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'It's like an airport': Newmarket residents concerned about increased traffic 32 townhouse units could bring

'The (home)owners ... do not want to look out their windows at a brick wall that was once a forest,' says Pickering Crescent resident concerned about loss of greenspace
2021-06-28-Pickering Crescent development-JQ
Residents are expressing concern with a proposed 32-unit townhouse development at 415 Pickering Cres., which was previously leased to a private school.

Residents on Newmarket's Pickering Crescent are skeptical that a developer's proposal to build 32 townhouse units on their street won't impact traffic volumes. 

“The traffic is just going to be so much more,” said one resident, who asked to remain anonymous. “When school is on, the traffic is just phenomenal. It’s like an airport.”

Neighbour Christine Grimbly said she is worried about the future of her street in the wake of a 32-unit townhouse development proposed there.
 
“It’s going to be kind of an eyesore,” Grimbly said. “It’s a shame they’re just building on any piece of land they can find. It’s a lot of houses going on a small area.”
 
READ MORE: What's Going Up: 32 townhouses proposed for Newmarket's Pickering Crescent

A traffic study done by Paradigm Transportation Solutions Limited said the proposal would generate less traffic than the private school that has leased the site at 415 Pickering from 2425945 Ontario Inc. until recently.

The study said the development would generate approximately 15 vehicle trips in the morning peak hour compared to 161 for the school, and 18 in the afternoon peak hour, compared to 99. 
 
But residents said the street has additional traffic problems because of Newmarket High School at one end of the street and the close proximity of Bogart Public School. 
 
“Adding 32 townhomes on a small parcel of land will not benefit the area at all. We do not agree with the traffic study and are strongly against the development,” resident Sarah Pacey said.

The developer's proposal, submitted to the town by KLM Planning, remains in the application stage, as the municipality said it is awaiting a resubmission, with no timeline on a recommendation report from planning staff.
 
The developer has owned the property since 2014, when it purchased it from the Salvation Army, and has leased it since then, most recently to Innova Academy, a private Christian school, but the building will be torn down. The property is 0.810 hectares and has greenspace surrounding it. The proposal includes 64 resident parking spaces and nine visitor spaces.
 
Along with the traffic concerns, residents have raised concerns about the development’s potential impact on the population density and loss of greenspace.
 
“The (home)owners on Pickering Crescent do not want to look out their windows at a brick wall that was once a forest,” Pacey said. 
 
KLM Planning did not respond to a request a comment before publication, however, a planning justification said the development would fit in with the surrounding area, with inclusions of benches, sidewalks and trees.
 
“The proposed residential development will provide a level of urban design that is compatible with the existing character of the community,” the document from KLM planning said. “The proposed residential development prioritizes pedestrian accessibility and connectivity."
 
The town planning department said once the applicant makes a resubmission, it will be reviewed internally, and by external agencies. There are not yet any dates for public input.