Jeff Heuchert, Gazette staff
A proposed 29-unit apartment development for the city’s south end is running into opposition from a nearby automotive parts manufacturer.
Pol Quality Homes has submitted an application to the city to rezone 431 St. Vincent St. S. – site of the former Portia school. The development calls for the adaptive re-use of the building by adding an additional one-and-a-half to two storeys, as well as a separate two-storey building to the north.
The development conforms with the city’s official plan and would contribute to the mix of housing in the neighbourhood, planner Caroline Baker told councillors at a public meeting last week.
The development would maintain the existing road setbacks and, with a proposed 46 spaces, would also meet the city's bylaw requirements for parking, Baker noted.
“We see this as a wonderful opportunity to use an existing building that served its purpose and has been vacant for some time,” she added.
The property in question lies directly to the west of Stackpole International, a large manufacturing plant located on Monteith Avenue.
To help buffer the noise coming from the facility, the developer is proposing landscaping and an approximately two-metre high solid wood fence. Baker said her client is also open to having a notice about the noise put on the rental agreement.
Lawyer Katie DeBlock Boersma, who attended the meeting on behalf of Stackpole, said the company is concerned about the additional noise complaints the development is sure to bring, even with a fence or clause.
She noted the company already receives enough complaints that it has had to develop a standard procedure for dealing with them.
She said the apartments would be 40 metres from the factory’s loading area, while the Ministry of the Environment recommends a 70-metre distance between residential development and a Class 2 noise facility such as Stackpole.
“Stackpole’s operations run 24/7, so this kind of noise of the loading, unloading, deliveries – that wouldn’t just be day noise, that would be evenings and weekends,” she said.
DeBlock Boersma added the apartment dwellings as proposed would not be compatible with the duplexes and single family homes in the neighbourhood.
Addressing concerns raised by several councillors regarding the fence, Baker said alternatives are a more solid fence like you see along highways or a berm. As for the buildings themselves, she said double glazed windows and central air conditioning are the most common components for mitigating noise.
During public comments, city resident Jack West noted Portia school only ever had an eight-foot chain-link fence when it was open.
“So there was no sound buffer during all those decades,” he said.
Council will consider the development with staff input at a later meeting.