A new building fronting Mill Street would be a welcome addition to downtown Creemore — but it shouldn’t come at the cost of fewer parking spaces, Clearview Township council was told.
Council held a public meeting on the new development at , Aug. 23, for a project that would replace two existing buildings and a small storage shed, and feature ground-floor retail, four second-floor apartments, and a rooftop terrace for tenants.
The building, being developed by Mannington Investments, would also be constructed at an acute angle to the main street sidewalk.
The zoning amendment requested would take the property from general commercial to a commercial zoning with exceptions for front yard setbacks, parking, landscaping requirements, and off-site snow storage.
A site plan approval application is also being reviewed concurrently with the rezoning application.
Under the township’s bylaws governing parking, the building should have 30 spaces; there are plans for 10. However, noted the applicant’s planner, Marissa Handley and Skelton Brumwell and Associates, the property would only be deficient by seven spots because of a credit on the existing parking area.
While several commenters on the project complimented the design and welcomed the investment, they also had concerns about the impact on parking, as a reduction in the commercial parking space requirements was requested, and the impact on the area during construction.
“Downtown Creemore presently suffers from an acute shortage of parking, and this needs to be addressed,” wrote Keith Boulter. “To lower the minimum requirements for this proposed development … is contrary to the best interests of the village.”
Old Mill House Pub owner Carol Sperandeo raised several points, including access to the rear delivery lane, garbage pickup, and the potential for disruption to tenants, employees and customers during the demolition and construction.
Creemore BIA president Laurie Severn said she had spoken to a number of her members, and heard concerns about parking, disruption during construction, and the potential design of the building.
“The BIA is quite pleased to see the investment and new development; it will expand our retail capacity, expand our local economy, and provide much-needed additional housing,” she said.
However, she noted, the reduction in the required number of spaces is a chief concern, and “not to be considered lightly.
“Parking on Mill Street has been an issue for several years, for tenants, business owners, staff, and customers all vying for parking spots,” she said. “The reduction in parking sets a precedent for future development on Mill Street and it should be incumbent on the developer to ensure there is adequate parking.”
The parking issues have been particularly pronounced during the pandemic, Severn added, as tenants working from home have taken up spots on the main street — sometimes for days on end.
Council will make a decision on the application at a later date.