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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Orchard Park planners respond to letter about proposed developed

Orchard Park planners respond to letter about proposed developed

As a response to Keith R. Elliott's letter to the editor regarding Orchard Point Harbour Development, we would like to address a number of discrepancies. Our firm acts as land use planners for this project and we would like to assure local residents the proper planning process has been followed for the applications of Orchard Point Harbour.

The developer started working with the City of Orillia staff in November 2006 to develop a project that would complement the residential area of Orchard Point. The development proposes three condominium buildings, two six-storey and one eight-storey building, with a total of 164 units. The proposed building heights conform to the City of Orillia's Official Plan, which permits eight-storey buildings.

The site lines and the views from Lake Simcoe were taken into consideration during the design of the project.
Three buildings angled to Lake Simcoe were designed versus one larger building. This design creates visual breaks and maintains site lines to Lake Simcoe.

To provide privacy to adjacent neighbours, a landscape plan has been designed to maintain existing mature trees and enhance the buffer along the northern property line. The design of the condominium buildings is tiered to create a stepped approach to the waterfront. This technique provides a visual appeal from the waterfront and reduces the overall massing of the buildings.

We have been working closely with the City of Orillia and approval agencies to develop a project that suits the community of Orillia. The applications for Orchard Point Harbour were submitted on April 19, 2007, several months before the council meeting in July 2007 regarding the interim control bylaw. The scheduled public meeting today is following the regular planning process set out in the Planning Act under Section (34) and has not been fast tracked.

Similar to previous proposals, the three condominiums will be developed in a phased approach.

The underground garage will accommodate 178 parking spaces. The underground garage allocates one or two parking spaces per unit. Surface parking of 28 spaces provides adequate visitor parking. As the development is marketed to empty nesters looking to downsize, often these residents only use one car.

The developer supports the installation of traffic lights at the intersection of Orchard Point and Atherley Road. We have spoken with the city in this regard, however, it is the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) that decides on whether lights are warranted. We have approached the MTO to find out if they would agree to a light at the intersection this time and are awaiting their comments. A residents' group meeting was held on July 28, 2007 providing the developer the opportunity to hear and discuss residents' concerns. The current proposal provides two entrances to the site which will adequately service the development. The development is not increasing the number of docks, but rather improving them. The launch ramp will be removed to eliminate boat-trailer parking.

We will continue to work with the City of Orillia, approval agencies and the public as we move through the planning process for the Orchard Point Harbour Development.


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