Niagara Council turns down proposed 384-unit apartment complex

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

Niagara Falls city council has unanimously rejected a high-rise proposal that neighbours opposed.

A numbered company had requested official plan and zoning bylaw amendments to build on lands along River Road, John Street and River Lane.

The company — 2486489 Ontario Ltd. — purchased the land for a 384-unit apartment complex with 34-storey and seven-storey towers.

Developers say the project represents good planning and urban design and fits with modern planning practices preferred by the province, such as infilling in existing urban areas with higher, denser buildings, rather than allowing the sprawl of decades in the past.

However, residents argue the condo tower is not a good fit for their older, established neighbourhood and “will hurt nearby property values.”

City planners also advised council to reject the proposal because the condo tower is “too massive” for the area. Currently, development up to seven storeys is allowed.

“Staff cannot support the requested zoning due to the impacts of the height of the proposed south tower as well as the increased density,” Alex Herlovitch, director of planning, building and development, wrote in a report rejecting the plan.

“The requested standards are a significant departure from current standards, which are meant to foster appropriately scaled development that is compatible with surrounding uses.”

The Niagara Parks Commission and Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority also opposed the development citing reasons including wind conditions that could result from the building, shadowing issues and impacts on bats.

Previously, a 390-unit apartment building with 21 and 12-storey towers was proposed by 5507 River Development Inc. The request was revised to include a 350-unit apartment building with 17- and 10-storey towers.

The file is currently at the Local Area Planning Tribunal, appealed by the previous owner. The current owner was seeking a decision of council that will form part of the appeal.

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