Niagara Falls staff had to tweak density issue to allow 5-storey apartment proposal

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Published June 23, 2023 at 1:34 pm

The five storey, 50 unit development proposed for 7081 McLeod Road needed a slight tweak in density as it sits on a relatively small 0.3 hectare lot.

A five-storey, 50 unit apartment seems positively puny compared to some of the applications landing in the Niagara Falls Planning department but even so, the builders still needed the city to tweak a density issue to move forward.

The builders, LivWell Development Group, seemed to have all the existing zoning working in their favour, except for one small matter.

While the land at their site, 7081 McLeod Road, is already designated residential in the City’s Official Plan, it seems there is also a maximum density of 100 units per hectare restriction.

The problem for LivWell Development Group is that the site, currently occupied by Our Saviour Lutheran Church, which is proposed to be demolished, is also only 0.3 hectare – or 0.85 acres.

While the lot is big enough to accommodate an apartment building this small, the builder had to ask city staff to permit, in this case, a density of 147 units per hectare to compensate for the 0.3 hectare footprint.

Staff recommended the change and city council rubber-stamped it with a check-mark at their June 20 meeting.

At a May Open House regarding the development, only two citizens cited concerns, notably air quality, compatibility/privacy, loss of green/amenity space, infrastructure, lighting, noise, property values, and traffic.

In its report, staff replied to each concern, noting that a development this small wouldn’t be much of a concern to the local neighbourhood. Even with traffic, they said, “A traffic impact study was not required by the City or the Region due to the low volume of anticipated traffic that will be generated from the site.”

The proposal will provide residents with a variety of housing that is proposed to be rental. The estimated rental rates are between $1,600-$1,800 for the one-bedroom units (32) and between $2,200-$2,400 for the two-bedroom (18) units.

While those are slightly under market value for a new build, staff noted, “These rental rates would not be considered affordable to low-income households under the City’s Housing Strategy.”

 

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