Builder Patriot Properties has taken the next step toward getting approval for development at 96 Moore Street in St. Thomas, Ont.

“Last night, council endorsed a heritage easement agreement for Alma College,” says St. Thomas City Manager Wendell Graves.

Councillor Steve Peters was the lone voice of opposition to the easement at Monday’s meeting.

The rest of council approved the new commemorative features proposed by developer Michael Loewith on the site of the former all-girls school.

“It was important that it got the endorsement of council because it’s been a year in the making,” adds Graves.

“Today I’ve asked our solicitor and the solicitor for Patriot to get working so we can move this ahead to the tribunal.”

The heritage easement agreement would replace existing Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) order, which requires the replication of the Alma façade.

“There are two sides to the easement,” says Graves. “First is to preserve the front gateway and amphitheater, they’ll be locked down.

“Secondly there are a number of new commemorative pieces which will be outlined, including a forecourt with gardens incorporated into it. The footprint of Alma College will be resonated on the site plan, and a lot of commemorative plaquing.”

Council voted six months ago to apply to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT, which replaced the OMB) to have the order removed.

Should LPAT agree, they can go ahead with a site plan and begin construction on the property.

The planned development would have three large apartment buildings on the property.