- In one of Stouffville’s most significant intensification areas, a five-tower proposal for 5262-5318 Main Street & 12371 Highway 48 aims to add 800 units to the Town’s western gateway.
- A Public Planning Meeting introducing the project took place on November 22, and we covered initial details of the plan and related Staff report here.
- Adam Layton, a Principal from Evans Planning working on behalf of the applicant, provided a presentation and additional conceptual renderings of the development, included below. These renderings are not meant to show architectural designs but instead display general building massing in the context of the site and surrounding area.
- The proposal includes 413 one-bedroom units, 341 two-bedroom units, and 46 three-bedroom units. Staff have expressed concerns about the minimal number of family-sized units, and Layton suggested there is openness to adjusting the unit mix.
- The protected environmental block discussed in our previous piece represents 40% of the 7.16-hectare site. It, along with the roads and the stormwater management tank block, constitutes over 56% of the site and is all being considered for conveyance to public ownership.
- The Toronto Region Conservation Authority is seeking a buffer between the buildings and the Natural Heritage lands to ensure minimal impacts, and discussions are ongoing regarding floodplain and environmental features limitations. The Plan of Subdivision map showing this is included below.
- Layton noted that lands on either side of the new street planned for access to and from Highway 48 are being reserved in the hopes that future land assembly would allow for additional development.
- Mayor Lovatt, members of Council, and members of the public addressed a variety of challenges impacting the project, and took issue with potential traffic impacts, deficient parkland plans, and the absence of at-grade commercial units in four of the five buildings.
A group of Baker Hill area residents attended and have highlighted the necessity for a smooth transition from such a significant development into their community. A deputant expressed concerns about the resulting increased traffic in existing residential areas, urging Town Staff to conduct a comprehensive traffic study assessing the combined impact of this development and others along Main Street on the broader community. “[Individual traffic] studies will look immeasurable and without a large overall impact,” he noted. “But when you look at the impact of all those developments on Main Street, it’s going to have a significant impact.” Mayor Lovatt agreed, saying such a traffic study is appropriate.
Councillor Sue Sherban initiated Council’s deliberations, expressing worry about residents’ mobility as the Western Approach area intensifies. She emphasized the need to find a way to efficiently move people around town, stating, “If we don’t figure out some sort of transit relief, we are going to be taking an hour to get from 48 to Tenth Line.”
Councillor Sherban also addressed public parkland concerns and the need for related public facilities. An underground stormwater management (SWM) tank is being proposed for future conveyance to the Town, which can provide open public space above. Sherban asked if the applicant was proposing the SWM block as part of their parkland dedication obligations, and Layton said discussions are ongoing with Town Staff. He suggested the .25 hectare piece of land could theoretically be landscaped and programmed as usable parkland, though Sherban stated that there are park design, programming, and facility limitations on land above underground SWM systems.
Mayor Iain Lovatt expanded on the parkland issue, deeming the current proposal “wildly deficient” given the size of the application area. “I think you need to go back to the drawing board and figure out where you can put a park,” he told Layton. Lovatt also criticized the SWM site’s location, stating its close proximity to busy roadways is not appropriate nor safe for children at play.
Lovatt also took issue with the minimal amount of commercial space offered in the application, as four of the five buildings are proposed as strictly residential. He emphasized the Town’s goal to reduce car dependency and suggested consideration of at-grade retail throughout the development to create a more self-sufficient community. “If there is an opportunity to consider retail at grade beyond [one building]…that would create a complete community unto itself,” Lovatt stated. “If there are ways to eliminate people’s need to get into their car, that would be great.”
Councillor Rick Upton delved into macro planning issues related to Stouffville’s growth trajectory. He noted that while other municipalities have the ability to expand outwards, Stouffville’s lack of available land is forcing vertical development if the Town wishes to meet its growth targets. Saying the Town’s draft Official Plan allowing 20-storey development keeps him up at night, he worries the area will become “one big cement block” lacking adequate parks and parking. “It’s going to be a concern down the road where Stouffville won’t be Stouffville,” Upton proclaimed. “I’m afraid that Stouffville is losing its character, and somewhere we have to stop that.”
Councillor Hugo Kroon, the last speaker, reiterated concerns about traffic impacts and criticized the proposed parkland plan as “woefully inadequate.” Kroon also noted negative impacts stemming from the limited access points on Main and Highway 48 as well as the lack of connection to Millard. He stated an unwillingness to support the project in its current form and suggested solutions could be found through cooperation with adjacent landowners. In response, Layton detailed challenges they have faced in their past attempts to work with those landowners.
The Public Planning Meeting also addressed the 12-storey proposal at 5991 Main Street, which we will cover next week. Our first piece detailing that development is available here.
Images sourced from the Evans Planning presentation provided to Council.