Several residents of Delhi let Norfolk County know recently that they don’t want low-income housing in their neighbourhood.
They were responding to reports that the developer behind the Bluegrass Estates subdivision at the east end of Argyle Avenue is ready to begin Phase III. Word has since circulated that Phase III may contain subsidized housing or housing geared to income.
Five objections were received.
“I have paid in excess of $500,000 to purchase my home,” one submission said. “I feel the direction the builder is taking toward lower-income housing is going to devalue my property.
“The homes in Phase I and II are well-maintained and set a high standard. They encourage people to re-locate to Delhi.”
There are 59 housing units in Phase II. They consist of 41 single-family dwellings and nine duplexes. Speaking on behalf of the developer – 1064928 Ontario Inc. – agent Joe Jeles told Norfolk’s public hearing committee on April 7 that the reports are untrue.
“This third phase would involve the same quality of homes and the same builders as the first and second phases. We’re not designing or building low-income housing or special-needs housing.”
Even if the developer were serving the low-income market, Waterford Coun. Kim Huffman asked why that would be a problem.
“I’m a little distressed that there seems to be so much emphasis on not-in-my-backyard comments from people,” Huffman said.
“I’m a big proponent of not only building subdivisions, but also a proponent of building communities. I would assume any builder or developer who is building subsidized housing or housing for individuals with special needs or low-income housing would consider those as quality-built homes as well.”
On another matter before the public hearing committee on April 6, Delhi planning consultant David Roe commented that the housing market in Delhi is red hot. For the first time that he can remember, Roe said there are bidding wars for available properties.
Delhi Coun. Mike Columbus also commented on the pent-up demand. After the developer of Bluegrass Estates said the COVID-19 pandemic set construction back a year, Columbus replied that the time has come to get busy.
“We have a great deal of water and sewer capacity, but no building lots,” Columbus said “People are waiting.”
A number of side issues have to be addressed before Phase III proceeds.
The plan of subdivision for this part of Delhi was approved in 1953. The plan includes unopened street allowances that exist on paper but are off-limits for development as municipal property.
Nearly 70 years later, the developer has a different housing configuration in mind. He will need the county to close and convey these road allowances to accommodate it. The county is prepared to do so, with the developer deeding over the new streets once they are constructed.
At issue are unopened portions of McIntosh Drive, Russet Drive, Duchess Drive and Baldwin Drive. The county is prepared to sell the land at fair market value. For his part, the developer says a land swap is in order.
Jeles suggested that the proponent develop new, serviced streets and convey them to the municipality once they are finished. Council has yet to rule on the possibility.
Council received the April 7 presentation as information. Staff will consider all input received and prepare a new report, with recommendations, for consideration at a final meeting under the Planning Act.