Fanshawe Condo Plan Upsets Neighbours

  • 07/7/16
  • |          London

A 142-unit condominium development may be built on the site of the former home of Nancy and Bill Poole, a neighbourhood group has heard.
And they don’t like the sound of that, at all.
“Everyone in the neighbourhood is opposing this, we are all against it,” said Shauna Roch, a member of the Stoneybrook Heights/Uplands Community Association.
“We would like to see development on the site, but we want it in keeping with the neighbourhood.”
The area on Fanshawe Park Road east of Hasting Drive is home to large single-family homes on well-treed lots, and the condo development would be a jarring intrusion, Roch said.
“It doesn’t fit into the low-density neighbourhood.”
At a recent community meeting, land owner Westdell Corp. took the wraps off its plan for a six-storey building on the 1.4-hectare site at 420 Fanshawe Park Rd. East.
The owner knows residents may not embrace change, but the area needs alternative housing for when they are ready to move from their large homes, said Carol Wiebe, managing partner at the planning firm MHBC Planning that is working with Westdell Corp.
“We expected this reaction. If you asked many residents, they would like to see single-family homes but this is an ideal opportunity to offer something lacking in the neighbourhood,” she said.
“This is very high quality, geared toward empty nesters. There’s a real lack of choice now for those looking to downsize” who want to stay in the area, Wiebe said.
Residents also are concerned about traffic flow and adding more cars to a quiet city street, Donnybrook Road, while allowing only right-hand turns onto the busier Fanshawe Park Road.
The size and scale of the development is allowed under the Official Plan, although the area is zoned for single-family homes, Wiebe said.
“We look at this as a way to provide housing for a future age group, and there are not a lot of options there.”
The building would have one- and two-bedroom condos for sale, starting at 800 square feet, Roch said.
It also would feature open courtyard space at the rear. The front would be six storeys, but it would step down to five, four and three storeys at the rear of the structure.
Coun. Phil Squire, chairperson of city council’s planning and environment committee, said he’s sympathetic to residents’ concerns about density and increased traffic.
“It is a unique site, large single-family homes, tree-lined streets, and this would be a significant increase in density.
The development would need a zoning and Official Plan amendment and will likely go before the planning and environment committee in the fall.
The stately home where Nancy and Bill Poole lived has been torn down. It had been vacant since 2009.
Nancy Poole is a former director at Museum London. Her husband Bill was a prominent London lawyer who died last year. The couple hosted fundraisers, parties and community events there.
Before the Pooles the home was owned by the Rubinoff family, builders of White Oaks Mall and other developments. In the 1880s, the Geary family was the first to settle on the site. The Gearys were among the first settlers in London in the 1820s.

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