Two special council meetings were held last week to notify the public about a new potential subdivision in the Village. The meetings, on Tuesday, November 17, were held one after the other to make sure to accommodate all interested Merrickville-Wolford residents, while adhering to social distancing protocols. The purpose of the meetings was to address the draft plan of subdivision and a zoning by-law amendment for McLeans Landing Phase 2, which is set for the 3.5 hectare piece of land on the northwest corner of the junction of County Roads 15 and 16, to the west of Phase 1 of the McLeans Landing subdivision.
The draft plan of subdivision outlines 43 residential lots, which will be connected to municipal services. Most of these lots will contain single detached family dwellings; but the plan does allow for up to 6 semi-detached homes on lots that are larger than 540 m2 with a frontage of 18m or more. The maximum number of doors permitted, as per the proposed plan, is 49, if the developer takes advantage of all lots available to built semi-detached homes. The grading and servicing for McLean’s Landing Phase 2 was taken into consideration in the construction of Phase 1, and the new subdivision will utilize this infrastructure, including the stormwater pond that has already been put in place.
The zoning by-law amendment request is asking that the overall zoning of the property remain residential; but the minimum lot frontage requirement be lowered, from 18m to 15m, throughout the subdivision. The land is currently owned by Pat McBane; but, should the subdivision be approved, it will be turned over to Park View Homes to develop the property.
The first meeting, held at 6pm, was well attended, with many local residents present to learn more about the proposed subdivision and voice their concerns. Merrickville resident, Dan Black, spoke for a number of residents who had submitted a four-page letter to the municipality on Monday outlining a few of their concerns about the project, including the possibility that the construction may damage their foundations and water supply due to the blasting or hydraulic hoe hammering needed to work with the limestone that is present throughout the Village.
“Alice Street, Wallace Street, and along Read Street in particular, people are on well and septic,” he said. “And we just want some assurances from the developer and from the town that they will be careful or give us advance notice prior to any hammering occurring, because our wells could, in fact, be damaged.”
Although Dan made it clear that the group which wrote the letter is not opposed to the development, they are still concerned about the high-density nature of the subdivision. “We do have concerns that it might change the overall character of what Merrickville is,” he said. “We’re seeing the slow erosion of the green space in Merrickville, we’re seeing certain species of animals slowly disappearing. We moved out to Merrickville years ago because we wanted to be in this rural setting, and I am concerned about what development might bring to the overall character and historical nature of the Village.”
As mentioned, the plan as outlined in the draft plan of subdivision is to have these new homes hook up to the village’s wastewater treatment facility. This could relieve some burden on the current user base, as the village’s water rates have been notoriously high for years. This, however, is only if the current system has the capacity to take on an additional 49 new homes. Resident, Dan Dunlop, mentioned this at the meeting, looking for assurances that the wastewater treatment facility has capacity to service both the homes planned for the upcoming 99-unit Merrickville Grove subdivision, as well as McLean’s Landing Phase 2. “As we go through the approval process, we would not approve if we did not have capacity,” Mayor Doug Struthers said.
The comments from both public meetings, and anything that is received before December 9, will be taken into consideration and addressed by the municipality’s engineering consultant, Forbes Simon, of Jp2g. A report will be presented to council at the meeting of December 14, when council will decide whether to move ahead with approving the subdivision and the corresponding zoning by-law amendment.