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Tensions build over Roxboro high-rise project

by Raffy Boudjikanian

 

Article online since November 24th 2009, 13:00

 

Holly Arsenault shows the property line dividing her land from that of a developer whose potential project leaves many on Fifth Avenue North in Roxboro unhappy. Chronicle, Raffy Boudjikanian. Tensions build over Roxboro high-rise project

Even as some residents of Fifth Avenue North in Roxboro, a dead-end street lined with single-unit bungalows, are concerned over the possible development of a multiple-storey condo at the end of their street, Pierrefonds officials at a lively public meeting last Wednesday night were at pains to explain nothing could move ahead yet.

 

"Before the project can be accepted or acceptable, the developer must present plans that conform to our legislation. For now, that isn't the case yet," said Pierre Rochon, urban planning and business services department director, in answer to citizen questions. However, residents are concerned after seeing land surveyors walk into the swampy wooded area over the last few weeks. Holly Arsenault, who lives in a home right on the property line of the area, even said one of them told her the owner, Jacob Wolofsky, has already acquired all necessary permits and construction will begin in February. "If that's true, he's dreaming in colour," Rochon replied. When The Chronicle went to visit the street last Thursday, Arsenault showed a row of rocks that separates her yard from Wolofsky's property. Planted alongside both sides of that makeshift border are 45 trees, which Arsenault said play a large role in keeping her home from flooding when nearby Rivière des Prairies rises in the spring. "He said he's going to cut them down," Arsenault said, adding about half of them are on the developer's side. Another Fifth Avenue North resident, France Marsant, voiced her displeasure at the Wednesday meeting too. "Our street had a very peaceful, very calm character," she said. "We find it unthinkable to have a big block of eight floors on the street, which could lead to 300 cars going into the street by the summer." Borough Mayor Monique Worth insisted Pierrefonds was doing all in its power to ensure legal norms force the developer to create a reasonable project. "Our norms are getting higher and higher," she said. Rochon said previous bylaws allowed a 12-storey high project on the site, but the borough's revisions have already cut that size down to eight. At least one resident of the street was skeptical anything could be built at all. "I wouldn't even invest a cent into that land, it's a swamp," said Michel Davuluy, who has been living there for several years. After the meeting, Worth conceded the city of Montreal would, in an ideal world, like to buy up that land and turn into green space. "I think, in a way, we would like it to be a part of green space that would start, let's say, west of the Rapides du Cheval Blanc and end with that piece of property," Worth said. "But we can't force him to sell at a lower price because we would like to. It's up to him, it's his decision," she said. Though the land is valuated at about $188,000, a purchase by Montreal would cost millions because it is a public body, Worth said. Montreal had a right of expropriation on the property in question up to last May, but did not renew it after it expired, Marsant mentioned at the meeting. Wolofsky did not return calls for comment.

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8 floors = a high rise in Roxboro apparently. Their previous limit was 12 storeys...

 

Well I don't agree with chopping down all the trees (I like wooded areas), the land rightfully belongs to the developer, complies with city bylaws, and will increase tax revenue. There is no reason to whine here (aside from maybe asking the developer to keep as many trees as possible uncut)

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What the fuck qu'on a peur de la hauteur au Québec j'ai jamais compris pourquoi. Je sais que Roxboro c'est plutot une banlieue mais quand même , regardez ce qui se construit à Missisauga...

 

Je crois qu'il serait normal de voir du 10 à 20 étages dans ce coin de l'île , mais pas n'importe où , à des endroits stratégiques , comme sur le bord de l'eau ou sur des artères importantes. Je crois pas que si ils construisent un immeuble de 15 étages ça va mettre de l'ombre sur des dizaines de rues en arrière ! Come on !

 

Franks

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New development attracting criticism in Pierrefonds

Some residents say borough is far from transparent when it comes to rezoning issues

Karen Seidman

The Gazette

Thursday, March 11, 2010

 

Pierrefonds.jpg-1.jpg

Gazette file photo.

 

Some Pierrefonds-Roxboro residents have been critical of the borough’s lack of transparency as it makes some zoning changes to accommodate new developments.

 

Lewis Poulin, a member of the Association des Propriétaires et Résidents de Pierrefonds-Roxboro, said that a major zoning change was announced verbally recently concerning a building project on Fifth Ave., but there has been no documentation to follow up the change, which would limit the height of a new residential building to three storeys rather than eight.

 

“The official documentation still shows five to eight storeys,” said Poulin. “This is a real lack of transparency, especially for such a big change. How can a resident give proper feedback when they do a consultation?”

 

But borough officials say the change was made to respond to concerns from residents.

 

“There was a lot of concern from citizens about the eight-storey building,” said Suzanne Corbeil, Pierrefonds’ borough clerk. “There were worries about traffic and if the street could handle such a large building.”

 

So the council passed a motion last week changing the zoning to limit the building to three storeys, and Corbeil said that although the change won’t appear in documentation until it passes another reading before being put forth for a public consultation, the change is still in effect as far as any development is concerned.

 

“It’s just not written yet,” she said.

 

Poulin worries that this lack of clarity fuels uncertainty and makes a meaningful consultation difficult to achieve.

 

“Are people supposed to base their comments on the eight-storey building or the three-storey building?” he asked.

 

He believes this confusion is created purposely by the borough so the residents never really know what’s going on.

 

He is equally upset about the harmonization of the urban planning regulations between the former municipalities of Roxboro and Pierrefonds, which was deposited recently by the borough as a 1,050-page document which Poulin believes residents don’t have nearly enough time or information to properly evaluate.

 

He said the borough should have provided the old regulations to compare with the new ones. Without that documentation, he said, it would be far too time-consuming to compare the old and new rules. He is worried that some major changes will slip under the radar because people won’t recognize them as changes.

 

For example, he said, the documentation mentions a lake, but as far as he knows, Pierrefonds has no lake – just a water retention basin in the Héritage du Lac development.

 

“Why are they talking about a lake when we only have a man-built basin?” said Poulin, who is upset that the borough’s website makes no mention of the zoning change that was enacted last week.

 

But as far as Corbeil is concerned, the borough is just following a process that is necessary when when making a zoning change.

 

“We had to advise people of the zoning change, then it will be adopted and then there will be a public consultation,” she said.

http://westislandgazette.com/news/13578

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This is why the mergers should have stayed intact, so there could be a centralized urban planning scheme for the whole island, instead of the piecemeal urbanism the demerged fiefdoms foster.

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