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Fawcettville sub-division would bring 85 homes to Picton’s fringe

By Sharon Harrison
Eighty-five new residential homes are proposed for Picton’s Fawcett Avenue, west of County Road 49, to include a mix of 31 single detached dwellings and 54 townhouses – but they are not expected to be “affordable”.

“The short answer is, no affordable housing is proposed, and I don’t have an idea now what the starting prices will be,” said Kelsey Jones, senior planner with Kingston-based planning consultants, Fotenn Planning and Design said, “At this stage, they are not proposed to be affordable; but what they will do is contribute to an increased housing stock in the County which overall increases the availability for purchasers”.

An application for a draft plan of sub-division, official plan amendment, and a zoning bylaw amendment have been submitted by the applicant, Eric DenOuden president of Belleville-based Hilden Homes Limited, for the proposed new sub-division.

Tuesday evening saw about two dozen residents attend a public information meeting at the Prince Edward Community Centre, where an overview of the details of the development proposal were outlined by Jones in a short presentation, followed by a question/answer session.

In attendance were Matt Coffey, approvals planning co-ordinator and Michael Michaud, manager of planning (both with the County), developer Eric DenOuden, president of Hilden Homes, along with councillor John Hirsch, of South Marysburgh ward.

Attending the small but vocal public gathering, were many of whom live in Fawcettville, or nearby the proposed development. They expressed numerous concerns, where the conversation turned a little testy a few times with some residents clearly frustrated with the process.

There was much said about the tearing up of trees on an adjacent property owned by the same developer, a lack of confidence in the developer’s intentions to build, increased traffic, noise and safety issues, and the degrading of property values.

The large size of the stormwater management pond was an issue for some, the use of ATVs accessing the new sub-division to get to the Millennium Trail was an issue for anothers – but it was the lack of sidewalks and the lack of consideration for young children using the street and walking to school bus stops that aroused the most debate.

Several noted concern about the lack of sidewalks existing, as well as a lack of sidewalks proposed for the new sub-division, noting a new sub-division inviting families with children needs sidewalks, even if only on one side of the street.

Other questions that arose included how, and if, new roads would connect to other roads in adjacent sub-divisions. And the owners of the three residences whose properties are at the entrance (and is owned by them) to the proposed new sub-division also spoke up, noting it to be the only entrance to the construction site, also likely containing the site office.

“We’ll have to endure all the heavy vehicles coming in through that for so many years, that’s what we face because you are providing one way in and out,” said one resident. “It should be investigated because for two years, it’s going to be hell in our community.”

DenOuden said the company has built throughout Prince Edward County for the last 25 years, and has a current project on-going in Carrying Place involving a lot of development.

“I’ve likely registered 25 plans of sub-division since 1986 since my first one. Every time I went through a process like this, I’ve personally developed it and built the houses, so I’m a little offended,” said DenOuden. “I’ve been doing this for 40 years, registered sub-divisions through the whole Quinte area, and I’ve never speculated on my end, never sold land that I had brought to this stage.”

One man asked about timing and when the first homes would be built, to which Jones said it would be at least a year away, so 2026, at the absolute earliest.

Another felt it was premature to be building now, concerned about “a significant lack of infrastructure in Fawcettville. “We have no sidewalks, we have no retail footprint interior, we have a traffic report that suggests only 70 cars during peak times will be on the street, yet every home in that development will have two cars, so that’s 160 cars”.

“All of these things when you look at the development in Picton has been on the west side of town and Foodland supports all of that,” he said, “We don’t have any retail footprint at all in our area. Every time we need to get something, we have to get in a car. There’s no walking to a store.”

“My concern is, is this a premature development of an area that has no infrastructure to support it? Why here, why now?” he added. “Why would we allow the bylaws to be changed to put a development in place when there is zero infrastructure in place to support the existing people in that community, never mind 85 new homes?”

The site represents the build-out of the western portion of the existing Fawcettville neighbourhood located about one kilometre north-east of downtown Picton, and it is proposed to be divided into 31 lots (Lots 1-31 for the detached dwellings) and 12 blocks (Blocks 32-43 for the townhouses).

Density would be 23 dwelling units per net hectare, stated to “represent an efficient use of under-utilized land within Picton’s urban centre”.

Jones’ report notes the minimum residential density requirements of 17.3 units per net hectare in new neighbourhood development, with a preferred target residential density of 25 units per net hectare, “slightly below the preferred target”.

The subject lands, 5.49 hectares, are located west of County Road 49, abutting the Millennium Trail, in the north-west end of the Picton settlement area. The site has approximately 20 metres of frontage on Fawcett Avenue and 200 metres of frontage on the Millennium Trail.

The site is vacant and undeveloped with mixed forested areas and an informal pedestrian trail connection to the Millennium Trail. It is noted that the site was used for agricultural purposes until 1962, and since, to present, the property has remained undeveloped and naturalized.

The site is currently zoned future development (FD) zone, with the rezoning application to urban residential 2 (for the detached dwelling) and 3 (for the townhouses) zone.

“The R2 zone, for the single detached dwellings, the proposed amendment includes a reduction to lot frontage and lot area requirements, and reduced front and side yard setbacks,” explained Jones. “For the R3 zone, for the townhouse blocks, it is proposed to reduce the interior yard setback and increase the lot coverage requirement, with these amendments intended to allow for a compact and more efficient sub-division layout.”

One member of the public asked the reason why townhouses were being included in the development, stating that he would rather see just single detached homes as townhouses would look out of place. Jones’ response was the range of types of homes complies with the provincial policy statement to increase density, as well as providing a mix of dwelling types for buyers.

It was noted a holding symbol is proposed for the stormwater management facility block which may be developed at a later date.

“There may be an opportunity in the future to combine or off-site stormwater facility in the future, and should that be the case, the on-site stormwater management facility would be no longer required, and would be an opportunity for that lot to be converted to residential lots.”

Jones confirmed the stormwater management facility, should it not be needed, would accommodate an additional seven single family dwellings, up to two-storeys in height (in addition to the 85 dwellings proposed) .

Vehicular access to the site would be provided from Fawcett Avenue, which connects to County Road 49 and it is proposed that if approved, the applicant would extend Fawcett Avenue to provide access to the development, along with the creation of two new proposed municipal roads.

“The proposed development provides a compact form of development that makes efficient use of land and has been designed to promote active transportation.”

The single detached, two-storey dwellings would be concentrated around the perimeter of the site.

“The strategic location of single detached dwellings will ensure a transition in residential density across the site and create a compatible interface with existing adjacent residential uses to the east,” noted Jones. “The single detached dwellings along the western boundary of the property, along proposed Street C, will animate the Millennium Trail.”

Each lot will have frontage on a local street, providing for private driveways and individual servicing connections, with two parking spaces for each of the detached homes and the townhouses.
Amenity space and landscaped open space for each property would be provided by front and rear yards.

The townhouse rows, two-storeys in height, would range between four to five residential units and will be primarily concentrated in the centre of the sub-division, along the new proposed municipal streets, “to animate the streetscape and transition density across the site”.

It is noted the surrounding area is predominantly comprised of residential uses with limited neighbourhood commercial uses along County Road 49. North of the site are institutional uses in the form of an assisted living facility and seniors’ apartments, as well as tourist commercial uses.

Adjacent to the site, to the east, is the existing community of Fawcettville, a residential neighbourhood containing primarily single-detached dwellings, a neighbourhood park, and convenience store at the intersection of Fawcett Avenue and County Road 49.

The site would be serviced by municipal water distribution system and sewer system, but is not currently serviced.

The 2017 master servicing report confirmed that the existing water treatment plant would be sufficient to accommodate the full build-out of the Picton east development area. The existing sanitary sewers on Fawcett Avenue have sufficient capacity to accommodate the proposed development, the report notes.

A traffic impact study prepared in June 2023 indicated the proposed development is anticipated to generate 66 automobile in-bound and outbound trips in the morning peak hours, and 77 automobile in-bound and outbound trips in the afternoon peak hours.

“It was concluded that the addition of the expected 77 peak-hour vehicle trips to County Road 49, would have a negligible effect on traffic operations.”

An environmental impact study (EIS) notes the property consists of a mix of forest, thicket and meadow vegetation.

“Based on a review of the criteria for significant woodland, the EIS confirmed the woodlands within the environmental protection area are not interpreted to be significant, and environmental protection on the subject property is not considered to be warranted as a result of the existing woodlands.”

Field investigations observed 44 butternut trees on the property -16 of which were determined to be retainable. Jones said it is intended to remove the majority of trees on the property.

“Through generally any type of residential sub-division, unfortunately trees for the most part cannot be retained, part of them being the need to re-grade, needing to install underground servicing for water and sanitary, re-grading in order to have adequate stormwater management control.

“Additionally, the EIS indicated there is potential for some species at risk to be found on the subject property, including little brown bat, northern long-eared bat, tri-colored bat, and eastern small-footed myotis. The EIS confirmed no significant woodlands, wetlands, valley lands, areas of natural or scientific Interest, significant wildlife habitat are on or adjacent to the property, therefore no impacts will occur.”

Next steps will include a statutory public planning meeting where the application will come before council for consideration and recommended action as advised by staff, expected later this spring according to Coffey.

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  1. Gary says:

    Fawcetville development makes good sense. We need growth and more water connections.

  2. SS says:

    @Teena that is absolutely true … the article you mentioned is an excellent example of what one individual achieved, in two years, with his own funding, creating a community that is clearly successful on many levels.

    This sort of village, ideally is one that is built within walking / biking distance to retail, so people don’t need cars to get their groceries, services, etc.

    The QE school location meets that criteria, as would a location near the Foodland complex. (And of course the Disraeli St. location would do nicely also.)

    The Fredriction community of 96 units was built by Marcel Lebrun with $13 million of his own money, in 2 years, from concept to completion. The story about the final move-in is here, from just this past week:

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/the-12-neighbours-community-final-house-fredericton-1.7176140

    The success of the Fredricton project proves that real results can be achieved a lot faster than the 6 years of existence of PECAHC, which has produced essentially nothing for almost $600K of spent funds, in the words of Mayor Ferguson at the recent Council meeting where Council approved a new $5 million “Line of Credit” which is intended only to pay consultants and architects, etc. (pre-construction).

    Not invented here, though. So, probably a non-starter, sadly.

  3. Willow says:

    A few comments on the proposed Fawcettville and Tulip Estates developments by Hilden Homes and however more there are on Councils radar.

    In Fawcettville the article states from a senior planner, “no affordable housing is proposed, and I don’t have an idea now what the starting prices will be.”

    I am not the only one that would like to have truly affordable residential housing for our families. It is ridiculous the prices. A banner is still displayed across from the Picton LCBO for port Picton developments, homes starting in the mid-$500K’s. That banner was put up and just after Council gave final approvals, amazingly the stating prices shot up $100-$200K. I have never seen new builds within $500K.

    Will there ever be affordable housing for those already living in the County? Young families and individuals are paying over $2K per month just to rent a home, paying down the mortgage of the actual home owner. Wouldn’t it be great if they could afford a new, or older home, within the County?

    For both newly proposed sub-divisions, again people bring up the major concern of the significant lack of infrastructure.

    The municipality needs money for another upgrade to, or an additional water treatment plant, larger pumps for the water plants to pump the water to the existing and new homes; we still need to rebuild Hwy 49 (and other roads). How much more can County residents afford to support after paying their property taxes?

  4. Teena says:

    Isn’t it about time someone with some authority “thought outside the box”? Watch this CBC video about a N.B. tiny home village complete after ‘cranking out’ a house a week for 2 years.

    https://www.cbc.ca/player/play/video/9.4205532

    Teena

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