Decision on development proposal for 373 Victoria Street delayed

Niagara on the Lake Town Council consideration has been postponed at the request of the developer for the proposed Zoning By-Law Amendment to facilitate the severance of 373 Victoria Street to create two separate lots for single detached residential purposes. The development application concerns Friends of One Mile Creek (FOMC) because about 57% of the property at 373 Victoria Street lies within the One Mile Creek floodplain (see map of NPCA Regulated Floodplain showing how much area would be impacted by the proposal). At the request of the applicant, developer Gatta Homes, the Council discussion was first postponed from June 10, 2019, until July 15 and then until Sept. 16.

At its June 3, 2019, Committee of the Whole (COTW) meeting, Council had voted to defeat a staff recommendation that supported the developer’s proposal. Typically, the next step is for Council to vote on its COTW report at the following week’s meeting. However, lawyer Sara J. Premi of Sullivan Mahoney in St. Catharines represented developer Gatta Homes in a delegation to the Council’s June 10 meeting, asking that Council defer until July 15 its consideration of “both the application to amend the Zoning By-law and the request for exemption from the Interim Control By-law.” In her verbal remarks, she said the developer needed time to explore some possible changes, perhaps to lot density. They then asked to wait until the Sept. 16 session.

FOMC’s original concerns had been submitted to the Town on March 4, 2019, as part of the public hearing on the proposal. Concerns about the proposal were also made by neighbours, the Niagara Conservancy and the Niagara Foundation. Subsequently, in a report dated May 24 Town staff recommended approval of the application. However, at the COTW meeting on June 3 councillors heard further presentations and voted 6 to 0 to defeat the recommendation (with Lord Mayor Betty Disero declaring a conflict of interest because she owns property in the notice area and Councillor Erwin Wiens not voting because he chaired the meeting).

The subject property’s proposed Zoning By-Law Amendment would undoubtedly require fill to be brought in for a driveway, tree removals, and potential excavations that would have significant disturbance in the OMC floodplain. The potential for altering hydrology and/or removing important riparian vegetative cover concerns us as this would have a negative impact on an already sensitive creek, FOMC stated in its submission.

One of the other concerns is increased impermeable surfaces. Paved driveways and large rooftops act as a direct pathway for rainwater to enter the creek without having time to slowly soak into the ground. Increased impervious surfaces and lack of natural vegetation along the creek can lead to increased flash flows and flooding that could not only impact the residents at the subject property but potentially other residents downstream. Some solutions would be the use of permeable pavers or gravel that would allow rain to slowly soak into the ground as well as increasing the natural vegetative buffer along the creek.

Here is the FOMC submission to the March 4, 2019, public hearing:

373 Victoria proposal timeline

  • Developer withdrew proposal from consideration until a future date

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