Council goes ahead with proposed subdivision despite resident concerns

Looking west at the subject lands from Idlewild Drive.

Chatham-Kent council is going ahead with plans to permit row housing as part of a proposed subdivision in north Chatham.

The proposed development is to be built on what is currently farmland directly north of Erickson Arena and Chatham-Kent Secondary School.

The developer, Mohawk Farms Ltd, is planning to build a mixture of 108 single-detached lots as well as 50 row house dwelling units on Delaware Avenue.

However, some nearby neighbours have issues with the proposed development, including traffic concerns and the density of the development. Another concern is that area schools will become overwhelmed with an influx of new students.

“This project, while not everyone may agree with it, is seen from our perspective, to be well laid out,” said David French, who is representing the developer through Storey Samways Planning. “The issues that have been identified by the public are common issues across all developments in Chatham-Kent, Windsor and all over Ontario.”

The biggest issue among residents is the level of traffic.

Ken Poisont, who has lived on Delaware Avenue for 32 years, said he always knew the land would be developed but thought it would be low-density, single-family homes.

“I would like to have a community in that area, but I would like to have a nice community,” said Poisont. “With the traffic bottleneck that’s already on Delaware, it’s busy, especially when school is in or the arena is going.”

Due to the concerns, council first voted on whether to defer making a decision and get more public consultation.

Councillor Conor Allin made the motion to defer but the motion failed.

He said more information and answers were needed before moving forward.

“I do think the traffic is a much bigger issue than what is being presented,” said Allin.

Councillor Marjorie Crew said the municipality needs more rental housing and alluded to the fact that it doesn’t lead to crime or bad neighbourhoods.

“With the prices of houses these days, we need to be able to have some rental units available to people in our community who need them,” said Crew. “To afford a rental unit these days, you need to have a pretty good job.”

The final vote on the land use policy changes passed with a 15-2 vote.