Ontario rejects plan for housing towers across from Stoney Creek’s Battlefield Park

An artist's rendering of a two tower complex on King East and Centennial Parkway, across from Battlefield Park in Hamilton, Ont. Handout from Camaro Group

The developer of a proposed two-tower residential complex in Stoney Creek, Ont., across from a Hamilton museum and park is likely going back to the drawing board after the province rejected an appeal to change zoning permissions.

The Ontario Land Tribunal’s (OLT) ruling suggested the 18 and 20-storey development, which would have brought 564 units of housing next to Battlefield Park around King Street East and Centennial Parkway, “represented over-intensification” of the area.

In a written decision, the OLT’s Tee Fung Ng said the property, earmarked for 2900 King St. East, was located within an area “that is not for the high intensification proposed” and insisted it would “overwhelm” the neighbourhood.

Project developers Camaro Group had been seeking to re-designate the parcel from a lower density ‘neighbourhoods’ classification to a ‘mixed-use medium density’ ranking which would clear the way for a maximum of 969 units per hectare.

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Aside from a pair of restaurants, the area is surrounded by Battlefield Park to the east, vacant lands to the south and a municipal cemetery to the west.

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The latest plan called for the two housing towers, a commercial space on the ground floor and underground parking.

During a hearing in late January, lawyers for the appellant argued the idea fit with the city’s initiatives to accommodate future population growth through infill and intensification.

Attorney Denise Baker said the building plan presented “no adverse impacts” to the neighbourhood.

“This is a site on the periphery of a residential neighbourhood that is well suited for high-density development,” Baker told the tribunal.

Ward 5 Coun. Matt Francis, who opposed the half-hectare project, said a more realistic number for the locale would be about eight storeys with between 100 and 200 units per hectare.

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He says the city is leaning toward putting larger towers on corridors along the forthcoming LRT line.

“Even then, when you put them up on the main corridors they still have to make sense,” said Francis.

“When you’re putting 20- and 18-storey buildings beside a cemetery and … a park that’s 200 years old with a national historic designation … you still have to be mindful of what you’re doing.”

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