• John Jantak

Senneville council responds to issues raised about new housing development


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

A scale model overview of the new Senneville in the Park housing development.

Issues related to some aspects of a new residential project called Senneville in the Park, particularly about traffic during the construction phase and the lack of a small apartment block, were raised by residents during the Monday evening council meeting, September 26.

The scope of development, which was presented during a public information meeting two weeks ago, is touted as the first major residential project in the village in the past 50 years and will see a total of 83 single family homes built within the next five to seven years.

Each of the approximately 11,000 square foot lots are valued at $300,000 and with the price of the new homes that will be built, the cost of each house will range from $900,000 to just over $1.2 million.

Resident Doreen Croll said that while she supports the project overall, she’s concerned that no apartment units are part of the development. Croll said that many seniors in the village are looking for alternative smaller accommodations as they consider downsizing from their large homes but there are not enough apartments.

A small apartment would enable people to remain in the village instead of having to move elsewhere and it would also free up existing housing stock, Croll told council. She said that many people have had to leave Senneville because there are no other suitable housing options.

District 3 councillor Brian McManus replied that a small apartment block had been considered during discussions with the developer, Farzad Shodjai, but was deemed financially unfeasible due to current market conditions.

“I can assure you this was discussed with the developer,” said McManus. “We had to look at what the market was out there given the development costs that are going to be incurred on this, and his market study showed that it would not be feasible in this development.

“There were a lot of discussions over the past couple of years over arriving at a compromise,” McManus added. “We do understand because numerous people brought this up. We’re not in a position as a council to enforce the exact type of development or what kind of homes will be placed. We have certain limitations that have to follow the guidelines. We would not have refused it if it was feasible.”

Other residents complained about the eventual increase in traffic that will come during the construction phase and asked council whether they would consider asking Charles River Laboratories to allow access through their property just south of Highway 40 instead of having heavy vehicles travel along Senneville Road.

McManus replied that council had already looked into that possibility saying it would require cutting down more trees and building a temporary bridge over a stream which is contrary to people’s desire to protect the village’s green spaces.

District 2 Councillor Charles Mickie said because of insurance and liability concerns alone, Charles River would probably deny access. At the urging of another resident, McManus said the village will discuss the matter of Charles River and continue working with the developer to ensure traffic disruptions are minimized.

Mayor Jane Guest told Your Local Journal after the meeting that Shodjai has worked diligently with the village to ensure he understand all the unique aspects related to the village and the topographical features specific to the Senneville in the Park development zone.

“He actually attends all the council meetings and participates in community events to get to know the community better,” said Guest. “He’s gone to great pains to do that and to make people realize that he’s not just any developer. He’s promised us that with this development, 20 per cent of the area will remain green which is twice the amount that is required.

“At the end of the day, it’s a compromise,” said Guest. “Developments are always difficult for everybody. We are very protective of our green spaces, mature trees and canopies. We all feel we have a stake in the community and people can get emotional. It’s never perfect, but this is very, very good.”

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