Tecumseh wants townhomes not apartment buildings

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On Tuesday April 24, 2018 Rosati Construction a development firm, proposed an amendment to the subject property’s zoning to change it from an “Institutional Zone” (I) to a site-specific “Residential Type Three Zone” (R3).  This would allow for the construction of a residential subdivision consisting of a maximum of 22 townhouse units and one, four-storey apartment building containing a maximum of 55 units on the northside of Tecumseh Road at its intersection with Dorset Park, directly overlooking St. Andre's Catholic Elementary School.  

 The Town of Tecumseh “is a suburban residential community within the metropolitan Windsor”.  The majority of the residences in these neighborhoods are single-story, owner occupied, and the density averages 2 to 4 people-per-dwelling. Rosati, however, proposes to construct 77 units on enough land to accommodate only a maximum of 44 units under current town policy. Rosati is not asking for a small increase in density but almost a full 50% more units per hectare than is typically allowed.

 We, the undersigned are strongly opposed to the rezoning to a “Residential Type Three Zone” (R3) of Medium designation from an Institutional zone, as well as the construction of four-story apartment building on Tecumseh Road.  There are legitimate concerns regarding public safety and livability that can be better addressed if included at the front end of the planning process.  These concerns are outlines in greater detail below.

 We, the undersigned are strongly in favour to the rezoning of this land for the construction of townhomes or semi detached low rise units only. We feel this development would meet the towns interests of residential intensification and diversification of housing stock.

 Flooding and Sewage Backups:

This proposed development is located within the limit of Lake St. Clair’s Flood Prone Area.  The water table in this area sits very high. In the past 5 years, this flood prone hazardous land has seen 2 storms that have resulted in massive flooding and basement damage to homes in the area.  Any excavation work could have serious adverse impact upon the the already unstable existing structure. 77 new units with a possibility of 150-200 new residents to our small area would further strain an already inadequate system. Of further concern, this is not the only new development to be added to this small area; a 71 unit 5 story condo and retail development is already in process at the former Pud’s Marina at Brighton and Old Tecumseh Road.  

Many days during and after rainstorms children at St. Andre’s Catholic Elementary School, D.M. Eagle Public School, Tecumseh Soccer participants and Tecumseh Baseball players are not able to play in the fields due to flooding.  This proposed structure would further strain the fields and parks surrounding this development and further impact their use, especially during spring months.

If sewage and drainage conditions are not suitable for existing residents of this area, how can the city propose an increase in further development and specifically rezoning to a MEDIUM-sized density without first addressing these present concerns.

The Town of Tecumseh has identified the goal of developing policies and regulations to safeguard new and existing residents to flooding and sewage backup.  The Town needs to limit the constructions of buildings and structures until this goal is achieved. Planning authorities need to consider the potential impacts of climate change that may increase the natural hazardous risk of flooding associated with this flood prone area.

Traffic Flow, Sidewalks and Parking:

Traffic is a major concern.  At the present time traffic can be very heavy, often be backed up from Arlington to D.M Eagle in the mornings and at school pick up.  Tecumseh Road, although designated as an arterial road runs directly through our quiet residential area. Collector Roads designated for movement of moderate volumes of traffic between local arteries include St. Gregory’s Road, Arlington Blvd., Riverside Drive and Brighton Road are so busy residents must back into their driveway to try to safely exit against speeding vehicles.

This new development would mean another 83-150 cars at minimum driving on our residential streets, resulting in substantial traffic flow increases on local streets. In addition, a new 71 unit condo and retail development at the former Pud’s Marina will add 163 on-site parking spaces. Combined this could mean a minimum of 300 new cars driving in our area on a daily basis! These two new developments will drown out our once quiet area with traffic.

With other new developments not in place yet we need to acclimate to the development that has already occurred and that which is already underway before adding more. This is not the type of traffic we want in our suburban neighbourhood.  

Most roads in this area do not have sidewalks, making increased traffic unsafe for pedestrians and problematic for residents.  Many parents and residents feel it is unsafe for their children to walk to school (St. Andre’s and D.M. Eagle) due to the high density of traffic and failure of drivers to slow down and stop appropriately. There are few crosswalks and even less where a warning light are visible.  The capacity of this road system is not adequate to accommodate the projected increase in traffic for a medium-density development.

This community feels that at minimum further traffic studies need to be completed prior to any new development along Tecumseh Road.  It is a conflict of interest for the Rosati company to complete their own traffic study related to a development that will only benefit their interests. Without this information, it would be irresponsible for council to approve a rezoning to an R3 for development.

As per the Rosatti Development proposal presented April 24th, 2018 at the Town of Tecumseh Public Forum, Rosati only plans to add 110 parking spaces for 77 units (townhomes and apartment units combined). This only amounts to 1.4 parking spaces per unit when the average homeowner owns 2 cars per family household. In comparison, the Pud Marina Development proposes 163 spaces for 71 units – an estimate that is more proportional to car ownership.  Rosati’s parking plans do not seem sufficient for the allocated units. This is concerning to existing residents as this may result in additional cars parking along Dorset Park on the south side of Tecumseh Road. Thereby, negatively impacting the availability of their parking. It does not seem that this is sufficient space for the allocated units. The construction of townhomes only on this small 1.74 hectare parcel of land who allow for ample parking for the new residents of this street.

New Developments:

Ward 2 is slowly being squeezed by condos and apartment complexes from all sides of its small ward.  First, was the development of Village Grove Townhomes and condo buildings, then the addition of a low rise building at 250 Manning Road, homes in Lakewood Park, St. Clair Beach Retirement Community on Riverside drive and the new proposed 71 unit condo building at the old Puds Marina. Residents understand the need to have a diverse housing stock to serve a diverse cross section of residents, but it seems as though Ward 2 is the only area receiving this type of development.

Tecumseh has the highest rate of higher density housing at 17.9%, in comparison Amherstburg 14.7%, Lasalle 12.9% and Lakeshore 6.1%.  Planning is already in place to add a highrise apartment building along Tecumseh Road at Shawnee, as well a low rise building is currently in process of being built on Lesperance across from St. Antoine. The addition of townhomes only by Rosati on Tecumseh Road would provide further diversification without the need for high rise style development.

In recent years multiple new areas have been developed in the Tecumseh area such as along Amy Croft north of E.C Row Expressway and Carmelita at the site of the old Ste. Anne’s high school. These would have been ideal places to develop apartment and condo high rise buildings, rather than trying to awkwardly insert this type of development into an already established residential area. Residents understand the need to have a diverse housing stock. We need to ensure that future residential development is established on a staged basis and most importantly, we want to ensure that this development is to scale and meets the characteristic uniqueness of this specific area.  Townhomes meet the requirements of residential intensification and diversification as well as meeting the scale and characteristic feel of this area.

Parklands/Green Space Preservation of Wildlife:

One of the town of Tecumseh’s goals is to protect parklands and green spaces. There has been a slow erosion of these green spaces. 7.5 Hectares of Lakewood Golf Course has already had major development including two medium density buildings and residential homes. Lakewood golf course at the waterfront has seen the addition of the St. Clair Beach Retirement home. Rosatti Development hasn’t made any green space available in this development for 77-300 new people.  77 units with no usable outdoor space, places of play for kids or respite for adults does not enhance our parklands and town.

There was no indication by Rosati at the town meeting on April 24, 2018 as to whether trees would be planted to replace those removed at St. Andre’s Catholic Elementary School. As well, the community wants to preserve it’s hill in Green Acres Park. This is a very attractive asset to this area and community residents from across Tecumseh utilize this feature during both the summer and winter months.

The construction of townhomes or semi detached low rise units would maximum green space to this small parcel of land and tie in with the existing park structure seamlessly.

Loss of Privacy/Setback and Buffering:

A four to five story apartment complex is not well integrated and to scale with the rest of the adjacent community. A four story unit would be the tallest building by two whole stories in the immediate area when considering all buildings from Brighton west to Manning Road. This building would be taller than L’Essor high school, the library and all churches in the area and would dominate over all other structures for blocks.  

Rosati Development proposes to such variances as minimum yard depths and maximum density and height. The proposed apartment building would leave only 25 feet from the Catholic Elementary School (St. Andre’s) and other residential properties, with a 6 foot fence - not adequate as a visual barrier for a 4 story building.  The general compatibility of the proposed apartment building with the adjacent parcel of land would not adequately protect the privacy of the surrounding residential properties as well as the students of the Catholic Elementary School. Instead, the addition of townhomes and semi detached low rise units would mean the protection of privacy for both students and residents alike.

Conclusion

As residents of Tecumseh, we support the construction of housing in character with our neighborhood. We advocate for new development that is sensitive in its design and is compatible in scale and character with its surroundings such as town-homes and or semi detached low rise units. This type of low rise development would meet the town’s need to diversify housing stock, residential intensification and would still be a welcome addition for an aging demographic.  

This petition is supported by concerned citizens, and strongly urges the Town of Tecumseh to reject the proposal for rezoning to a Residential Type Three Zone (R3) of Medium designation (from an Institutional Zone), as well as the construction of four-story apartment building on Tecumseh Road. With some creative and thoughtful planning this area could be developed in a way that would compliment this unique area of Tecumseh.

We hope you consider our concerns when addressing the rezoning of this land.

 



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