ABOUT THE PROJECT
In June of 2017, Hopewell Residential submitted an application to develop the former Hawkwood Farm to build a new residential community that includes approximately 890 new residential units. The proposal includes a mix of housing types including single detached dwellings, townhouses and apartment buildings (approximately 4 storeys). The proposal also includes new streets, public parks and public pathways.
In September of 2017 The City issued its comments to the applicant in the form of a report, called a Detailed Team Review, which included initial technical review of the application as well as the feedback captured from community members. In January 2018 The City received a revised plan from Hopewell that attempts to respond to The City’s comments, the details of which are now available. The City is still working with the developer to address a number of issues. Once we receive the final application, The City will host an information session to answer any outstanding questions.
Since The City’s last update, technical representatives from The City and Hopewell have been meeting regularly to continue work on the Arbour Lake application. It’s the goal of both parties to have a final land use application that fits with the community context, provides diverse housing choices, provides high quality open spaces and allows for densities that make smart use of land and infrastructure.
Amongst many broad goals, The City’s Municipal Development Plan places a high priority on the preservation of significant wetlands. Through the application review process, The City identified that an existing wetland on the north section of the plan boundary may be a candidate for retention. The protection of natural areas was also one of the common concerns and issues raised by citizens during our public engagement. The City has shared this request with Hopewell.
The City and Hopewell are assessing the viability of retaining the wetland and evaluating the impacts to current design and layout of the plan, while considering the additional planning goals of the MDP along with open space objectives. As such, the application is still being reviewed and a final version has not been submitted to The City. We will continue to update you about the status of this project, including amended timelines and opportunities to discuss the project with The City or Hopewell.
Why is The City considering this application?
The former Hawkwood Farm is a privately owned piece of land. The landowner has the right to apply to The City through a land use redesignation application, to change the way they use their land. The City is obliged to conduct an impartial review of these applications.
There are three parts to this application:
- Land Use Redesignation
- Outline Plan
- Master Plan and Design Guidelines
This application proposes to change the current land use designation (zoning) of this site from Special Purpose Future Urban Development (S-FUD) District to a range of multi-residential and low density residential land uses to allow for the development of a range of new housing.
The Outline Plan for this application lays out the framework for future subdivision of the “Hawkwood Farm” property and establishes the configuration of streets, accesses, park space, pathway connections and servicing requirements.
A Master Plan and Design Guidelines would be created to provide direction and guidance for The City in evaluating future development permit applications for buildings on the site.
What has changed?
The information below outlines the major changes made to the amended application based on the feedback from community members and the technical review conducted by The City.
1. Location/Configuration of Apartment Buidings
During Phase 1 of the community engagement process, a large number of citizens expressed concern about the proposed locations of apartment buildings and the potential for them to block existing views from their homes.
The revised plan reconfigures the location of the apartment buildings by locating them away from the north and east property line and closer to Arbour Lake Road. This will provide a better buffer between existing residential uses to the north and serve to mitigate concerns about loss of views.
2. New Pedestrian Connections
Citizens mentioned that they would like to see and access points throughout the area, to improve walkability.
The revised plans introduce two new publically accessible walkways that will connect to Arbour Lake Road. These connections will allow for greater ease of access to transit services on Arbour Lake Road and introduce a new urban design feature that will provide additional public benefit.
Items with low potential for further influence: The list below outlines items that will likely not change with future iterations of the plan. This provides a high-level summary and is not an all-encompassing list.
- Overall Density: The plan provides for a range of housing types (single detached, townhouse and low-rise apartments), which is encouraged by the Municipal Development Plan (MDP). The proposed density also meets the MDP goals, which encourage sensitive intensification within established residential areas.
- General Location of Apartment Buildings: The revised plan moves the apartment building away from the north property line to new locations near Arbour Lake Road in order to minimize disturbance on existing resident’s views. Given these significant changes, further changes to the location of apartment buildings is unlikely.
- Amount of Park Space: The Municipal Government Act allows The City to take up to 10% of the site as new park space. The proposed plan allocates the full 10% parkland dedication.
- Preservation of existing site conditions (i.e. no development): There is no mechanism or planning goal that would support full preservation of this land in its current state. The lands are privately owned, and the landowner has expressed an interest to develop the area. Development of these lands will help build a more compact city that makes efficient use of services and infrastructure, while minimizing urban sprawl.
Items that are currently being reviewed by The City: The list below outlines items that may change with future iterations of the plan. This provides a high-level summary and is not an all-encompassing list.
- Amenities in the park: The current plan proposes a network of multi-use pathways and a new playground. Other amenities that would enhance the community, are currently being reviewed by The City.
- Street interface with the public park: The current plan proposes building houses with the back of the housing facing the central park space. The City is discussing the position, location and configuration of the homes currently located on the park.
- Adding lanes to single detached dwelling blocks: Currently, the plan proposes driveways and garages being built on the front of the house. Adding rear laneways (roads and garages behind the house), enhances the pedestrian experience by eliminating the need for curb cuts and interruptions to the sidewalk. It may also allow for front porches and other design features that would allow for more “eyes on the street” and the park.
The City has received the revised plans from Hopewell that represent a first attempt at responding to citizen concerns and technical comments from The City. The City has reviewed the revised plans, provided another series of technical comments and is waiting for a final application to be submitted by the developer.