Waterford continues to be a magnet for new housing development.
However, an ambitious proposal for 101 housing units on Thompson Road West has encountered headwinds and may have to be modified before it is approved.
At issue are 19.5 acres of vacant land on the south side of Thompson Road West at the intersection of Washington Street. The land is vacant but it is also adjacent to a number of low-impact industrial uses. This has raised concerns with the industries in question as well as Norfolk staff.
Sponsor of the proposal is AD Thompson Road Inc., which represents Robert, Thomas and Scott Thompson. Their application calls for the construction of 51 single-detached homes, 40 semi-detached homes, and 10 townhouses.
Their application is complicated by the fact that the subject land is next door to a Lafarge Canada cement plant as well as bases of operation belonging to Norfolk Disposal.
In a report to Norfolk County on behalf of Lafarge, planning consultant Caitlin Port, of MHBC, notes that provincial guidelines recommend a 70-metre separation between low-intensity industrial uses and residential development. The separation in the AD Thompson Road application, at its lowest, is 20 metres.
“It is important to note that the onus for demonstrating land-use compatibility rests with the applicant of a new, sensitive land use encroaching within close proximity to an existing industrial use, not vice versa,” Port says.
Port added the applicant should conduct a comprehensive study to ensure that noise emanating from nearby industrial properties will not be a chronic irritant for people who move into the new subdivision.
Speaking on behalf of Norfolk Disposal is planning consultant John Ariens of IBI Group in Hamilton.
“Norfolk Disposal has serious concerns regarding the proximity of the new homes to their existing industrial facilities and is gravely concerned that this development will cause compatibility issues and conflicts,” Ariens says.
Ariens notes that the planning justification report submitted by the developer – which was prepared by G. Douglas Vallee Ltd. of Simcoe – focuses on the potential impact of industrial uses on potential buyers of properties in the new subdivision.
Ariens suggests the study should approach the question from the other end and elaborate on the potential impact of dozens of aggrieved homeowners who purchase residences next to an industrial zone.
In her submission, Port notes that the residential-industrial buffer issue might be resolved with a reconfiguration of the subdivision plan. That plan makes allowances for a park and a stormwater retention pond. Placing these amenities between the subdivision and the industrial properties may help, she suggests, mitigate land-use conflicts in the future.
In his report to Norfolk’s public hearing committee, county planner Mohammad Alam agrees that Port and Ariens have grounds for their concerns.
“The applicant must ensure land-use compatibility with the proposed new, sensitive use with the existing and established industrial waste management and commercial uses in the immediate vicinity,” Alam says. “The planning justification report did not include this.”
The purpose of the June 1 public hearing meeting was to share input from the community on development applications before Norfolk council.
The meeting also provided council members an opportunity to have their questions answered.