Special Planning Meeting

By John Swartz

Orillia council has a special meeting Thursday, December 14, at 3 p.m. It’s a public meeting on planning matters for development proposals for two properties, one at 15 Fittons Road, and the other which has three addresses, 625 and 643 Atherley Road and 642 Driftwood Road.

The first is a 5 storey, 30 unit apartment building. The developer is John Tselikis. Staff say a holding designation will apply pending completion of a hydrogeological study to make sure the groundwater recharge area the property is on is not affected.

They also estimate property tax revenue will be $44,540 annually, up from the $7,000 generated as the property is (Battalia’s Wholesale Fruit). The effect of Bill 23 can be observed with staff’s estimate of development charges. Before Bill 23 the charge would be $601,980, but after it’s $472,151.

None of the units will be what is considered affordable:

“The Official Plan targets 25% of new development across several designations in the City, including the Intensification Area, comply with the definition of affordable housing set out in the Official Plan. This proposed development will not meet the definition of affordable housing, but it does propose to provide housing at a higher-density form with units ranging in size from 559 sq. ft. to 686 sq. ft. The proposed development increases the range of housing options available in the City by providing apartment-style dwelling units.”

However, the development meets all the requirements of the several policies (municipal/provincial) in effect, with the exception of the hydrogeological study to be completed.

Neighbouring property owners were notified of the project and an open house was held October 17. No one showed up, and no correspondence was received.

Atherley Road

A zoning amendment is needed for the apartment development by Coland Developments Corporation to consolidate the three properties (to be known as 625 Atherley) and to allow for 8 stories (it’s zoned for four). It’s also needed to allow for parking next to the lake, and to decrease the eastern yard setback to 2.6 meters. It will have 45 units with 95 parking spaces (only 68 are required).

625 Atherley proposal as viewed from Lake Simcoe

The City changed the Official Plan designation for Orchard Point to ‘intensification,’ in 2010, calling it a ‘neighbourhood in transition’ and since then a number of multi-unit projects have sprung up, changing the nature of the neighbourhood and putting more pressure on the unsignalled intersection of Orchard Point and Atherley Roads (MTO says traffic lights won’t be needed until 2039) . From the report:

“It is fair to say that the character of the neighbourhood has changed under its intensification designation, and this development fits within those permitted changes.”

Staff estimate the annual property tax to be $185,000 and development charges of $1,193,000. Unlike the other application, staff did not supply the amount of lost DC revenue related to Bill 23

Two open houses were held, 82 nearby residents attended the first and 42 the second. The original proposal brought in 2021 was for 100 units, but significant negative feedback from Orchard Point residents resulted in the project being reduced to 45 units.

625 Atherley proposal East side facade

Though it is not stated there are specific affordable units, there are affordable units in the development, staff say because of meeting other development requirements it fits the definition for the project :

‘This high-density proposal will meet the objectives of affordable housing as described by the OP through sections i) and ii).”

Sections i and ii are:

i. promoting higher density housing forms, where housing is more affordable due to reduced per unit land costs;

ii. building smaller units, where housing is more affordable due to lower development costs;

Area residents have opposed the project, notably traffic concerns and changing a naturally vegetated shoreline area (removing trees), and one resident stated since the official plan change, “Orchard Point has seen over 500% increase in housing.”

Council meetings are open to the public or can be watched on the City’s Youtube channel.

(Images Supplied) Main: 625 Atherley Road development proposal.


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