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112 Union St East | 4 fl | U/C
(12-31-2016, 12:31 PM)OrokZin Wrote: Hi All,

Just to clarify a couple of posts/comments - I am the property owner of the corner lot of Union and Moore (bordering the development of Union Crossing). A few have commented that "the property owners MUST have been approached by the developer at some point" and the impression seems to be that I (and my neighbors) were "holding out for a higher offer" or being otherwise difficult or greedy.

To clear things up:

- We were never approached about an offer by the developer, or communicated with at all, until receiving a variance meeting notice two days before the City was holding said meeting
- Although the plan was approved (including all variances for less parking, higher building height, encroachment on properties bordering Moore as well as John Street - except the precious train track... no variance there...), it fell through and the land and approved plan were put up for sale.
- A new developer looking to buy the site and develop stacked executive townhouses DID approach us with a reasonable offer that we DID accept. The deal was contingent on the City approving the new plan, which included driveways that faced Moore Ave S. The City did not approve the plan based on the fact that the driveways/townhouses were too close to Moore Avenue and that they would encroach on their "easement"...  Following the collapse of that deal (we were absolutely thrilled to take the first offer, by the way... no negotiation, no asking for more money, no holding out...), we heard absolutely nothing for years. The site appeared to be abandoned ...
-After several years (check Google Street View...) of the site having boarded up rundown houses on it (occupied only by drifters and junkies - we called so many times that the police eventually just stopped showing up to clear the buildings...), the site was taken off the market. After still more time, we were notified of another meeting to unveil the new plan...
- At no point were we communicated with by the developer/owner of the properties -- by mail, phone, or in person... The only communication we received was from the Adjustment Committee with regard to upcoming meetings...
- When we attended the meeting where the new plan was unveiled, we finally got to speak with the developer. We asked why they had never considered including our property in the plan and were told that "We can't develop on it because the easement goes about halfway through your living room... There is no way to make money off of your property and we just don't need it. We can work around it..." The City Councillor we spoke with agreed...

So, in the end, the construction has been underway for about 15 months and appears to be winding down. While we certainly feel that the look and feel of the development is far better than the earlier plan and that the buildings actually look quite nice, it has by no means been an "easy" process, nor has the developer "worked with the community" as stated in the Waterloo Record article...

For a property that the developer absolutely "didn't need" as part of their plan, there sure have been a good number of inconveniences and outright incursions on my home... The minor stuff would be: workers crossing the lawn to cut the corner on the way to the site, parking equipment in my private driveway, having meetings on my front walk, sitting on my stairs, littering on my property, using my backyard to talk about site plans, and blocking my driveway exit with equipment. The more major things would include: blocking my driveway with equipment for entire days without even so much as a notice, digging up the end of my driveway to trench gas lines for an entire day (at least they let us know that we would have to leave by 7 am on a Thursday - which we didn't have to do because we were on Christmas holidays ...), knocking snowbanks of shoveled snow back onto the freshly cleared sidewalk with materials trucks and NOT cleaning it afterward, randomly needing to shut off the water/hydro to my property, and not adhering to City guidelines (bylaws?) for noise and equipment times - often starting work before 700 am and operating machinery on Sundays throughout the summer.

Lastly, another post talks about parking at the development. This was raised with the City numerous times as a concern of the neighborhood.  My understanding is that there might be one space per unit, less the accessible parking spots, although looking at the recently paved lot, there doesn't look like a lot of room for 30-some-odd spaces, what with the waste tanks also located in the lot. There are absolutely no visitor parking spots and I'm guessing if a family/prospective occupant has more than one vehicle, they'll have to look elsewhere for a rental property. Where does the City think people are going to park? The only option would be Moore Ave, which has a school directly across from the site and therefore limited parking, or John St, which is already a busy thoroughfare. It just doesn't seem well thought out to me... But anyway, I guess everyone will be taking the LRT soon... 

In any event, the development is certainly in the final stages and we very much look forward to seeing the finished product. I just wanted to clarify a few points for folks who might be interested in what actually happened vs. what they "know must have happened" or just feel like casting aspersions on people.

Sorry for the ramble... J.

Thank-you OrokZin for the insightful posting. This situation reveals one example of the several challenges of infill development and intensification in mature neighbourhoods for Cities, developers and residents alike. Just shows how infill development can be more challenging to the parties involved than greenfield subdivision developments (not that this is a bad thing - just a reality that will/is becoming more commonplace with urban development).
Forgot to post this last week:
Everyone move to the back of the bus and we all get home faster.

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