Rezoning 26.6 hectares of land on Booth Road will make the property compatible with existing use and also provide protection for wetlands in the area, an agent for the land’s owner told city council Monday night.
Rick Miller represents Marshall Park Developments Ltd., which owns the property and is seeking to have it rezoned in North Bay’s Official Plan from general industrial to residential.
Miller said Marshall Park’s property sits across the street from existing residential development, and the developers would use it to build a combination of town houses and single and semidetached homes.
“We think it will be a good fit and a good use of the land,” Miller told council at a public meeting.
Wetlands make up one-third of the property, Miller said, and those would be protected from development.
As well the developer would also dedicate a strip of the land for use as part of the Kate Pace Way.
“Our clients are very interested in making the Kate Pace Way part of this development, and something that will benefit the whole neighbourhood,” Miller said, “and people won’t have to run along the shoulder of the road any longer, and certainly that will be an improvement.”
Miller added Marshall Park wanted to seek zoning and Official Plan changes first before deciding how many units and what mix of housing would be built.
Chief city planner Ian Kilgour said the property in question has been vacant “forever,”
and while it has been marketed for industrial purposes over the years “they’ve had some hits but there’s never been any follow-through on the property.”
Kilgour said re-designating the property would mark “a fundamental shift, obviously” in land use.
But he’s consulted the city’s economic development office to see if rezoning the property would be of concern.
“Their correspondence to us was that this was not the most ideal industrial location, that it had its challenges, and it wouldn’t be a loss to the industrial land bank of the city, not a critical loss anyway,” Kilgour said.
And because the subject lands are close to existing housing, Kilgour said “it does bring more residentially developable property on that can be serviced readily without large capital improvements and at the same time maintaining the natural features of the area.”
The North Bay Mattawa Conservation Authority has reviewed the proposal, Kilgour pointed out, and it has “no objection” to it, since the wetlands will be protected.
No homes would be built in an area of the property designated as a flood plain, Kilgour said, and “those lands that are going to residential but still have flooding potential, the conservation authority and our building department would require them to be built to a flood elevation with higher windows and doors.”
Coun. Maureen Boldt, concerned about “grumblings” she’s heard from residents “suggesting we’re selling off another parkland that they’ve enjoyed for years,” asked for Kilgour’s reassurance that no surplus parkland would be lost if the rezoning was approved.
Kilgour said the land has never been owned by the city nor had it been designated parkland.
“There are numerous parts of the land in the city that are in a vacant state or a natural state or a vacant state that are enjoyed by the citizens of North Bay,” Kilgour said.
“That’s a luxury not a right.”
Coun. Tom Graham asked whether sidewalks would be included, because Booth is such “a busy road.”
Kilgour said since Booth is considered a collector road, details like that would be negotiated as part of a subdivision agreement.
A storm water management plan would also be required as well as an archaeological assessment before the project could move forward.
But Miller said a Stage Two archaeological assessment had already been done, and approved by the provincial Culture Ministry.