Stratford sustainable subdivision gets go-ahead

Nigel Armstrong
Published on January 5, 2014
Stratford Town Hall

Stratford is getting a sustainable subdivision after all, now that a new developer has also adopted that concept for land between Reeves Estate and the town’s business park.

Stratford adopted its sustainable subdivision policy in 2012 and first granted that designation to a proposal in January, 2013 by Rodger Balderson for what would be called the Forest Trails subdivision.

It applied to a 40-acre parcel of undeveloped land that is mostly tree-covered.

The deal fell through but Nevin Jay bought the land and also bought into the sustainable concept, Stratford council was told during its last meeting.

The idea is to allow developers wide leeway in mixing housing styles and density of residents if they, in turn, preserve natural features, create accessible units, use designs that increase energy efficiency, encourage walking and biking, reduce energy consumption and other factors.

The process includes a scoring system developed by the town, said Coun. Gary Clow, chair of Stratford’s planning, development and heritage committee.

“Our planning director searched out what was in Canada and other places and he developed his own sustainable subdivision scoring system,” said Clow.

“It’s all about density but if you save so many trees, you get so many points and what it does, you get a lot of green space and you get townhouses or apartments.”

The current proposal is for a total of 11 single-family homes, 24 duplexes and 77 townhouse units but they will be located on a small portion of the total subdivision.

“Almost 50 per cent of the total area of land is conservation area, public land,” said Vahid Ghomashchi, Stratford’s director of planning.

“You have to preserve the maximum trees possible.”

The concept plan includes rain gardens, cluster housing and the preservation of almost half of the land as forest and wetland habitat with a walking trail winding through the preserved land, says the town.

It is hoped the Forest Hills trail will connect with the Trans Canada Trail when that route is finalized.

The proposal is for two phases. During the first phase, access to the new Forest Trails subdivision will be through Reeves Estate.

If the second phase is developed, there will need to be a new, second access road on the opposite side of Forest Trails connecting it with the business park, the meeting was told.