April 20, 2014

Council approves townhouse complex

Godwin Chan is lone councillor to vote against development

Coun. Godwin Chan said he is not satisfied with the traffic studies

Coun. Godwin Chan said he is not satisfied with the traffic studies

Richmond Hill Council has approved a proposal for a townhouse complex, just south of Bayview Avenue and 16th Avenue, despite protests from the local ward councillor and neighbouring residents.

Originally submitted by Olimpia Del Zotto, the proposal sought zoning bylaw and official plan amendments to permit a 95-unit townhouse complex but has since been reduced to 69 townhouses and four detached houses at 24 Briggs Ave. But Ward 6 councillor Godwin Chan was the only one to vote against the proposal and said that, although the revised proposal addressed many of his and neighbours’ concerns, it is lacking in one major aspect — traffic.

“The traffic is not something that we were given enough information on to make the decision,” Chan said. “I still have concerns, and certainly there are concerns from the neighbouring residents, too.”

Chan said there is only one way in or out of the complex, which limits accessibility for emergency vehicles. To accommodate the vehicles, Chan said the developer and planners need to come back with an alternative emergency route.

However, the town’s planning staff, including traffic engineers and fire services, reported that they had no outstanding concerns and were satisfied with the revised proposal from the developer.

Chan still disagreed and said, “I still feel that for 73 units, from a safety standpoint, only one way in and out is not good enough.”

Neighbouring residents, including Anne Kessler, said the complex will add more traffic to an already congested area.

“There are already huge lineups because of the traffic, and I can only imagine this will get worse,” she said. “Another [development proposal] on Bayview is around the corner, and we’re sandwiched in between.”

Chan said the next step will be to consult with transportation staff, and he added, “It is my duty to stand up for the residents and advocate fearlessly for their concerns.”