Two public meetings were held on June 25 to discuss adjacent housing developments in Cobourg’s North-East. One was an update of a 1700 unit sub-division first proposed in 2004 then approved in 2009. Called the Villages of Central Park and located at the north end of Brook Road, it was last presented to Council three years ago (2016) – since then only minor details have changed. The other is more immediate and is called the Nickerson Woods subdivision with 23 bungalows located between Nickerson Drive and Midtown creek. This proposal drew comments from nearby residents who were concerned about their view of the forest and drainage issues. In the subsequent Committee of the Whole council meeting, both proposals were approved to proceed.
Both proposed projects will come back to Council at the Site Plan stage and it seems that they will both start building within a year or two.
The larger development by Rondeau (1700 units) will be in six phases with phase one at the North-West corner of Elgin and Brook (or an extension of it). The image at right shows the concept for phase one. Director of Planning Glenn McGlashon estimated that each phase will take 3 to 5 years so the whole project will take 20 to 30 years.
The one that got the attention of residents was the proposed addition by LeBlanc Enterprises of 23 bungalows along the southern edge of Midtown creek which runs through Nickerson Forest. Existing houses on Nickerson Drive currently overlook the forest and the new houses could potentially block their view. But developers went to some trouble to point out that since they were bungalows, the effect would be minimal. Another concern was drainage after heavy rain. Again, the developer showed measures they would be taking that would not only take care of their own area but also run-off from the existing homes.
A third point raised by home owners was that the backyards of five of the new homes would encroach on the 30 metres set-back required from the creek which would be environmentally protected. This means that although some lots would include some environmentally protected land, it could not be developed. That is, no structures, pools etc. could be built there. But objectors felt that the lots should not include any of the protected area. A related concern was about how environmental protection would be enforced – e.g. some people might dump grass clippings.
At right is a map provided by the developer showing proposed rezoning – it’s the clearest map showing where the property is. The 23 bungalows would be in the green area. The dotted green area labelled EC is where the creek and forest are located.
An underlying concern is that the road to access the development will be classified as a common-element Condominium Lane. This is because it will be narrower at 20m than the usual 30m. Because it’s a condominium, it will not be maintained or managed by the Town and nearby residents felt that this would cause future problems – e.g. if the drainage issues were not resolved. It was felt that it would be better if it was owned by the Town and an exception could be made for road width.
Both developments were supported by the planning Department and Council felt that most concerns would be addressed at the Site Plan stage so approved the sub-division agreements. However, John Henderson moved an amendment to the Rondeau approval limiting the maximum number of storeys to 6 versus the 6 to 8 suggested. This would only be for a limited number of buildings in later phases. John’s amendment passed.