D. 37 Johnson Ltd. - has applied for amendments to the city's Official Plan (OP) and zoning bylaw to build 222 apartment units there. With the 196 units in the existing building, that would bring the total to 418 for the 3.5-acre site.

A public meeting on the amendments will be held Monday at Barrie City Hall's Council Chamber.

“The main reason is that it's over-intensification. We're seeing it everywhere in the city,” Saunders said. “But that's not on a major corridor, it's not in an intensification area that's designated. It backs on to two residential streets.”

The proposed development would add 227 parking spaces to the property, which already has 196 parking spots.

The applicant says this project would provide $6 million in development charges to the city, cash-in-lieu of parkland and provide affordable housing rental units – although the number is not specified.

Coun. Bonnie Ainsworth, who represents this part of Barrie, has voiced her opposition to the project, saying it “would obnoxiously overload neighbourhood density and could even diminish quality of life for everyone living in the area.”

Ainsworth and the city have received 15 letters opposing the development.

A neighbourhood meeting in February raised concerns about increased traffic and on-street parking issues, construction noise, dust and vibration, stormwater management, shadow impacts and preserving the neighbourhood's character.

“At this time I can see a view of trees and the lake from the balcony of my townhouse condo,” said Cheryl Tomkinson in her letter to Ainsworth. “If this 11-storey apartment building is approved to be built it will block my view of the lake and trees.

“This was one of the reasons that I decided to buy my townhouse condo. I moved to this home to have the peace and quiet it offers.”

Jill Shipley says the Johnson Street/Shanty Bay Road area is already clogged with parked cars, and this development will make it worse.

“Winter brings ice fishermen, and summer brings the beach-goers,” she wrote. “The streets are so full of parked cars, it makes the visibility difficult turning corners and getting out of our driveway.

“Our fear is that the proposed number of units (222) would bring even more parked cars on the street.”

Aileen Carroll noted that similar projects were proposed in 2004 and 2012 (by other owners), and were not approved.

“There are ... areas of the city designated for intensification,” she wrote. “This property and this part of Barrie are not one of those areas.”

Monday's 7 p.m. agenda has three public meetings, and 37 Johnson St. is scheduled second.

A public meeting is one of the first phases of Barrie's planning process. Once held, the proposed amendments go to city planning staff for a report and recommendation.

Barrie councillors then decide to approve, reject or alter the applications.

That decision can be appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board, which has the final word on local government decisions.

 

bbruton@postmedia.com