Redevelopment planned on Ontario Die Company property in north end of Midtown

This post is from a neighbour who lives on Roger Street, near the Ontario Die Company redevelopment site. They have been following the process diligently since the announcement of the sale of the property a few years ago.

I want to update you on the proposed development of the Ontario Die Co (ODC) lands at the Corner of Roger and Moore streets.

Ron Levene, ODC’s president has announced that he will be available on Thursday Apr 20, 5-7pm at ODC, 119 Roger St, to share his development concept.

The meeting is open to all who are interested. Please plan to attend.

The parcel slated for development can be seen in the image below. Plans include demolition of the houses on plots numbered 93-111, as well as demolition of the factory building on the parcel of land labelled “Moore” in the image below. In order to develop the land that the factory sits on, ODC has applied to the City of Waterloo to change the land’s current zoning from light industrial to residential.


WHAT WE KNOW • Zoning Changes

A preliminary inquiry has been submitted by a developer for the ODC land. The plan includes demolishing seven houses on Roger Street adjacent to the ODC building (numbers 93-111). As we understand it, at this stage the inquiry is only for fact-finding—in other words, the developer wants to know if the City is amenable to the kind of development they envision.Should the developer pursue construction on this land, the next step in the process would be to change the current zoning of the property. Though the majority of the ODC land is used for light industry, the land is currently designated as appropriate for low-density housing. Typically, this means that new buildings cannot be higher than 3 stories and no closer to the street than the existing houses on Roger Street. (This would apply to Moore Street as well).

However, it is likely a developer will want to increase the zoning to medium density to allow for higher buildings.

There are several medium density options that a developer could seek and any request to change the zoning will trigger an opportunity for public input. Waterloo residents within a small radius of the ODC site will get notification letters of the request and will have opportunity to give input into any discussion of a zoning change. While the notification area is quite small, we are within the area and when we get a notification you can be assured we will broadcast the news widely. Notification of zoning change hearings will not be delivered to residents of Kitchener no matter how near they are to this parcel of land.

There will be other opportunities for input and requirements for notification. It is not possible for the developer to be able to finalize plans for the site without us being aware of what is slated and having a chance to respond to what is proposed.

WHAT WE KNOW • Proposed Development

As we understand it, Ron Levine’s current proposed development plan is to front Roger and Moore streets with three- and/or four-story town homes that have shallower frontage than the existing buildings now have (in other words, the front doors will be closer to the sidewalks), and to also build three six-story condo/apartment buildings behind these. Parking will be a mix of paved surface lots and underground complexes. It is unclear at this point whether all the new buildings will be condos, or a mix of condos and rentals. In a nutshell, though, this means that six single-family homes, a triplex, a small factory and the land it sits on, will be cleared to make way for a new development that will easily include more than 100 housing units.

This represents a undeniable densification of our neighbourhood, increased traffic, and a big change to our skyline. Because our neighbourhood is currently dominated by older single-family detached homes, this proposed development also represents a significant change to the type of neighborhood we are.

WHAT WE KNOW • Property Value

I contacted MPAC, the Municipal Property Assessment Corp, to ask what will happen to my property valuation if the proposed development goes through. MPAC replied that living next to a six-story apartment building will cause the value of my property to drop by at least 5%.

WHAT WE CAN DO • Be Vocal, Be Seen

Please plan to attend the information meeting on Thurs Apr 20, 5-7pm at ODC, 119 Roger St, to view the drawings of the proposed development. Ask questions. Clearly, patiently and calmly explain any objections or concerns you might have to what is proposed.

Though I wish it were otherwise, there’s probably nothing we can do to stop this parcel of land from being developed. What we can do, though, is articulate our concerns or objections to the height and density of the proposed development by attending future zoning hearings.
Consider sending an email to Melissa Durrell, Waterloo Ward 7 councilor, and share your thoughts about this development with her. In other words, its important to be vocal and be seen.  

Circulate this notice to your neighbours and encourage them to attend the meeting on the 20th. Encourage them to contact me  to be added to the list for future updates.
• Watch for notices of hearings about proposed zoning changes to this parcel of land and make it a priority to attend.
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