North London residents worried townhouse development will draw students to quiet neighbourhood

A numbered Ontario company wants to build two townhouses on Windermere Road, east of Richmond Street.

A group of residents in north London are raising concerns about a proposed townhouse development along Windermere Road they say will cater to post-secondary students.

The Orkney-Angus Ratepayers Association mobilized in response to a numbered Ontario company’s application for two townhouses at 536 and 542 Windermere Rd.

“The opposition is to the actual development application,” said association president Tony Mara.

“The fact it’s being designed, targeting student residents, makes it worse.”

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On the heels of Fake Homecoming festivities that drew a crowd of an estimated 20,000 students to Broughdale Avenue near Western University over the weekend, Mara said student partying is a concern he shares with neighbours in the area of Orkney Crescent and Angus Court.

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The side-by-side properties on Windermere Road share a property line with homes that face Orkney Crescent on either side and are currently occupied by two single-family homes.

“If we’re talking about a situation where there’s that many people, that many students, congregating together, living together and a party breaks out? What would that look like? What kind of destruction and damage would occur to the homes around it?” asked Mara.

“It can easily get out of control.”

The proposal outlines two 2.5-storey townhouse buildings with eight units each and a total of 25 parking spots. The buildings would be back to back.

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Mara said its a case of “student housing creep,” and the association he represents is calling on the city to limit the size of residential developments near Western University and Fanshawe College to make it stop.

“We’re not the only example of what I would call over-reaching extreme intensity type developments. It seems just from the little time I’ve been involved with this, that this is happening more and more with what appears to be an acceptable attitude by city hall.”

Mara added some of their concerns, like parking, apply regardless of whether or not students move into the units.

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“The developers have stated in their application that the neighbourhoods that are easily accessible by walkways from this property is available for on-street parking for social events,” he explained.

“These neighbourhoods are not designed to handle that.”

A list of concerns outlined in a press release from the Orkney-Angus Ratepayers Association also cites privacy infringement, tree cutting, and a “dramatic change” to the landscape.

The application is still in the early stages. The public has until Oct. 17 to submit feedback on a proposed zoning amendment that would make the development possible.

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