Volume 96, Issue 76
Thursday, February 13, 2003

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City up in arms over developer

By Paolo Zinatelli
Gazette Staff

Londoners are up in arms over a recent ruling by the Ontario Municipal Board that allows a developer to proceed with building new student-centred townhouses near Western's campus.

The new development is being built at the corner of Richmond Street and Epworth Avenue – just north of the Richmond Gates – by Arnon Kaplansky of KAP Holdings Ltd.

Last October, an OMB decision stated the City of London had until Jan. 31, 2003 to submit revised Zoning Bylaw amendments and modified site plans, as they were unhappy with the developer's original plans.

"Our understanding of the ruling was the city had until Jan. 31 to submit revised site plan drawings," said Joni Baechler, a London ward 2 city councillor.

A ruling came down from the OMB on Jan. 24 allowing the developer to proceed with construction, Baechler confirmed.

"The board orders that the appeal... is allowed," the OMB decision stated.

When the developer's plans were forwarded without comments from the city, the OMB must have assumed that the city was not going to be commenting at all, said Alex Arthur, president of the Broughdale Community Association.

The October decision stated that new construction would have to be compatible with the existing houses already in the area, Arthur said.

"In the OMB decision [last October], it said the buildings had to be sensitive to the building in the area," Baechler said.

"The [January] proposal must recognize and be architecturally sensitive to the existing buildings," stated the OMB's October decision.

There are currently four buildings in the area with the same design, Baechler added. "[The city wanted] a little bit of change in the exterior treatment," she said.

At the moment, the highest house in that area is two and half stories tall, Arthur said, adding the developer's plans show the new townhouses will be three and a half stories.

The city passed a motion on Monday of last week, requesting the OMB withdraw the ruling, Arthur said. "It's late, because the developer started working immediately."

Baechler said the city asked for the ruling to be rescinded, however, the OMB declined.

Arnon Kaplansky could not be reached for comment.

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2002 THE GAZETTE