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Newly formed residents group opposes five-storey Garden Drive retirement home

Rezoning request to allow Kerr Village area retirement home under discussion at town's April 12 Planning and Development Council meeting.

A five-storey retirement home proposed for the northeast corner of Garden Drive and Lakeshore Road West has nearby residents warning of noise, traffic and privacy concerns.

Retirement home developer Revera, in partnership with SmartCentres, is asking for zoning and official plan amendments to build a 132-unit home on vacant land abutting residential developments.

The site is located just west of Kerr Village, near St. Thomas Aquinas high school.

Town of Oakville
Town of Oakville

Opposition to the proposal spurred the creation of the Garden Drive Residents Association, to represent homeowners in several nearby condominium buildings and townhouse complexes.

On behalf of the group, Larry Green and Chris DiFonzo made a presentation to the town’s April 12 Planning and Development Council meeting.

They said residents, who also sent 61 letters of opposition, have problems with the height, lot coverage and appearance of the proposed building.

The developers are asking to extend a commercial business development zoning that exists on the Lakeshore frontage of the property to the entire half-hectare site.

A portion of the property is currently zoned for medium-density residential development, allowing for three-storey townhouses.

The proposal would be a significant departure from the current zoning and would “place an excessive concrete block which is operating as a for-profit business in the middle of a primarily residential neighbourhood,” warned DiFonzo.

He added that neighbours are particularly concerned with the height of the proposed retirement home, which will be at least two storeys taller than existing townhouses in the area.

DiFonzo also said that the planned access for the building from Garden Drive will create increased traffic and cause safety risks for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers in the area.

The residents' group asked councillors to protect them from overdevelopment and excessive density resulting from a departure from the town’s official plan.

“Our message to you is that we have a very unified neighbourhood in opposition to this rezoning application,” concluded Green.

Professional planner Bruce Hall spoke on behalf of the developers.

He noted that the Kerr Village area is designated as a growth centre, where increased intensification and mixed-use development are being encouraged.

Hall also provided statistics on Oakville’s ageing demographic, noting that with a growing number of seniors, the town is seeing “increased demand for age-specific housing.”

The proposed retirement home would offer 100 independent supportive living units and 32 assisted living units.

The building would have 75 underground parking spaces, 104 square metres of ground-floor retail space and rooftop amenities, including a theatre, library and outdoor recreation space.

Revera owns the nearby Kensington Retirement Home, located near Lakeshore just east of Kerr Village, as well as two retirement homes in downtown Oakville.

The town is also considering a six-storey retirement home proposed for 152 Wilson Street, just east of Kerr Village.

Town planning staff will now study the Garden Drive application, consider the public comments and return with a future recommendation on whether the project should be approved.