Rezoning of 2170 Postmaster Drive

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 RE: Proposed Zoning By-law Amendment – 2170 Postmaster Drive, Block 107, Plan 20M-696, Branthaven West Oak Inc. (“Branthaven”) – File No. Z.1427.13, Ward 4 

The neighbourhood surrounding 2170 Postmaster Drive (“subject property”) has received statutory notice of proposed rezoning of the subject property from Community Use to Residential Medium Density Zones: RM1 and RM2. As per the same notice, in conjunction with the proposed rezoning, Branthaven has filed for development of 59-townhomes in the subject property which are non-compliant with parent provisions of RM1 and RM2 zones. The undersigned residents surrounding the subject property (further referenced as “we” or “our”), appeal to the Council of the Town of Oakville (the “Town”) not to rezone the subject property. We also firmly oppose the proposed Residential Medium Density development of 59-townhomes and request that the Council certainly refrains from permitting such blatant non-compliance with parent provisions of RM1 and RM2 zones. Non-adherence with our Town’s explicit zone standards allows developers to irresponsibly increase the density of acreage at a great cost to the well-being of mature and pre-established communities, thereby increasing risks to the safety of our children given the expected increase in traffic. 

Note: our views and observations represent a typical pre-Covid-19 landscape and not the current unusual but transient circumstances. We present the following reasons to support our appeal against the proposed rezoning by-law amendment and Branthaven’s 59-unit Residential Medium Density development plan of the subject property: 

Traffic congestion a safety concern: Traffic site access estimates for the proposed 59-unit Residential Medium Density development have been grossly underestimated. The Traffic Impact Study submitted by R. V. Anderson on behalf of Branthaven estimates 6 vehicles exiting south via Postmaster, 14 exiting east on Westoak Trails at peak hour AM; 5 entering from the south via Postmaster, 16 entering from the east on Westoak Trails at peak hour PM. On the contrary, we estimate that a 59-unit, on average 2-car per household development translates to about 118 additional cars on our streets. It is inconceivable to expect only about 20 cars (less than 20%) to enter and exit during peak hours from 59 proposed homes! For comparative purposes, one of the streets directly opposite the subject property with 12 detached single-family homes has about 25 cars. On a daily basis at least 20 of these vehicles (about 80%) enter and exit the street at peak hours during a typical workday. In fact, the traffic impact assessment was not rooted on data specific to our neighbourhood at all, as mentioned in section 8.0 of the study, “[...] Collection of traffic data at the intersection of Westoak Trails Boulevard and Postmaster Drive is not possible. Furthermore, historical traffic data for the intersection was not available from the Town. Therefore, traffic counts were not completed at the intersection for the purpose of this study [...]”. As such, we highlight that the Traffic Impact Study submitted for the purposes of rezoning is inaccurate and paints a false narrative of negligible impact on traffic operations rather than expected congestion which is a significant safety concern for our children. Moreover, additional traffic inevitably means additional delays for working families of existing communities driving via Third Line or Bronte Road to and from the GO train station during peak hours. Already peak-hour trip times to the GO station from streets surrounding the subject property have increased from about 7 minutes, 10 years ago, to over 20 minutes prior to the pandemic. An additional 90+ cars (about 80% of estimated new cars from the subject property) during peak hours into the traffic flow will not be negligible, as the study claims, but extremely disruptive. 

Dangerous shortcuts put children at risk: Signal light avoidance is rampant especially during peak hours. Drivers are known to use Village Squire, Peachtree, and Golden Orchard as signal bypass streets, thereby gravely endangering our kids. Heavier flow of traffic in and out of the subject property directly north of these signal bypass streets adds to the dangers our children face and doesn’t comply with our Town’s goals for safer communities. 

Inadequate visitor parking: Visitor parking overflow is another major concern. The site concept plan indicates 11 spaces for the proposed 59-unit Residential Medium Density development, which we deem as grossly insufficient. Inevitably, adjoining streets bear the brunt of overflow visitor parking, leaving our visitors with fewer parking options, our streets congested, and our children, who play on the street, at greater risk of being run over. 

 Incompatibility with existing neighbourhood: The proposed 59-unit Residential Medium Density development is not consistent with our predominantly low-density residential area (as described in section 3.1 of the aforementioned Traffic Impact Study) that complies with up to 29 dwellings per site hectare. As specified in the official 2018 Livable Oakville Plan Part D Section 11.1.9. 

– a) development, including scale, height, massing, architectural character and materials, is to be compatible with the surrounding neighbourhood; proposed 59 dwellings vs. existing up to 29 dwellings per site hectare are not in the least compatible in scale. 

– b) development should be compatible with the setbacks, orientation and separation distances within the surrounding neighbourhood; for example, the proposed development of 20 2-storey townhomes backing a row of 7 existing lots is hardly compatible in terms of scale or separation distances. 

– d) proposed lotting pattern of development shall be compatible with the predominant lotting pattern of the surrounding neighbourhood; the proposed development with 10% minimum landscaping per lot and accordingly 90% maximum dwelling coverage per lot is not at all compatible with existing lots of 35% maximum dwelling coverage. 

– Hence, the proposed 59-unit Residential Medium Density development is not compatible with our predominantly low-density neighbourhood on several counts of scale, height, massing, separation distances, and lotting pattern. 

Original Livable Oakville Plan zoning: Let’s be clear, imposition of the proposed 59-unit Residential Medium Density development on designated Community Use land goes against the original Livable Oakville Plan zoning done in 1995/96. Undoubtedly, planners at the time had recognized that blocks of designated residential homes and communities would be better served with an area for Community Use land such as a Public Park/Playground. Also, 59 additional families to the area puts added pressure on local schools already struggling to return to normalcy. We appeal to the Council to honour the original zoning strategy and not crowd and crush a mature, predominantly low-density community with Residential Medium Density housing that further seeks exemptions from compliance with the following standard RM1 and RM2 zoning provisions in the Town’s Zoning By-law 2014-014:

 

Yard frontage standards not observed: The proposed RM1 concept plan submitted seeks minimum front yard acreage amended to as little as 2.4m, rear yard acreage down to 2.0m, and minimum flankage yard acreage reduced to 2.0m which grossly undermines the Town’s parent provisions of minimum front yard acreage of 4.5m, minimum rear yard standard acreage of 6.0m, and minimum flankage yard acreage of 3.0m. 

– Smaller lots unnecessarily increase density: Requesting lot sizes to shrink from the standard 135m2 for both RM1 and RM2 zones down to 100m2 and 80m2 breaks with original standards and norms set by the Town, and would grossly and deliberately increase the density of an established, mature community beyond allowable limits set by the Town. 

– Privacy destroyed: In the surrounding neighbourbood that adheres to maximum standard building height of 12.0m, the proposed much taller 13.5m 3-storey townhouses will be intrusive and destroy the privacy of pre-established communities rather than minimize privacy impact on adjacent properties as specified in the official 2018 Livable Oakville Plan Part D Section 11.1.9 h). 

– Sun blockage: The proposed Residential Medium Density 3-storey townhouses will also block a substantial portion of daily sunlight over pre-established homes with mature yard landscaping south of Westoak Trails. Hence, minimizing the impact of microclimatic conditions such as shadowing on adjacent properties as specified in the official 2018 Livable Oakville Plan Part D Section 11.1.9 h) is also being ignored. 

We urge the Council to maintain the integrity of our predominantly low-density neighbourhood and allow for a much valued Public Park/Playground space on the existing Community Use subject property rather than disruptively rezone as Residential Medium Density acreage. We also exhort the Council to preserve our Town’s explicit parent provisions for RM1 and RM2 zones, thereby rejecting Branthaven’s request for non-compliance with the Town’s zoning standard provisions. In our desire to promote a more livable Oakville with a vibrant mix of land use and housing options, let’s not destroy the livability of our cherished, existing neighbourhoods.    

 

 

Thank you and best regards, 

Residents surrounding the subject property