Charlottetown council paves way for seniors housing project

Dave Stewart dstewart@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on December 14, 2015

Charlottetown City Councillor Greg Rivard, chairman of the planning and heritage committee, prepares to meet the media after Monday's council meeting.

A Charlottetown developer was so pumped to get the green light from city council Monday night he started clapping.

Warren Doiron has been trying for a few years to develop the land he owns just off the intersection of the bypass highway and Upton Road.

Council voted 8-0 (Coun. Eddie Rice was absent; Coun. Bob Doiron, brother of developer, declared a conflict of interest) at its regular meeting to approve his application to rezone a vacant property from single-detached residential to comprehensive development. Doiron proposes to build 10 semi-detached dwellings (20 units) in the Sandlewood Park subdivision, luxurious duplexes for those 55 years of age and older. He says they will sell between $175,000 and $200,000 each.

RELATED: DEVELOPER PROPOSES SMALL, HIGH-END HOUSING PROJECT IN CHARLOTTETOWN

His company is called New Homes Plus Inc.

“I’m ecstatic,’’ a visibly pleased Doiron told the media immediately after the vote. “Relief. I think it’s about time. This is just a stepping stone. It will be the talk of the town. People will be lining up for the next one in a couple of years.’’

Coun. Greg Rivard, chairman of the city’s planning committee, spent the past week knocking on doors in the subdivision, asking residents if they had any concerns or questions on Doiron’s proposal, which was the subject of two public meetings.

Back in 2008, the developer pulled an application for high-end townhouses with units costing up to $160,000 after hearing from residents at a public meeting. He also looked, at one point, in putting a car dealership there.

“There was definitely a trust factor,’’ Rivard said when asked about some of the residents’ concerns. “Residents wanted to make sure what was proposed was going to be built.’’

Rivard said the city will enter into a development agreement with Doiron which “gives the city full leverage in making sure what is proposed is built to a T.’’

Doiron said he has already sold many of the units and the phone is ringing from Island seniors who winter in Florida but want a smaller place to live in during the summer. He says these are people who aren't interested in climbing floors of a condominium.

Rivard said this type of seniors housing is becoming more common in communities but has been slow to start in Charlottetown.

“Charlottetown hasn’t stepped into that realm. We did tonight,’’ the councillor said.

The residents will sign condominium agreements, giving them a maintenance-free arrangement.

Rivard said the developer has already been making concessions on issues like setbacks, giving existing residents a bit more space.

Doiron said demographics have changed dramatically over the past 10 years and wishes he had proposed this high-end seniors housing idea a lot sooner.

“This is the best fit and should have been proposed at first.’’

dstewart@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/DveStewart