London city council approves affordable housing project in upscale northwest region

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

At a city council meeting last month, the city of London approved site amendments, effectively green-lighting an affordable housing project just off of Sarnia Road.

The project is to include two three-storey, 40-unit apartments on Bluegrass Drive, with proposed amenity areas like a playground, tennis court, open space, or gazebo or seating area being considered for the rest of the site.

Plans are for each building to include 35 one-bedroom units, ranging from 578 to 606 square feet, and five two-bedroom units, ranging from 1048 to 1050 square feet. A total of 55 units will be offered at affordable rates.

The planning justification report notes that the development of the area makes effective use of space, and will not require widening of roads or changes to existing infrastructure, and servicing costs will be kept to a minimum because of land uses in the surrounding area. The affordable housing aspect is also likely to support existing transit routes to the area.

The project is the work of Gateway Church, which is working to keep rents low in order to keep people living “in dignity.”

Not all neighbours are thrilled with the idea of the new development. The city received letters from 21 area residents who have concerns, from lighting, privacy, and construction disruption, to lowered property values and loss of park land.

The development meets the criteria set out in the provincial policy statement, for considerations like mix of housing density and infill. As far as shadowing and site-lines, Gateway says its church is at a similar setback and building height, and causes no problems for neighbouring site lines.

Gateway hopes to start building in the next year, with doors open to residents by 2021.

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