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OMB denies Ancaster condos

By Mike Pearson, News staff

The Ontario Municipal Board has slammed the door on a 24-unit condominium development that sparked a two year battle between a developer and residents of the Fiddler’s Green Road neighbourhood.

“I’m just so relieved,” said Teresa St. Michael, a Douglas Road resident who opposed the project. “The right decision was made.”

St. Michael and other neighbours collected more than 260 signatures on a petition against the proposal in 2011.

Developer Gabriel Gasbarrini of Award Construction asked the OMB to overturn the city’s denial of the project, which was previously supported by city planning staff.

In his decision released on Nov. 7,  OMB adjudicator Steven Stefanko cited concerns over density, compatibility with the surrounding area and parking as reasons to deny an amendment to the Ancaster zoning bylaw.

Aside from a two storey apartment complex, a two storey townhouse building and two small commercial buildings, Stefanko agreed with the argument of city solicitor Lia Magi that the property of 121 Fiddler’s Green falls within an area of single detached homes.

Stefanko also found the proposed density of 77.8 units per hectare does not establish a gradual transition from low to high density as required by the Ancaster official plan and exceeds the maximum density permitted by the Ancaster Wilson Street Secondary Plan of 20-60 units per hectare.

Stefanko also took issue with a parking reduction to 39 spaces, arguing that even though the developer plans to market the units to elderly residents, any attempt to limit occupancy based on age is contrary to the planning act.

Ancaster councillor Lloyd Ferguson, who voted against the project, called it a good day for Ancaster.

“The main message is this should prove that intensification does not trump everything else especially character of the Community,” Ferguson stated in an email. “Our community was under siege especially Fiddler’s Green Road, all in the name of intensification as set out in the new Provincial Policy.”

During the OMB appeal on Oct. 1, Gasbarrini said he applied to build three single-family homes on the site, but due to extensive storm water management costs, the project was not economically viable. In 2009, he asked planner Joe Lakatos to find the highest and best use for the site, which resulted in a plan for 24 stacked condominiums.

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