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Two-storey building on Wilson gets city nod

 By Kevin Werner, News Staff

Ancaster councillor Lloyd Ferguson has insisted that a proposed two-storey commercial development at 125 Wilson Street be architecturally compatible with the surrounding neighbourhood.

The building, on a 496-square-metre triangle-shaped portion of land, will house a medical clinic and business office. The May 6 planning committee considered a rezoning application to re-designate the existing residential zoning to general commercial with a special exemption.

But members of the committee got caught up discussing issues of architecture and the different facades for the building, which are normally settled at the site plan stage, after the rezoning application has already been determined.

Glenn Wellings, of Wellings Planning Consultants, who was representing the developer, said Sonoma Homes Inc. has yet to develop a detailed design for the building.

Ferguson, though, said he welcomed the discussion. He said it provided an opportunity for council to make some design suggestions

“I’m thrilled we are discussing it at planning,” said Ferguson. “I don’t want any surprises.”

To conform with the city’s new urban official plan, the development must have proper architectural treatment, such as stone cladding and a high-end roof, that could be copper in style, said planning staff.

“When I saw a copper roof (mentioned), I thought outstanding,” said Ferguson.  “I’m not satisfied with an asphalt roof.”

But Wellings quashed any idea that a copper roof would be constructed on any or part of the building.

“A copper roof is not economically feasible,” he said.

Wellings said the developer is willing to work with councillors to have a high-end façade and roof for the building.

Politicians and the developer agreed that once the building’s design is presented to the site plan committee, council will have a say in the decision-making process.

The overall design does conform to the Ancaster Secondary Plan, said Wellings. He said the developer waited until the Ontario Municipal Board approved the plan before submitting the rezoning application for the property to the city.

Initially, the developer was looking at building homes on the land.

“There are design challenges on the property,” he said.

There will be two accesses to the building from Wilson Street, which Wellings said is “essential” to make it work.

There will be 18 parking spots, to be used by both employees and visitors. City staff said the parking won’t have an impact on the current Wilson Street traffic.

There were some complaints from nearby residents about the development, including a fear it will add to Wilson Street’s traffic woes, commercial businesses shouldn’t be located on the land and the lighting would disrupt neighbours.

City staff said under the secondary plan, commercial businesses are allowed on the land. As for the lights, which will be installed for security purposes, the developer will see if they can be reduced in intensity.

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