The already growing community of Limoges could be transformed into a small city if plans by developer Brigil go ahead.
The company has applied to The Nation Municipality to amend the Zoning By-Law for a 14.5-hectare/35.8-acre property fronting Calypso Street, Limoges Road across from the Calypso water park, and the interchange at Highway 417 near the Bytown Lumber outlet.
The proposed development includes 10, four-storey apartment buildings, 72 stacked townhouses, and buildings of 10, 12, 18, 20, and 24 stories. The housing is to include both rental and owned units as well as a 15-storey hotel. The high-rise buildings will also have four-storey “podium” buildings attached. In total, the development will have 110,000 square feet of commercial area.
The property is currently zoned as Highway Commercial (CH) and Industrial Restricted, Exception 3 (ML-X3). Brigil is requesting that the zoning be changed to Highway Commercial Zone-Exception 10 (CH-10).
Under the United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR) Official Plan for land use, the site is currently designated a Trade and Industry Policy Area outside the established Limoges urban boundary. As a result, the land is not compliant with the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) on land use planning to permit residential development, nor does the proposed development conform with the UCPR Official Plan.
At a statutory public meeting of The Nation council on the proposal held on October 30, Mayor Francis Brière spoke favourably of the development but is frustrated about the non-compliance with the Official Plan and PPS while land on the west side of Limoges Road is fully compliant.
Planner Guylain Laflèche said the Ministry of Transportation determined a traffic study or permit process is unnecessary, even though the proposed development is near the Highway 417 interchange. However, the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation, and Parks expressed concern that the project would put considerable pressure on the existing Limoges water and wastewater infrastructure. The UCPR Department of Planning and Forestry objected to the proposal based on the non-conformity with the Official Plan and PPS.
Brière said that based on his conversations with Brigil, not allowing residential dwellings on the land would effectively condemn it to never being developed.
Laflèche explained how the UCPR urges municipal planning decisions to be coherent with the Official Plan
and bylaws should not be adopted that go against the Official Plan. He said a separate procedure exists to possibly change the Official Plan designation and expand the urban limits of Limoges, but that would require further studies.
Brière expressed disappointment with the UCPR’s objection and described it as “ridiculous,” when the non-conforming part of the property is only 66 feet wide.
“To me, it’s unacceptable and I’ve got some work to do at the counties level,” he said.
Laflèche said the developer is proposing a short way of obtaining approval by requesting a zoning amendment, rather than studies to consider changing designated uses and the urban boundary.
Brière noted that in the past, studies to change urban boundaries have taken up to two years or more. He also noted how the development will address the shortage of housing.
“We have someone here who’s proposing 2,100 units approximately,” he remarked.
Ward 6 Councillor Marjorie Drolet said she cannot imagine another property where the development would be possible. She said more commercial development is needed in Limoges and The Nation as a whole.
Brière said the developer has said they will aggressively pursue having a grocery store and possibly an LCBO outlet in the development.
Ward 5 Councillor Daniel Boisvenue also expressed frustration with part of the property not conforming to the Official Plan and PPS.
“66 feet is going to put a stick in the spokes of the wheel,” he said.
Ward 1 Councillor Tim Stewart asked what the chances of success are if the municipality instead decided to pursue studies to expand the urban boundary of Limoges to facilitate the development. Laflèche and Brière both said there is no guarantee of success.
Resident Denis Pommainville said he would like to see a traffic study done because there is already heavy traffic due to the water park which could become worse.
Resident Philippe Warren was disappointed no representative of Brigil was present to answer questions. He asked how long it would take to build the entire project.
Brière said no timeline has been established and suspected it would likely be done as market conditions permitted.
Council voted to receive the report on the proposed development. The Planning Department will make a future recommendation to council for approval or rejection of the application to change the zoning by-law.