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City council approves zoning change for Johnson Road

City of BrantfordCity council approves zoning change for Johnson Road

Brantford City Council approved a zoning change to allow stacked townhouses to be built on 72 Johnson Road during their regular Council meeting on Tuesday, August 29, 2023.

Stacked townhouses can be likened to small apartment buildings and are often built in blocks with four stories.

While the City’s planning committee recommended to refuse the by-law change due to the proposed development not being appropriate for the area and would generate increased traffic flow, councillors ultimately voted in favour of the change.

Coun. Linda Hunt clarified with Sean House, Senior Development Planner with the City’s planning department, if stacked townhouses were allowed within the city and if they required a zoning amendment to build them.

House said that there are some units that have been approved including at 9 Garden Ave., Powerline Road and Colborne Street.

Coun. Rose Sicoli noted that after reading the reasons for the refusal, she had some concerns.

“I do think that it’s our responsibility to build a variety of types of homes and developments like this, and a housing style like this is exactly what we need more of in the city of Brantford. I believe professionally that it provides attainable housing and at an attainable price point. This really speaks to first time home buyers who we are very concerned are not going to be able to enter into the housing market, but it also speaks to downsizers and people looking to downsize their home and get something new for themselves,” she said. “…I think it’s entirely appropriate for the area and for the neighbourhood and I don’t really agree with the recommendation of refusing this application.”

Coun. Gino Caputo agreed with Sicoli and asked staff if it was fair to assume that they would be seeing more zoning applications for stacked townhouses.

House said that chances are that these units will likely be permitted in medium density zones such as the 72 Johnson Road lot.

Caputo asked if there would be any more imposed traffic in the neighbourhood or if it would be business as usual.

Jeff Cornwell, Project Manager of Development and Transportation, said that there would be a smaller impact on traffic in the area.

“Through the traffic study, it was noted that the addition of the 28 stacked towns would add approximately 30 more trips to the AM peak and about 30 more trips to the PM peak,” he said.

Coun. John Sless noted that while he originally supported the refusal, he was unaware that there were other stacked townhouse units being built within the city. He said that having heard otherwise, he would be happy to support the approval.

Mayor Kevin Davis said that while the city does not have much experience with stacked towns up until recently with the Colborne Street development and on Powerline Road, the difference between 72 Johnson Rd. and those two sites is that the latter are what they called “intensification corridors.”

“I think the big difference with those two I voted in favor of them, is that we expect there to be higher density apartments and high-density townhouses in our intensification corridors which are those the major streets and arteries in our community like Powerline Road, like West Street, Park Road North, Charring Cross, like Colborne Street West and Colborne Street East. That’s why I voted for the one Powerline Road and then while we did have another one that’s on Garden Avenue, it’s a different than Johnson Road.”

He noted that Garden Avenue has a mix of townhouses and single-family dwellings as well as industry which is why he voted to approve the re-zoning.

“When I look at Johnson Road, I’m looking at an area that doesn’t have townhouses, and doesn’t really have anything else, except for in the subdivision, some large single-family homes. When I looked at this (Johnson Road) lot, it’s kind of irregularly shaped and it’s very deep so you can’t just put single family homes on it because that would be wasteful and the backyard would be huge,” he said. “My view of it is, that regular townhouses would make sense here because you want to make it useful and we want to support the intensification to a reasonable degree to assist in meeting the housing crisis, but I thought stacked townhomes in this area … would just be so out of character for the street.”

Mayor Davis said that he would continue to maintain the refusal for the rezoning and said that he would be voting against building the stacked townhouses.

Coun. Richard Carpenter noted that himself and his wardmate had asked for a high-quality product and that’s what they produced but noted that the residents in the area did not support the stacked towns and are maintaining that.

Council then voted to defeat the refusal for the re-zoning with a vote of eight to three. Mayor Davis, Coun. Sullivan and Coun. Carpenter voted in favour of the refusal.

Coun. Sicoli then moved a resolution to officially approve the stacked townhouses for 72 Johnson Rd.

Council voted eight to three with Mayor Davis, Coun. Sullivan and Coun. Carpenter voting to oppose the stacked townhouses.

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