- A public meeting on September 27 introduced a significant infill development project in the Cam Fella neighbourhood. Details of the proposal can be found here.
- Such public planning meetings allow residents to comment on development proposals and have their positions added to the public record. Councillors can also question applicants and make statements.
- Area residents delivered passionate speeches in opposition to the proposal, including a detailed presentation from the Westfield Estates Ratepayers Association. Ten pieces of written correspondence were also submitted.
- A range of concerns were discussed, including extreme density increases, building heights, a lack of transition into the existing community, incompatibility with the existing neighbourhood character, inadequate park space, pedestrian safety, and liability risks surrounding the underground infrastructure needed for drainage and storm water management.
- Councillors echoed many of these concerns while expressing gratitude to community members for their participation. Several of them openly criticized the developer and the proposal, believing they are not working respectfully with the Town and the community.
- Mayor Lovatt, who resides in the affected Cam Fella area, declared a conflict of interest and stepped down from the Council dais throughout the proceedings.
- The applicant stated a willingness to consider revisions and will be making a third submission in future.
Following project introductions by planners from the Town and Frontdoor Developments Inc. (the Applicant), Mark Luckett, Vice President of the Westfield Estates Ratepayers Association (WERA), offered insights from the local community and delivered a comprehensive presentation.
WERA represents approximately 100 area residents in the affected area and has collaborated with the Town and Applicant on the proposal since December 2022. Luckett noted that many of the concerns raised by WERA following the Applicant’s initial proposal have not been addressed in their second submission, a critique that would later be echoed by Councillors during the meeting.
Luckett elaborated on the proposed intensification, illustrating how 119 townhomes and 32 single detached homes would replace just 11 parcels. According to WERA’s analysis, this represents a twelve-fold increase in density with a 50% reduction in green space. In Luckett’s words, “This is not contextual development.” He argued that 151 dwellings constitute subdivision-level development and should be treated as such, emphasizing that the project does not align with the existing character of the area.
A lack of transition into the existing community was covered in detail, along with concerns regarding inadequate setbacks from property lines and excessive building heights. WERA suggested an alternative layout with a single row of townhouses along Main Street and two-storey detached homes along Cam Fella. Removing the center row of townhouses would allow for setbacks more consistent with the existing community. The desired transition would also benefit from the height reduction.
The failure to provide adequate parkland was also a major concern. The closest park is a 15-minute walk away, and the proposed minimal public amenity space, which would also serve as a snow dumping site, was deemed wholly insufficient. Instead of a complete park, the Applicant plans to offer cash-in-lieu to the Town. WERA believes that this parkland deficiency is compounded by the loss of green space resulting from the proposal. “Are we paving paradise?” Luckett asked rhetorically, “I would say so.”
Several residents expressed their love for Stouffville and the Cam Fella area as “the country close to the city” and condemned the proposal’s departure from that community ethos. “The townhouse blocks look like Liberty Village,” one deputant said, referencing a heavily intensified downtown Toronto neighbourhood. “You’re basically setting up a baseball bleacher,” another resident proclaimed, highlighting the proposed heights and lack of transition. “[The existing community] is quiet, it is serene…This will absolutely disrupt that character, it will no longer be safe [for pedestrians and children]” the same resident added.
Councillor Acton pointed out the Applicant’s reluctance to modify their proposal in response to Staff and community input, saying there have been “some minor changes, but not even close to considering what our Staff comments were.” Acton urged greater consideration from the Applicant, suggesting they “have an opportunity tonight to take with [them] all the concerns of our residents and our Staff and make changes. That’s what we’re hopeful for.”
Councillor Sherban expressed “huge disappointment” over the proposed amount of community amenity space, among other criticisms. “There [needs to be] a respectfulness from both sides, and if that was shown in your original plan we would not be here today with a room this full,” she told the developers. Sherban also added to Councillor Acton’s comments, saying the Applicant’s refusals to make changes to their proposal “insults the residents who gave all that input…[and] it insults this Council.”
Councillor Upton agreed: “We know we need intensification, and we know the [Cam Fella] area is prime for that…but this is nuts,” he stated. “It’s ridiculous that we have to ask if there’s going to be sidewalks,” he proclaimed, saying “there’s nothing wrong with making money, but this is greed…at our cost.”
Councillor Bartley followed, suggesting the Applicant’s refusal to consult with Councillors on the project displayed arrogance. Councillor Kroon, the final speaker, added his thoughts: “When I saw this drawing, I was aghast. This density is almost unbelievable,” he admitted. “This is not a place where families would want to live.”
Each Councillor thanked WERA and local residents for their efforts and dedication. Saying they would take feedback “into consideration,” the Applicant pledged to make revisions and provide a third submission.
“You have a long road ahead of you,” Councillor Kroon responded.