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May. 20, 2022 | Friday
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Residents oppose York Road development
Not everyone was happy about a construction proposal on York Road. (Dariya Baiguzhiyeva/Niagara Now)

A number of St. Davids residents expressed concerns over a rezoning application at 1490 York Rd. during Monday’s committee of the whole meeting in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

The proposed development would consist of three new family houses and one retained home on the north side of York Road, with all four houses belonging to one family.

Frank Ierfino of R & A. Rusit & Associates Ltd. and Quartek Group planner Susan Smyth were at the meeting to represent the property owner Bernhard Peters. They told council the project conformed to local, regional and provincial policies.

The town planner Jesse Auspitz also said there were no objections from the Town, though it’s possible fire hydrants or a turn-around on the street would be required for fire and emergency services.

When meeting chair Gary Burroughs asked if anyone was in opposition to the project, four residents took turns speaking out.

Some of the main issues raised by the public included the removal of trees, fire safety, drainage and environmental issues.

“St. Davids is being exploited,” said Paul Fenwick who has lived in the village for about 15 years.

He mentioned the Tree Inventory and Preservation Plan Report which states there are 27 trees and two tree polygons on the property. In total, it makes up to 53 trees.

Out of 53 trees, only six would be preserved, he said. “Enough is enough.”

“There is no benefit to St. Davids as a whole. It is not what the community is about,” said resident, Jason Marchand.

“I would encourage to whoever is in charge of this project, to take their dog and walk along that thing and see. Spatially this doesn’t make sense when you walk by it.”

Another St. Davids resident Bruno Criveller said he is concerned the approval could set a precedent for other residents who may ask to do the same thing on their properties.

St. Davids resident Blair Harber was the last one to speak, saying there are “a lot of unknowns” about the development.

“I refer to this as a ‘perpendicular development.’ I don’t really think it’s a good way to build houses in a village such as St. Davids.”

After the meeting, Peters told The Lake Report the number of removed trees provided by the residents was “over-exaggerated.”

“The trees that are getting cut down are just pine trees. I plan on putting spruces up because I want privacy also,” he said. “So I’m going to be planting cedars to block the neighbours out myself.”

He also said there was only one neighbour who “really might lose some of her privacy but if I put a seeder hedge over there, it’ll be actually nicer than what she has now.”

Ierfino said the project will be built over a five- or a ten-year period and that it will “give vegetation time to establish itself, grow and be at a height that will provide the privacy.”

Smyth told the paper she would consider the comments and look at the tree reservation plan to reconfirm the number of trees that will be affected.