LETTERS TO COUNCIL:

CCKT Letter to King Township Re: High Crown Estates

February 22, 2021

To:  King Township Council

Mayor Steve Pellegrini and Members of King Township Council,

Re:  Feb. 22, 2021 C.O.W. Item 10.2. Planning Division Report No. GMS-PL-2021-06“High Crown Estates”Owner:  Stateview Homes

Concerned Citizens of King Township (CCKT) has taken an active interest in the High Crowns Estate proposal by Stateview Homes over the past three years and commented on this proposal before Council almost two years ago in March 2019.

We would like to thank planning staff for a very informative report with attachments which have highlighted the history of this application and a number of ongoing concerns with this development proposal on Keele Street in King City.

The combination of the five lots along the edge of the East Humber River Valley provides an excellent setting and opportunity to create an attractive residential subdivision with clusters of new homes that integrate well with the surrounding neighbourhood known as Heritage Park.  However, in our view there would need to be significant changes to the present concept and site plan.  Reducing the number of residential units and including two or three different forms of housing arranged carefully on this large parcel of land would address a number of concerns.  Many mature trees could be preserved, impervious surface area reduced, the 30m buffer retained and a suitable transition to neighbouring lots achieved.

Established Neighbourhood designation in the new King Township Official Plan.  This designation is intended to maintain the character and general fabric of the surrounding residential neighbourhood.  The current proposal with a density of 40 units / ha and blocks of three-storey townhouses does not achieve the goals or intent of the Established Neighbourhood designation.  

Regarding the revised site plan submitted by Stateview Homes in December 2020, CCKT recognizes several improvements: 

–– screening and retention of trees along the south property line adjacent to residential lots on Dennison
–– wider planting strips all the east and south property lines
–– retention of several mature trees along Keele Street
–– significant reduction in the encroachment on the 30 m buffer.

However, CCKT continues to have several major concerns with the proposed townhouse development and site plan and offers.

Alignment with the Official Plan and Zoning By-law Requirements – yard setbacks, height, lot size, pervious surfaces, etc.  There is very limited alignment with the indent of the Established Neighbourhood designation in the King Township Official Plan and the related Zoning By-laws.

Density of Proposal:  The density proposed at 40 units/ha is several times higher than the density in the adjacent residential areas, and far exceeds what is envisioned in the Established Neighbourhood designation.  Reduce the number of units substantially.  CCKT recommends 30-35 units in total.  This would help in addressing several concerns and several of the requested amendments to the Zoning By-law such as yard setbacks, lot size, and height.

Overall Layout in Site Plan Design:  A more creative and interesting residential development is needed, one that integrates better with the character and fabric of the surrounding neighbourhood on Dennison Drive and Keele Street – more variety in lot size and forms of housing are encouraged.

Form of housing:  Identical blocks of townhouses stretching along Keele Street with small spaces between blocks is not appealing and does not compliment and integrate well in the existing neighbourhood with a more open space character.  It is recommended to include single-detached, semi-detached, duplexes and/or one or two well-designed small blocks of two-storey townhouses carefully placed on the overall property to integrate well with homes in the existing neighbourhood.

Building Heights:  12.5 metres is far beyond the heights of the surrounding residential units which are made up of bungalows, and two-storey dwellings.  Heights need to be reduced.  CCKT recommends a maximum height of 9.0 metres.

Zoning By-law Requirements – Yards:  There is a need for more yard space for outdoor use – It is recommended to provide a reasonably–sized backyard amenity area on ground level for every residential unit.

Pervious Surfaces:  Pervious surfaces are intended to mitigate heavy rain events, sustain ground water levels and contribute to the flow of rivers and streams, a part of climate change mitigation.  The required pervious surface for this development needs to be achieved and is non-negotiable in our view.

30 Metre Buffer:  CCKT advocates for retaining the full 30 metre buffer, and recommends that residential units and lots be adjusted to be completely outside of the buffer zone.

Trees/Vegetation:  Are there further opportunities to preserve existing mature trees, particularly along the east property line, along Dennison Street and Keele Street?  CCKT notes and supports the transfer of the buffer lands to TRCA and recognizes the excellent opportunity to restore the 30 m buffer along the East Humber River valley with native trees and vegetation.

Wildlife:  The location along the edge of the forested East Humber River valley very likely attracts and provides habitat for a wide number of animal species.  Any alteration to this site and removal of trees and vegetation needs to consider wildlife habitat and include mitigation to sustain wildlife in this area.

Hydrogeology:  We note that significant concerns regarding hydrogeology have been raised by R.J.Burnside and need to be addressed.  In a memo dated Feb. 12, 2021, engineer, Kim Hawkes, notes the following:  The report contains errors and gaps which results in limited understanding of hydrogeological conditions and the implications that the site development will have on groundwater/surface water interactions and nearby surface water receivers.  The report should demonstrate, using detailed plans and cross-sections, the hydrogeological regime including surface water and groundwater interaction, and the mitigation to address the impacts of the proposed development.”

Traffic Flow:  Signalization is recommended at Norman Drive and the roadway entrance into High Crown Estates.  Signals with sensors should be installed to allow the traffic to flow well on Keele Street, and to provide for access on to Keele Street from Norman Drive and the High Crown Estates roadway in peak rush hour times.  Dennison Drive should not be used for through traffic in and out of this site.  Access for emergency vehicles via Dennison Drive can be provided with barriers to through traffic or alternatively an emergency entrance and exit could be established along Keele Street.  This would address the concerns of traffic flowing on to Dennison from High Crown Estates.

Conclusion:

While some improvements are evident in the revised site plan submitted in December 2020, several significant revisions and changes are needed to meet the intent of the Established Neighbourhood designation and to minimize amendments to the Zoning By-law.  A high quality and well-designed residential project needs to integrate well into the character and fabric of the surrounding neighbourhood known as Heritage Park.  Reducing the number of residential units to a density that is more compatible to the low density neighbourhood and include two or three forms of housing with substantial greenspace would address a majority of the concerns.  Within the greenspace, existing mature trees would be conserved.

CCKT contends that with significant revisions to the current site plan, a creative and attractive subdivision plan can be achieved that is well-received by the neighbouring community.

Thank you for this opportunity to share our comments this evening.

Sincerely, J. Bruce Craig on behalf of CCKT