Staff have recommended approval of a rezoning application for 4880 Valera Road in Alton to permit 414 residential units in the form of a 9 and 10 storey apartment building with commercial uses at grade, townhouses and back-to-back townhouses.
The Planning & Development Committee discussed the application Sept. 17 and referred it to Council Sept. 24 (6:30 pm) for a final vote. Residents can attend, watch the meeting online, or Register as a Delegation to speak.
The application seeks to rezone the site from Neighbourhood Commercial to Residential with one 9 storey and one 10 storey tower with one commercial unit on the ground floor, along with residential at grade and above; and 70 townhouse units, both standard and back to back; including 14 freehold units facing Valera Road. The density is 184.3 units per hectare.
In light of public and council feedback, the applicant revised the application:
- to provide additional terracing on the westerly apartment building to provide compatibility with surrounding development, the height of the westerly apartment building was also increased from 8 storeys to 9 storeys;
- redesigned and expanded the commercial space proposed to provide increased visibility and enhanced connections to the site;
- reconfigured the site to provide improved pedestrian connections and a consolidated amenity space; and
- to provide additional parking for the apartment uses and visitor parking for the street townhouses.
Full vehicular access is provided off Valera Road, as a well as right-in-right out access to Appleby Line. The development is anticipated to generate 127 new trips during the morning peak hour and 169 new vehicular trips in the evening peak hour.
Several roadway improvements are recommended by the applicant and supported by staff. These include:
- An additional westbound left turn lane on Thomas Alton Blvd to Valera Road;
- Extension of the left turn lane at the intersection of Thomas Alton and Appleby Line.
My Take: Generally, the application fits with the site, given it’s on a main road not in the interior of a neighbourhood. The modifications to the plan for parking, turning lanes, and terracing of the apartment buildings improve the project. However, residents remain concerned about added density in an already congested area, and strain on parking. Parking is reduced by 20%, with 788 required under the existing bylaw, but 640 provided (note: the new parking standards used in the report are draft only and have not been approved by council). The amenity/park space is about 20% of what the city is entitled to under the Planning Act. I brought a motion to increase the parking, and the project was referred to the council meeting (referral takes precedence over motions). I will support the application with increases to parking and amenity space (which would reduce units).