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Reduced parking OK'd for new assisted living facility on Davis

Newmarket committee of adjustment grants variance requests for the 96-unit 'premium option' Sunrise Senior Living facility
An artistic rendering of a new assisted living facility proposed for Davis Drive.

The proposed six-storey assisted living facility on Davis Drive in Newmarket is making progress after getting approval for minor variances Jan. 25.

The project from Sunrise Senior Living will see a 96-unit facility at 603 Davis Dr, meant to be a private, “premium option” for a long-term care home, according to the proponents. The committee of adjustment approved minor variances to reduce the required parking on the facility. Sunrise justified the application by saying the home’s residents would not be driving or biking. 

Sunrise vice-president of development Clyde McGraw said their mission is to champion quality of life for seniors. 

“It’s a very much in need that exists in Newmarket and surrounding area,” he said. “We are excited to be an important part of the development of downtown Newmarket.”

The variance will allow the development to go ahead with 55 parking spaces using an underground parking garage, versus the 72 that would normally be required under town bylaws. It will also only have one loading zone versus four mandated by bylaw and 10 temporary bike parking spaces versus the 48 long-term ones that would have been required.

McGraw said the use, height and density are allowed under current town plans and bylaws. 

A concurrent site plan application is in the works. Speaking on behalf of Sunrise, WND Associates planner Tyler Peck said that application is progressing well.

“The level of care Sunrise provides differentiates it on the spectrum of care from independent retirement living,” he said, adding the project “doesn’t result in any negative built-form impact on the surrounding neighbourhoods. The requested variances are largely technical in nature.” 

Peck said left turns will not be permitted from the driveway onto Bolton Avenue to “limit traffic infiltration into the neighbourhood.” 

The application received correspondence from a neighbour on Lundy’s Lane backing onto the property. Peck said they would be meeting the concerns raised in the letter, including a privacy fence with coniferous trees, a plan to handle telecommunications infrastructure and directing security lighting away from adjacent properties.

Peck said there would be more than 50 employees for the facility spread across three shifts, with the largest daytime shift having 30 employees. At full occupancy, there would be about 110 to 115 beds, with some of the rooms having two beds.

Planning staff backed the minor variance application based on the nuances of the facility.

“The proposed development introduces an assisted living and memory care facility to a property on an important corridor,” town planner Kaitlin Friesen said in a report. “The development would also provide housing for older adults, include employment opportunities in healthcare, and enliven the street frontage through at-grade commercial uses along Davis Drive.”

The project will still need further town approvals before it goes ahead.