A controversial plan to build townhouses in a Main Street South neighbourhood was deferred today, mainly due to concerns over trees.

The application for the development was first brought to the city in April 2014 and the city approved it, with conditions, a year later in April 2015.

The development at 17 to 29 Clarence Street, just east of Main Street, would build 35 three-storey townhouses. The development would compose of six blocks and a private street.Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 9.40.38 PMThe application was brought forward by Gagnon and Law Urban Planners Ltd on behalf of Yorkshire Holdings Inc. Neighbours in the area had oppose the plans mainly because they fear the development would cut down many of the large trees that characterize the area.

Chetal Vichare, the resident whose property borders the development, hired an arborist, an expert in trees, and a land surveyor out of her own pocket to highlight her concerns. Vichare spoke emotionally to council, upset over the process it took the city and developer to reach the conclusions that she had to pay personally to reach.Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 9.41.24 PMOne tree, in the southwest corner was of concern. City staff agreed and have asked the developer to drop the unit closest to the corner. The resident’s arborist asks that another two units are dropped to protect more trees. Both city forestry staff and the developer’s arborist disagreed.

Nader Hassan, Vichare’s legal counsel from Stockwoods LLP Barrister, repeated the request to drop the two additional units closest to the south property line, repeatedly referencing the city’s best practices regarding Tree Protection zones.

Councilor Martin Medeiros (City, 3 & 4) moved a motion to defer the item until next month, in order to solve some issues. Councillor Michael Palleschi (Regional, 2 & 6) added a friendly amendment encouraging the residents and developers sit down and hash out an agreement before the next council meeting.

The final approval of this development will occur on February 25, 2016.

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