Planning tribunal on future of prime Port Stanley land concludes
Published Wednesday, March 13, 2019 6:40PM EDT
After three long days of testimony and submissions, Port Stanley's residents are much closer to understanding the fate of the vacant lot near the main beach.
“I think it was a good three days. There was good evidence presented by both Central Elgin and Prespa,” says Prespa Group counsel Alan Patton.
Leading into the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT), both the Municipality of Central Elgin and Prespa Group came to an agreement on site use, density and parking requirements.
Then on the eve of day one of the hearing, Prespa conceded on the outstanding items of set back and step back.
“The municipality was presented its planning evidence and requirements of zoning regulations,” says municipal counsel Steve Gibson.
“The developer, though the course of the hearing, accepted, so from the municipal perspective, it’s important to recognize the requirement it set were accepted by the developer.”
Despite both sides giving the “thumbs up” under provincial policy and the official plan, residents were able to take the stand to make their case against the two proposed five-storey buildings.
They argued how this development could impact their street parking, shadowing and claimed these apartments would not 'fit' in their neighbourhood.
They even were able to convince the LPAT member to tour the site to get a feel for their concerns.
“It’s easy to easy to look at these things technically, but we wanted to humanize this process,” says Dan Ross of the Port Stanley Village Association.
“Our goal was to make this real through the eyes of residents. We’re not trying to keep development out of Port Stanley, we just want to keep it in line with village:”
In his closing argument, Patton stated despite residents opposing the project, planners see no adverse impacts.
“It’s never cut and dry until you get the decision,” says Patton, “However the fact that Central Elgin and Prespa came to a fundamental agreement, I believe we’ve done what we set out to do. In the end, myself and my client believe people will look back at this and say ‘What was all the fuss about?' It will be a great thing for Port Stanley."
The tribunal wrapped up late Wednesday afternoon but LPAT member Anne Milchberg won’t make a decision for a couple of months. She says there is a backlog at the tribunal.
If the development is approved, it will go to Site Plan. If all goes well, Prespa owner Frank Schreffi says construction on the first, 30-unit building facing south onto Edith Cavell Blvd could begin as early as the spring.