The Huntsville Planning Committee has approved a site plan for a three-storey building located at 32 Brunel Road and overlooking the Muskoka River.
The approval includes 15 condominium units: one one-bedroom unit, six one-bedroom units plus a den, four two-bedroom units and four three-bedroom units, according to Huntsville planning director Richard Clark.
The developer is offering about 23 parking spaces, about four above ground and 19 underground, according to Clark.
The property has an area of 1,849 m². It contained a dwelling and detached garage and has approximately 70 meters of river frontage and 72 meters of Brunel Road frontage.
Clark noted that in 2009, a zoning bylaw amendment was approved to allow development of 15 units with underground parking. “In addition, a minor variance was approved in 2011 to provide additional zoning relief to allow development within the 200 meter setback requirement between new housing units and water treatment facilities. worn. A site plan application proposing a similar development was also conditionally approved by the City in 2012.”
Various iterations of the plan have been proposed over the years, but on April 13, the committee agreed with the planning staff’s recommendation and approved an updated site plan for a total of 15 units. Approval is conditional on the landscaping being revised to remove landscaping along the shore, such as a retaining wall, and replace it with “appropriate native plantings to the extent possible to the satisfaction of the municipality”. And that all drawings and plans are to the satisfaction of the municipality and commenting agencies.
The owner’s planning consultant, Lanny Dennis, said he did not foresee any problems with meeting the conditions subject to site plan approval. “The owners will continue to work with the city and district to address their feedback and they are certainly looking forward to continuing the project and another infill project to help address the housing shortage in Muskoka,” Dennis said.
Owner Ed Wiebe also addressed the committee during their remote meeting. He said it was a long process. He started the project in 2009 with his partner Glen Smith, then the real estate market experienced a downturn in early 2012. But now, with the dismantling of the sewage plant and with the high demand for housing, it is the good time to move the project forward.
“I did preliminary work as you saw in the photos,” he told the committee. “There is an excavator on site. We are currently carrying out soil sampling to ensure that the site is suitable for housing. We are putting in chopper coils, it will just determine the size and quantity of chopper coils and once we are approved we will be ready to start.
Huntsville councilor Bob Stone called the building quite imposing on the river, “and from Brunel it’s right on Brunel Road, so imposing on both sides,” he added. “And yet it addresses serious housing issues and I guess we have to understand that housing is so important that we have to consider these things right on our river. I am delighted to hear that there is going to be some robust vegetation planted. I hope there are many things that protect the building from the river and from Brunel.
Stone also spoke to Wiebe and said, “I hope the facade of that – some effort can be made to make it look a lot like Muskoka and it’s hard to define what that means, but I think Mr. Wiebe knowledgeable about what we like to see in Huntsville.
Councilor Dan Armor asked if the additional cars associated with the development on Brunel Road would require a traffic study. Dennis said it would be a district requirement since Brunel is a district road, but he said a unit count below 50 does not generally require a traffic study.
Finally, the committee approved the site plan. For more information, you can find the staff report here.
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