Harburn Holdings has written to nearby residents of its proposed condominium development on Grass Lake with an update of its plans. It’s also replied to a Friends of Grass Lake (FGL) consultant’s report panning the plans.
Anthony Usher is the planning consultant to Paul Wilson who is behind the condo project. Usher sent the letter and response to D.M. Wills Associates Limited’s report on April 20.
FGL hired the firm for a planning opinion. In late March, the FGL issued a media release saying the planner had submitted a letter of objection to the proposal to Dysart et al on March 16. “Planners with the firm say we have very good reasons to be opposed to this development and have itemized a laundry list of major deficiencies,” said longtime resident and FGL member Carolyn Langdon in a media release.
She added the FGL feel the applications before the township are premature and incomplete “as they do not provide the necessary plans and studies to determine if the proposed condo and commercial development is appropriate and can be accommodated on the site.”
For example, they said a site development plan, concept drawings and an analysis of the floodplain were missing.
But Usher replied some of D.M. Wills’ report “represents straight differences of planning opinion. I continue to believe the development is appropriate and represents good planning, and would have minimal adverse effects as demonstrated by the supporting studies.”
Further, in the letter to Grass Lake residents, he cites “several improvements in our proposal, mostly in response to comments from the public.” He also said there should be a public meeting in the next couple of months.
The letter says Blanding’s turtles will be protected via added mitigation measures, such as temporary fencing on the lakeward side of construction, species at risk training for construction contractors, permanent fencing on the lakeward side of all parking lots and a stewardship brochure for all future residential owners.
He provided new estimates of forest clearing, reducing the forest to 48 per cent but said over time cleared buffer lands will be re-naturalized back up to 69 per cent “almost as much as at present.” They are increasing setbacks to a pond to 30 m from 20 m; and a new 30 m setback from a stream.
They also say no clearing will be allowed to encroach into buffers. Further concessions, they say, include no longer proposing a dock or pond viewing platform and any patio or deck reduced to 20-square-metres from 64.
Usher added there’ll be a traffic study for the intersection of Peninsula Road and County Road 21; they “will make good” on any impacts on the well at Haliburton Veterinary Services; and will comply with municipal rules for exterior lighting.
Another major move is donating one of the lots to Places for People. (see page 3) The FGL, though, still feel, “until such time as the applications provide details on the form and function of the proposed development including location of buildings, structures, parking, access, landscaping or travel paths, the applications are considered premature.”
They are looking for 12 additional studies, such as a site plan. However, Usher said Harburn Holdings is applying for the first of two stages so not all documentation is now required.
For example, he said they haven’t had to submit a site plan yet as they are only looking for official plan and zoning bylaw amendments at this stage