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High-end ‘pods in a forest’ part of Adolphus Reach resort-style proposal

By Sharon Harrison
In the latest of many new proposed developments planned for Prince Edward County in recent months, a new proposal on County Road 7, described as a four-season resort, was revealed recently at the proposed site.

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A 25-acre parcel of land overlooking Adolphus Reach proposes 113 unique single family villas, without basements. Known as the Reach Resort, the property is located at 1315-1357 County Road 7, east of Picton.

The public open house, held at 1329 County Road 7, noted the project will offer resort and recreational amenities, including a multi-purpose club house, a sports area, a pool, and walking paths.

Property owners and a planning consultant hosted three separate sessions to accommodate COVID-19 safety protocols.

An unexpected power outage, apparently due to a downed tree nearby, added an additional challenge as darkness fell, along with heavy rain.

The four property owners, Del Terrelonge, Ron Angelotti, Robert Valenzano and Andrew Iacobelli, were all present to answer questions.

The four owners are friends and have been coming to the County for a number of years and note they have been coming up with a vision for the property, having studied the land for about three years.

While the site plan and some conceptual photos were on display inside, via a one-way system, the informal brief presentations were held outdoors at the front of the property to accommodate the number of attendees, numbering about 50 over the course of the evening.

While in its very early stages, the proposed development will require a Zoning Bylaw Amendment and Site Plan. No formal planning application has yet been filed with the municipality for the proposed development.

Property co-owner Del Terrelonge, an architect by trade and visionary for the project, said while they have had several informal discussions with the municipality about the concept, the first step will be to file a zoning application.

The planning consultant noted the property is currently zoned ‘rural residential’ and would need to be amended to ‘resort style’ zoning. Terrelonge said the zoning bylaws of ‘shoreline development’ allows for a resort development.

“Within that bylaw, it allows you to do a resort and there are a few definitions that you can have within that resort definition,” he said. “We are working within the context of what’s allowed.”

“After the zoning application, we will do a site plan application, said Terrelonge. “That will be specific to the units and what they look like on each of the sites.”

Mike Keene, land use planner with Fotenn Planning + Design, noted the proposed development complies with the Official Plan, as it currently stands, but would require a zoning bylaw amendment. However, when challenged about the new Official Plan (expected in early 2021), Keene said it was something that would need looking into.

“This open house is a chance to get to know you as neighbours and a chance to really showcase our project for you and sort out if there are concerns and address those matters,” Keene said.

“We happened upon this property about five years ago, and we liked the property and it has really good access to the water,” explained Terrelonge. “The intent was at some point to develop a resort-type of property, and we went through a few machinations just on what we were looking at and how it would work.”

He said they are looking at resort-style, but individual ownership under condominium management. The resort is described as very modern in its look, but hidden in the forest.

“You’ve got people actually wanting to be here, live here, vacation here, and they have pride in their homes.”

He said the idea is you don’t see much of it from the street.

“You don’t see a lot when you are in here, but as you walk through, then you would see these peaks of the architecture as you were walking through the property.”

The units would be pods in a forest, surrounded by nature.

“You have that serenity, that’s the concept,” he said. Each unit would occupy about 5,000 square foot of land.

Only one dwelling, the clubhouse, would be situated near the shoreline using the foundation of an existing house. The existing dwelling, which would be removed, is three storeys, with one dug into the ground.

Addressing concerns about the proposed clubhouse, Terrelonge said it will be a meeting space that the guests can use. He said it was not a bar or a restaurant.

The proposed development would include a sports complex for outdoor tennis courts for the exclusive use of the home owners.

“We may also fix the beaches, clean-up the beaches and the escapement so people can actually go down there and use the water.”

He said everything is hidden, including the ring road, which will be constructed not in the conventional way, but using turf stone, with grasses planted in between so the road won’t be seen and will blend into the landscape.

“It is not a paved road, it is something that would be integrated into the landscape,” said Terrelonge. “It feels like when you come off this main street [County Road 7], you are in this terrain that is all about the greenery, about the landscape, about the forest, and you’ve got this little pristine pods interjected into the landscape.”

He said the site plan, which is described as a concept plan, has been created based on the acreage of the site, noting that most of the site would remain untouched.

The pond and marsh on the property will be retained. Recreational facilities will be developed to include a pool.

“We will be using some sustainable materials, and natural gas (propane) would be the source of heating and cooling.

There were some concerns raised to the proposed resort development by attendees, including the development of the shoreline and the impact to the waterfront, the idea of a clubhouse, changing rural zoning, the high price points, and the number of boats it may attract, among them. Others highlighted the high density of the project, several describing it as a sub-division.

Terrelonge said the original plan was for about 150 units, but the design was scaled back.

When asked about how many boat slips the resort would have, Terrelonge said they haven’t planned for a specific number of boats slips.

“Would there be 10 or 15 boat slips to accommodate people that are buying? Would everybody have a boat? We don’t know,” he said.

The question was also asked if boat slips would require a break wall, something Keene said he didn’t know, because they hadn’t planned any docks at this point.”

“There will no dock, marina or launches. It’s not that important to us to have docks there with boats,” said property co-owner, Ron Angelotti.

Terrrelonge said that’s not an important part of the context.

“The idea was to build a really great water facility on the main area, so you can go to the pool, spa, relax. It’s all there.”

Price points for the units would range from $899,000 to $1.2 million.

When asked what the attraction was, Terrelonge said, “To come to the County, you have your own beautiful place you can stay. Out from here you can venture out to Sandbanks, you can go to Wellington, you can eat, wineries and enjoy what’s around here.”

“It’s a relaxing escape for people to hang out,” added Angelotti. “That’s why we have the teahouses by the pool.”

Another question posed was if there are any restrictions on short-term rentals, something Keene said wasn’t the intent.

“This is not a renting community,” said Angelotti. “We want people to own here and love their cottage; this is about giving people an oasis to go to.” He also confirmed there would be something in the purchase agreement to that effect, and confirmed there would not be any time sharing options.

However, when asked if a condo owner would be allowed to rent out their unit on a short-term basis, Terrelonge said they weren’t sure of the wording yet.

He confirmed they were not in the short-term rental business and it would not be an AirBnB.

“We don’t want a whole bunch of different people coming in and out, we want ownership.”

“I am going to assume if anybody’s purchasing, they will want to have some flexibility on what they chose to do,” said Angelotti. “We may limit that: we may say that, for example, if there is any rentals, you can rent 10 days a month.”

He confirmed that each of the partners plan to purchase a condo, but would not live there full-time.

Keene said it should not be referred to as a ‘resort’, but Terrelonge said the term was used because there are multiple units and the resort-style introduces the sharing of a common pool among other things.

“The resort-style feeling is what it would feel like,” he said.

One attendee said, “Resort suggests that owners are going to drop in and then go back to their regular home.”

Terrelonge confirmed owners would be tax-paying citizens of Prince Edward County.

“They can live here, but they may decide to be here two months of the year,” he said. “That’s up to them to decide for their use.”

He said the idea is to build a permanent home for an individual regardless of how many months per year it is used.

“While you can’t stop somebody from living there year-round, it is intended to be secondary units,” stated Keene.

When asked if the units would attract investors, Angelotti said it wouldn’t be something investors would be looking for.

“We have priced it in such a way that if someone is spending a million dollars, I don’t want somebody staying at my place,” Terrelonge said.

The water source for the development will come from the lake, something the developers said they are allowed to do.

“It will be a lake intake, rather than a well,” confirmed Keene.

He said the septic system would be a single communal system that services the community.

“A lot of these sewage systems are unified, so you end up putting in the unit that services 20, but a pod gets added to that and services 20 more, so depending on the system that gets selected, we’ll help with the economies of scale, as opposed to a football field-sized septic system,” Keene explained. “That’s not what it’s going to be, a high-tech system to minimize the land that it uses.”

One neighbour concerned with the proximity of her barn to the propose development was assured by Keene that the proposal had been adjusted to accommodate the minimum 1,200-foot distance separation, a requirement that has now been met.

There were different opinions and confusion among the attendees and the planner and owners over the wording of whether the development should be referred to as a resort, a sub-division or a full-time residential development.

Keene said the units, or pods, as he refers to them, would be built as they were sold, something he would expect to take a few years. Terrelonge estimates they wouldn’t begin building for at least two years.

One attendee suggested it would be more economical to build more units at one time, something Angelotti agreed with.

“We have spaced them out in a way where you could build 10 or 20, or you could build five, depending on how sales were going,” said Angelotti. “You could build a section, then move to another section and so on.”

However, he noted that the infrastructure for the entire complex would have to be put in all at once and that would be the first step.

Angelotti said the proposed development is geared to a combination of different age categories, including couples with children, seniors, etc.

There were also concerns about environmental protection.

With very tall trees on the 150-foot escarpment and on the other side of the property, Keene explained that the idea was to keep the development on top of the ridge

“The most sensitive part of this land is the treed ridge, and so through conversations with our own ecologists, we have setbacks from the ridge where the houses would be located,” stated Keene.

He also noted an intermittent wetland area in the centre where they propose a 30-foot setback to help protect it.

Concerns about water table with 113 units, for potentially 250 people, with run-off, pesticides on the lawn, etc., and the effect that would have on neighbouring wells was also raised by concerned neighbours.

Terrelonge said they are not coming in with bulldozers, carving it down or flattening it out and then bringing in all the buildings.

“It will be blended into the landscape. We want to make sure the land stays in keeping with the land.”

He said only the trees in a specific area where a pod will be built will be removed with all surrounding trees left in place.

“The whole concept is to leave the land as it is and to integrate what we are doing into the landscape and use minimal interference system, so we are doing the minimal amount of carving up into the land,” said Terrelonge. “We are not here to interrupt the landscape; we are here to integrate into it.”

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  1. JM says:

    This proposal should not see the light of day. Picton is at a breaking point with the additional developments that are already approved/underway. As one person noted, all the right buzzwords are there but once approvals are given, it’s anybody’s guess what happens or doesn’t because all that matters to developers is the bottom line.
    We’re still waiting for enforcement of Air B&B licensing and regulations for heaven’s sake but that doesn’t seem to be much of a priority anymore…
    Sadly, this past summer’s tourist experience had little to do with COVID. Without the proper decisions and interventions by those responsible for decision making, it is the “new normal”.
    This proposal is full of vague promises. Sounds like it will be another high end “Toronto party city” and that’s not what we need or want.

  2. Chuck says:

    That parcel of land between Century and Jasper has been set for development for a long time. It is a natural link to the new subdivisions and gets more homes in the settlement area, on water and sewer. I would expect Curtis St to connect with Century in the future.

  3. SaraLou Miller says:

    Yep developments happening everywhere here- will it ever stop or be seriously considered what the heck is happening. We live in Picton on the last street off Paul St , Century Drive, currently a dead end.Now we may not be in the same environmental/development nightmare that is being spoken about here. But there is a beautiful field with trees and hedgerows and alot of species of birds, the occasional deer, coyote that visit etc.betweenn us and JasperAve. That 33 acre field is owned by an outside developer who is waiting for approval of 75 single home units and 63 street town houses and a large apartment complex with entrance from Barker St.that was originially going to be 7 stories and now maybe 3-4 stories- who knows. Can you imagine how many cars that will generate in addition to all the other developments that are in process now of being built?
    So since we moved here 7 yrs ago there has been the following: Phase 2 of Jasper Ave Development built, TalbotSt/Curtis Street development, Pineridge Development, the Claremont/Harbour development – all in Picton.I know the Offical Plan says to have all the development concentrated in the larger towns of the County like Wellington and Picton rather than rurally but come on. You don’t think this increase in population plus tourists isn’t going to effect rural areas also? Just ask the locals living on route of main county roads to wineries and beaches etc. It’s a nightmare for them in summer.
    Stop Development or stop Tourists- what a choice to make eh! Tourism is the bread and butter for local businesses. With the numbers increasing in both these areas we cannot handle all of this. This summer was a good example of that and with Covid aside we have seen tourism numbers increase immensely since living here. Every summer it gets worse. There are not enough roads to handle all of this and how do you solve this problem but putting in new roads to join up to other rural county roads?? Don’t know how our current fragile infrastructure will survive all of this or if us taxpaying locals will be able to afford the increases that are going to happen to pay for all this. Please Council really think about this and make some wise decisions..

  4. Marie Powell says:

    Resort-style zoning? Who are they trying to fool here? This plan is definitely not preserving the environment. I’m exhausted by the stream of proposed developments throwing all the right buzzwords out, when the bottom line means more destruction, more people coming to an already over-stressed area, and no benefits to the locals who are already suffering. It’s been money over people at an increasing rate every year….and who among us is really benefitting?

  5. SM says:

    These developers are proposing a private communal water supply and sewage system. It must be kept in mind that approval of this development by the municipality confers an obligation on the municipality to step in and take over the system if the system fails and the developers / condo corp do not have the financial resources to remedy the problem. Actually by then it will be the condo corporation’s problem as the developers will have extracted their profit and be long gone. The existing Official Plan places restraints on development where part of the property in question includes an escarpment as this development would. This developer has owned this land for 5 years and is now coming forward in all likelihood because the new Official Plan will not favour this development.

  6. Angus says:

    Let’s see – 113 units at 5,000 sq ft needed per unit = 12.4 acres. Add in clubhouse, roads, tennis courts, swimming pool for let’s say another 2 acres and you have over 14 acres or close to 60% of the property being covered by non-natural construction. Only the trees needed to for the units will be taken down – 12.4 acres of trees! How will that tie in with any tree policy The County comes up with? Escarpments are protected areas but this one will be modified to make waterfront access easier. What does Quinte Conservation have to say about that? Water will be pumped up from the lake – up a 150ft escarpment that will have to be dug up to ensure lines don’t freeze in winter.

  7. Teena says:

    “Clowns to the left of me. Jokers to the right.” Didn’t even try to visit Sandbanks this year, and the west-end of PEC is far too busy with tourists who should have been staying put. If they had visited their local places, perhaps those who actually live here could have done the same. I guess it’s North Marysbughs chance to “Shine”. Two lovely high-end proposals (read expensive! Can any of us residents afford to utilize these places?) First the IRTH project, and within spitting distance we now have The Reach project. OK Councillors…now what?

  8. Fred says:

    Sounds like they will strive to protect the environment which is good. This would also add big needed tax dollars for the County.

  9. KB says:

    Great idea, but not in PEC. The project should be relocated elsewhere to another naturescape. Additionally, sounds like environmental and conservation authorities should be included because of the landscape changes suggested. Bad idea all the way around. PEC cannot withstand more strain on it’s infrastructure or environment.

  10. angela says:

    What a wonderful idea. More luxury homes for the well-to-do and another piece of county land sold out to outside developers.

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