Palmerston townhouse development not seen as ideal by some councillors

PALMERSTON – Some councillors are doubtful of a new townhouse development's eligibility for older seniors looking to age in place.

Discussed during a public meeting Tuesday afternoon, a new development from Breymark Homes is proposing a 100-unit subdivision to the northwest end of Palmerston on a 5.5-acre block with 40 townhouse units and 60 cluster townhouses.

While the subdivision was previously approved, the new application is seeking changes to the plan that would more than double the number of units and strictly build townhouses.

Following a question from Coun. Judy Dirksen about whether the proposed development would resemble existing town homes on the other side of town, Brett Cormier, president of Breymark Homes, said each unit will be two-storeys with two to three bedrooms and individual parking spaces to encourage off-street parking.

Deputy Mayor Jean Anderson didn't feel that units with multiple staircases were accessible for their senior residents and that the development shouldn't be considered an option for aging in place.

“(The stacked townhomes) might not be perfect for aging in place unless you’re fit but the street town homes, it’s very very doable,” said Cormier. “Without a stairlift, (the stacked town homes) are definitely not as manageable.”

However, chief building official Terry Kuipers said that as soon as a development contains more than six units, there is potential for the developer to provide more accessible units.

During the meeting, Genevieve Scott from Quest Planning also mentioned that a traffic brief for the development looked at current and future traffic conditions at the intersection of Main and Ontario Street and found that it will be operating at capacity by 2026.

"It's expected that the developer will be working with the town to coordinate any upgrades that may be necessary," said Scott.

In terms of when they hope to get shovels in the ground, developers said that there are no concrete dates but intend to start as soon as possible.

“Given the environment, it’s hard to predict exactly what’s going to happen,” said Cormier. “But I want to build some houses and I think this is a great town to build some in.”

In 2016, a draft plan of subdivision was approved for these lands as a mix of housing types with 18 singles, eight semi-detached, and 16 street townhouses for a total of 42 units.

“One way or the other we hope to get started sooner than later,” said Scott.

The proposal will return to council at a future meeting.

Isabel Buckmaster is the Local Journalism Initiative reporter for GuelphToday. LJI is a federally-funded program.

Isabel Buckmaster, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,