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Public questions environmental protection at proposed Adolphus Reach Resort

A significant number of audience questions came from several of 50 people who tuned into a virtual information session Tuesday night about the Adolphus Reach Resort proposed for County Road 7.

A tea house and art gallery, a winery and vineyard, together with a variety of seasonal accommodations are proposed.

Mayor Steve Ferguson and councillors Margetson, Hirsch, Bailey and St-Jean were also in attendance, as property owners, 2522082 Ontario Inc., answered questions regarding approval for a zoning bylaw amendment application, from rural residential to site-specific tourist commercial and site-specific environmental protection.

The proposed development is 10 hectares (25 acres) in size and is located at 1315, 1329 and 1357 County Road 7. It has 245 metres of water frontage on the Bay of Quinte, and 267 metres of frontage on County Road 7.

The environmental protection area is contained to the water’s edge and the escarpment on the property, and includes a new clubhouse, as well as a pump house.

Concerns raised were primarily surrounding environmental protection, including concern for the escarpment and shoreline and removal of trees. Setbacks from the shoreline, noise and light concerns, impacts of blasting, increased traffic and associated noise, water uptake from the lake, project creep, as well as the general impacts to neighbours, the environment, birds and bats formed other questions from the public.

It was noted by planning staff that many of the questions raised couldn’t be answered at this early stage in the process, but would be addressed as the application progresses.

The proposed development, which has been in the works since 2017, would include 56 villa units, for seasonal use only, made up of 20 pod villas and 36 tree-top houses. They are to function as cabin accommodations with bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen and common spaces.

The revised proposal will no longer include any permanent residential dwellings as originally considered.

A communal clubhouse in the form of the main villa is proposed for use by those staying at the resort, and by those using the resort. It is to be located half way down the hill overlooking the lake and would be on the footprint of an existing dwelling via an access road. It should be noted the new clubhouse is in the Environmentally Protected area of the property.

Existing on the site is a single detached dwelling at 1329 County Road 7 close to the road, roughly in the centre of the property, which is expected to be retained. There is also a cottage dwelling along a laneway along the water’s edge with an accessory building (at 1359 close to the waterfront) which is expected to be demolished and replaced with the new clubhouse.

The winery is to comprise five buildings, plus two tent winery buildings and the vineyard is expected to be small, at three to four hectares situated near the road.

The proposed development contains a water treatment facility and a pump house providing private water and sewer servicing. Well access has been determined to not be feasible for this site, so water intake would be obtained from Lake Ontario.

A six-metre-wide private road will provide access through the site and will have two entry/exit points from County Road 7. The road is to connect with a network of three-metre-wide private lanes that will allow pedestrian access to the individual pod villas and tree houses. A parking lot is to be provided for visitors, with separate parking for the winery.

An initial public open house was held at the site outdoors during COVID-19 restrictions by the property owners in September 2020.

Input, concerns and feedback received at that meeting have formed changes to the current application (no formal planning application had been filed at the time of the 2020 meeting) which has undergone significant change from the four-season resort with recreational facilities and 113 high-end single family villas originally proposed (scaled back from 150 units from the first concept).

Mike Keene, a land use planner with Fotenn Planning + Design provided a brief outline of the proposed development, noting how the property is surrounded primarily by agricultural uses, as well as some estate residential uses and a few commercial uses in the area. He noted how the development is concentrated in the centre of the property, slightly on the north side.

“The conceptual plan contains a variety of uses, a range of different seasonal accommodation types with a series of villas,” explained Keene. “The commercial component of the development includes a proposed winery, an art gallery and communal clubhouse, and the parking that would accommodate these uses.”

As a result of comments received from the public meeting in September 2020, it was noted the revised concept is less intensive, with development stripped away from the roadside, along with a lot of the waterside features (such as water access points, pool and docks) now removed.

Keene noted the seasonal residential uses, known as pod villas, are to be blended into the landscape with low profile, low rooflines, lots of glass and natural materials.

“It’s important to recognize there is an incredible vision for this development,” said Keene.

Of the 20 single-storey pod villas currently being proposed, three size configurations will be available: Pod Villa 1 (four units) is one-bedroom at 899 square feet (83.5 square metres; Pod Villa 2 (eight units) has two bedrooms at 1,507 square feet (140 square metres); and Pod Villa 3 (eight units) has three bedrooms at 1,862 square feet (173 square metres).

The 36 tree-top houses are 899 square feet (83.5 square metres), each with individual parking.

One member of the public said he found it surprising 20 dwellings would be allowed in an EP zone, enquiring about the waterfront impact of such a development.

Keene responded by saying they want to protect the embankment.

“There is the embankment, the tree area, and the true EP of this area is the embankment plus a setback from that embankment,” said Keene.

He further noted they are looking at having houses at the edge of the embankment.

“This area [the escarpment] is largely intended to remain untouched; the whole point of the development is to leave it as natural as possible.”

Keene confirmed trees would not be removed to enhance the view of the water.

Another resident asked about the impact of local emergency services given the shortage of doctors.

“Is any consideration going to be toward funding or a donation to the hospital from the developers?” she asked. Keene noted they were not proposing year-round housing, as it is a resort.

Another concern came from someone who noted the glass-based designs may be harmful to the significant number of birds in the area and was concerned about bird strike issues.

Stephen Matyasfalvi, who lives nearby, was concerned about clear-cutting of trees, noting no plan is outlined to maintain the trees and the environment.

“There is an area where we will need to clear trees from,” said Keene.

One audience member asked if people would buy the pods only to rent them out, such as with Airbnbs.

“The model is not figured out at this point; they all are possibilities,” said Keene. “It is planned to be a resort, not year-round housing for people to live in. I’m not even sure if things will be sold.”

Brian O’Sullivan was concerned the development would be consuming a very large amount of water at 135,000 litres of water from the bay every day.

“Does this not set a bad precedent for the County to work on excessive developments like this taking a shortcut by just putting a pipe down to the lake?…All development should be coming off existing infrastructure, towns and settlements. Is this not bypassing the Official Plan?” he asked.

Keene said he didn’t agree, adding the resort development and the shoreline designation allows resort development. “I don’t find this precedent-setting.”

“That’s the last thing we need on shorelines,” added O’Sullivan. “It’s the last thing we need in the County in general putting resorts on the coast; it’s a mistake.”

Michael Michaud, manager of planning clarified the shoreline designation has always permitted this type of development. “The Official Plan already allows for that to take place.”

Matyasfalvi added that he has big concerns that this is a massive development with over construction that’s “ultimately going to destroy a lot of the environment there.”

In terms of next steps, planning co-ordinator Matt Coffey indicated the comments received from this meeting would be summarized and he expected the developers would file a resubmission at some point.

A further public meeting and/or statutory planning meeting would then follow with timelines unknown at this time.

Filed Under: Local News

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