Council sends highrise proposal back to the drawing board
A developer’s last minute pledge to keep working with city planners wasn’t enough to salvage a high rise proposal across from Fanshawe College.
Council refused an application by Red Maple Properties to build a 24-storey (259 unit) student-oriented building at the corner of Oxford Street and Ayreswood Avenue overlooking Fanshawe College.
At the November 22 meeting of the Planning and Environment Committee, councillors backed a staff report stating the proposed building would be double the permitted height on the property according to The London Plan, and would exceed the capacity of the sewer connection along Second Street.
Subsequently, in a letter sent November 30 a planning consultant for the developer asked that the rezoning request be sent back to municipal staff for revision because, “All matters relating to this proposal are open for further meaningful review.”
Several councillors, however, took exception to the last minute offer to adjust the proposal, noting the application to develop the site has been under review with the planning department since September 2020 with little movement to meet existing zoning restrictions.
Councillor Helmer told colleagues the letter expressing a desire to change the proposal was, in his opinion, an attempt to salvage substantial application fees already paid to city hall.
A motion to refer the application back to staff lost 7-8, subsequently Council rejected the application 13-2.
Council’s decision to refuse the application means redevelopment of the property goes back to square one.
Afterwards, Mayor Ed Holder said Council sent a message to the developer, “Give it a try based on what the rules are around the city in terms of what we can and can’t accept. We’ve shown flexibility often, but this is one where it was well beyond the range of flexibility from my standpoint.”