Renfrew – A 63-unit apartment building, which is Phase 1 of Lepine Apartments on Barnet Boulevard, will soon be starting construction.
Renfrew council passed a by-law for a Site Plan Agreement with 475 Barnet Boulevard Inc. (Lepine) for the first phase of a seven-building apartment complex totalling 370 units plus parking spaces, an amenity building and two internal ring roads. The amenity building, known as The Lodge, is a one-storey building containing an exercise room, pool, lounge, meeting rooms and a property management office.
Don Schultz and Francis Lepine attended the virtual council meeting held September 22.
Town planner Eric Withers reviewed the report on this project with council.
“It’s a pleasure to bring this project forward to council at this time,” he said. “It’s been a pleasure to work with the group at Lepine. They’re sophisticated in the way they prepare materials and do business. They are very seasoned and have done this several times before.
“They know the drill and make it relatively painless,” he added.
It was only 14 months ago the project idea was brought to the planner’s table, and 10 months ago it came before council, which is a quick turnaround, he said.
Mr. Withers said Phase 1 is in the northwest corner of 475 Barnet Blvd. near Eighth Street. It is for a 63-unit building with 126 parking spaces, a larger part of the westerly section of the ring road and other necessary servicing, landscaping and amenity areas to support the first building. It’s a good place to start because it gets all the dust out of the way for Eighth Street residents and will provide buffering for subsequent phases, he said.
The terms of issues dealing with this project included zoning in two site specific zones because in the middle of the property a building needed additional height as it’s up to five storeys, he said. Zoning also dealt with accessible parking and reduced parking, he added.
Internal agencies did respond, with the fire chief dealing with technical matters relating to firewater volumes, Mr. Withers noted. Planning matters, such as landscaping, looks good “with quite a bit of deciduous and coniferous trees, smaller scale foundation plantings and sod. It will be an attractive design once everything is matured up,” he said.
The transportation impact study provided was quite detailed and the noise levels on the site are going to be in line with acceptable levels, he noted.
There was some discussion around development charges and a $50,000 letter of credit, along with a performance bond, which will be worked out following a legal opinion, Mr. Withers said.
While there was a concern from a councillor about setting precedents with this project, public works director Mike Asselin said a similar agreement occurred with another project, Huntergate Subdivision.
Reeve Peter Emon said he was very comfortable going forward with this kind of mechanism.
“Council is usually very risk aversive, but this is no risk to the municipality or the corporation or difficulties within the planning act,” he said. “It makes sense to go forward.”
While the reeve agreed it was a quick timeline, that only “speaks to the professionalism of both parties, to sit down, be prepared, and make decisions quickly.”
Councillor Sandi Heins said many citizens are excited with this apartment complex and she’s sure the building will be filled in no time.
She was appreciative of staff’s detailed report and reviewing it at each level it has gone through, whether that be provincial, municipal or county.
“You’ve done a great job,” she said. “The Lepine group has been excellent to deal with so far.”
Mayor Don Eady agreed it was a good report.
“I think we have a good partnership moving ahead.”