Hudson zoning changes allow assisted seniors residence
PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG
Zoning changes allowing construction of an assisted living seniors residence on Wyman Memorial United Church property has raised concerns for residents including Christine Redfern (above).
Citizens who attended the public consultation meeting held Tuesday, May 30, at the Stephen F. Shaar Community Centre raised interesting points regarding the proposed changes to zoning by-laws for the downtown area of Hudson.
The changes rezone the property belonging to Wyman Memorial United Church at the corner of Main Road and Selkirk Street as commercial rather than its current status as a public zone. The zoning change allows for the construction of Villa Wyman, a multi-unit assisted living seniors residence on the land west of the church that is currently a parking lot.
Although there was unanimous support expressed for the Villa Wyman project by those who approached the microphone, there were also concerns.
“Do these by-laws deal with the multi-unit project or only the zoning?” asked resident Christine Redfern. Councillor Deborah Woodhead, who chaired the meeting, replied the by-laws dealt only with the zoning issue.
“The building proposal has to go to the Town Planning Advisory Committee (TPAC),” added Councillor Nicole Durand noting that some residents had the opportunity to attend a project information meeting provided by the church the previous week.
Redfern said, in her opinion, there were issues such as parking, traffic circulation, and the size of the building that needed to be reconsidered.
Legalese and clarity
The legal jargon and lack of clarity in the presentation of the zoning changes also raised concern.
“Would someone please explain concretely what these by-laws mean in everyday language? How do they affect our downtown core?” asked resident Helen Kurgansky.
“Currently, Zone P57 (P=public) includes the fire station, Halcro Cottage, the museum, the municipal garage, and Wyman Church,” responded Urban Planning Director Nathalie Lavoie. “We are reducing the area of P57 to remove the property of Wyman Church and it becomes part of Commercial Zone C27,” she added noting that usages for Zone C27 includes churches.
“It began with changes to the Planning Program of the town (By-Law 691-2017) followed by the zoning By-law 692-2017 ,” said Lavoie. She said the commercial zoning allows the construction of a multi-unit three-floor building on the lot in question.
Villa Wyman Project
“These are preliminary drawings for the project application through the AccesLogis program,” said spokesperson for the non-profit project, Diane Ratcliffe, adding that if all goes well with the zoning change they will be able to submit their application for government funding. “We were told that it will be at least a year before we receive a response,” she added. Once the funding is approved, the project will be presented to the town through TPAC.
“We can start tweaking the preliminary plans right now,” said Ratcliffe in response to the feedback from those in attendance. According to Ratcliffe, the project will be funded completely by the provincial government program, AccesLogis.