Residents of a north end Charlottetown neighbourhood are worried that a proposed development is going to create traffic problems the area just can’t handle.
Last month, city council voted 7-3 to approve a lot consolidation that will see three apartment buildings built on Trainor Street. Each of the buildings would contain 20 units.
The residential neighbourhood contains a network of streets that is bordered by Lower Malpeque Road and Malpeque Road.
“That’s a serious concern,’’ said John Barrett, a resident of Katie Drive which connects to Trainor Street, who is speaking for the residents group.
“Even now with just the traffic that’s in the neighbourhood, trying to turn left onto Malpeque Road in the mornings is next to impossible. Trying to turn left into Lower Malpeque Road from the other exit in the neighbourhood is next to impossible.’’
The apartment buildings would have access on to Katie Drive and Trainor Street.
Barrett said that could mean up to 120 additional cars moving through the neighbourhood.
Barrett said there is also a super mailbox on Irwin Drive, which is just off Malpeque Road, and a bus stop, all factors to consider with the increase in traffic.
Mayor Philip Brown and members of council have been inundated with calls and emails from dozens of residents in the neighbourhood.
On June 1, there was a planning board meeting held where a recommendation was brought forward to consider the consolidated of two lots on Trainor Street.
The board voted 7-3 that council reject the consolidation request.
Just the facts
The following information applies to the properties three 20-unit apartment buildings are proposed for:
- The two properties are zoned C-2, which allows for apartment buildings.
- The smaller of the two properties, which fully fronts onto Trainor Street, is slightly more than an acre and allows for 36 units, as-of-right, without the need for a lot consolidation.
- The other parcel is about five acres which would allow an additional 120-plus units if the owner were to choose to develop with that type of use.
- The large parcel has a piece that fronts onto Trainor Street as well.
A week later, council voted 7-3 (with councillors Jason Coady, who represents the area, Mitchell Tweel and Bob Doiron opposed) in favour of the consolidation request.
“When a 70 per cent majority is reached council should perhaps follow the direction they’re being given,’’ Barrett said in reference to the board’s initial vote.
“Why have the planning board in the first place?’’
Coun. Greg Rivard, chairman of the planning and heritage committee, said the application was for a lot consolidation only and that the properties in question are both zoned C-2, and apartments are one of many permitted uses within this zone.
“Without the lot consolidation the applicant would still have an as-of-right to build a (36-unit) apartment,’’ Rivard said, adding that planning staff recommended approval of the lot consolidation request to the board and to council, and that weighed significantly when it came to the council vote.
“I believe the consensus was the lot consolidation would eliminate the street frontage from the large parcel of land which would eliminate future access onto Trainor. Thirty-six units are permitted as-of-right. By allowing the lot consolidation and the additional 24 units, future access from any development on the large parcel would be essentially blocked, eliminating the potential for much greater traffic.’’
As for the residents’ concerns over traffic, Rivard said the developer had a professional traffic study done, which planning staff reviewed. Barrett said residents in the neighbourhood have been denied access to that study.
Rivard said he isn’t suggesting for a second that 36 or 60 units wouldn't increase traffic, but the study indicated there is no issue.
Barrett said they are not opposed in any way to the proposed apartment buildings but are furious over how the process arrived to this point.
Barrett said he and other residents only found out about all of this on June 28, about 24 hours before the appeal process was set to expire. Residents have 21 days following a council vote to appeal the matter to the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission.
Barrett said they are very disappointed the area councillor, Jason Coady, or anyone else didn’t give them a heads up that this was taking place.
However, Barrett said they were able to get in just under the wire. The group has formally asked council for a reconsideration of the vote on the lot consolidation and, depending on how that goes, will appeal the matter to the commission.