Before it can get the green light from city council, a proposed subdivision for Brandon’s south end will have to go to back to a public hearing.
The 5.65-acre development, called The Woods, has already been a few years in the making. Aaron Dubois of Brandon Evergreen Developments was hoping to get council’s approval to move ahead on the 198-unit project Monday night, but that was not the case.
Several residents of Kelsey Bay attended the council meeting to speak out against the plan, which calls for a new emergency access be located in their neighbourhood — a requirement of Brandon Fire and Emergency Services. One resident said it would disrupt the "nice, quiet bay" where kids are often playing on the street. Others said they did not receive adequate information about the proposal.
Frustration could be felt in council chambers from both the developer and residents, with some back-and-forth dialogue. Dubois said he personally dropped off information letters about the proposed plan to residents in the area of Kelsey Bay, Lyndale Drive, Orchard Way, Aspen Drive and Birchwood Drive back in February.
"We followed everything that the city requested," Dubois said to council. Regarding the letter to residents, he said "it shows emergency access and it was handed out two and a half months ago, and I have not been contacted by anybody."
City administration typically recommends a new public hearing when a new development concept increases density. In this case, it is decreasing from the original plan. Administration gave council two options, approve the revised plan as is, or go to a public hearing first to discuss the secondary emergency access.
Council voted in favour of holding a public hearing on the topic, to get all residents’ comments on the table and a better understanding of the proposal. Mayor Rick Chrest said council is "desirous of having everyone work together," and it is unfortunate there was a misunderstanding or "late realization" of what was being proposed.
Chrest said they will be asking administration to hold the hearing "as expeditiously as possible."
There is a minimum 14 days notice required for a public hearing, so it is expected to take place in three to four weeks.
Back in 2014, the original plan was to develop 440 units on two properties — 21 Willowcrest Ave. and 1640 Sycamore Dr.
The land transfer between Brandon Evergreen Developments and Kingsway Kort (1640 Sycamore Dr.) was unsuccessful, so the developer came up with a new plan just for the one property at 21 Willowcrest Ave.
"Sadly, for various reasons it didn’t work out," Dubois said.
Kingsway Kort mobile home park closed a few years ago, a controversial decision that forced residents to move out.
Despite the setback, Dubois is pleased with the new plan, and hopes to get it moving as soon as possible.
"We’re very excited to be in the position that we’re in, to produce and bring these units on line to the market," Dubois said. "We couldn’t be more excited about our development."
Tanya Marshall, manager of property administration, said the concept hasn’t changed, just the size of the project.
"Overall, it’s still a mix of multi-family and townhouses," she said. "The development agreement will just be changed to reflect the development of half the property … The parties weren’t able to make it work."
The proposed development would be located between 18th Street and Tracey Street, south of Sycamore Drive. Of the 198 units, 176 will be apartments in four, four-storey apartment buildings. There will be 22 townhouse units.
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