STRATFORD, P.E.I. - A 52-unit apartment building in Stratford is one step closer to breaking ground.
Stratford council approved the first reading of a rezoning application from Pan-American Properties during its Jan. 9 council meeting to allow for the proposed development on Dale Drive. It will see a second reading during next month’s council meeting.
However, the request was slightly modified from what was presented to the public earlier this month. The portion of land being rezoned from commercial to mixed use has been reduced from 4.05 acres to about 1.3 acres.
Kevin Reynolds, director of planning, said during the public meeting the developer proposed the possibility of adding some retail such as a coffee shop to the front property facing the Trans-Canada Highway.
It was later realized that if the entire portion was rezoned for mixed use, retail would not be permitted in the area.
“That’s why we recommended (they) amend the actual rezoning to reduce (the area being re-zoned),” he said.
Coun. Jill Burridge, who chairs the planning, development and heritage committee, said she felt the development was a good fit.
“We certainly want to ensure the commercial side remains close to the road so I think this is the right thing to do,” said Burridge, who added public comments from the meeting were also taken into consideration.
“Everyone certainly wants us to look down the road with affordable housing and make sure there’s access and a seamlessness in integrating it into our community.”
-Coun. Jill Burridge
Burridge said while most residents were in favour of the development, there were some concerns with the building’s height, green space and drainage issues.
“And, just overall, they want to make sure the development is done right and make sure we improve this area,” said Burridge. “A lot of the concerns are things that would be addressed in the development stage… this is stuff we’ll have to tend to later.”
During the public meeting, developer Tim Banks also addressed those concerns and said he wanted to improve the drainage in the area while also maintaining upkeep on the property.
The building would be located behind the existing Storemark property, which Banks said he plans to make improvements on and will likely - eventually - move Storemark to another location.
Council voted unanimously for the rezoning, which also includes changing the area in the zoning map from Mason Road commercial zone to Mason Road mixed zone, during Wednesday’s meeting.
“I think they did an outstanding job,” said Coun. Derek Smith on the plan.
The building will also include 30 affordable housing units, which Mayor Steve Ogden said was badly needed in Stratford.
“Going door-to-door, I think a lot of residents expressed the sentiment that affordable housing is a real issue in our town,” said Ogden.
Burridge said her committee was looking forward to exploring more affordable housing options while developing a housing strategy for the town.
“Everyone certainly wants us to look down the road with affordable housing and make sure there’s access and a seamlessness in integrating it into our community,” she said.