Westward Independent

Drinkwater Road Development Blunder

by Westward Independent
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A builder purchased land between Ford Rd. and Paddle Rd. in 2020 and embarked on the lengthy journey toward approval. The developer initially presented a plan for a 5-story, 108-unit building with some affordable housing. Subsequently, the MNC requested a “Park” dedication, involving the removal of the northern half of the subject property and road dedication. Opting not to take on the role of a park ranger, the owner has offered to sell the “Park” dedication land to the MNC at fair market value for $1,415,000.00 (your tax dollars).

This change, however, compelled the developer to undergo a complete revision to the design. It was determined that the end result would be a single 6-storey residential building with only 55 dwelling units. After 3-1/2 years since the builder’s initial Zoning Amendment meeting with the MNC and over 5 months since their revised Zoning Amendment application was submitted (July 2023), the MNC introduced the “Drinkwater Road Frontage Improvements” to locate a new bus stop at the southwest corner of the subject site. This new statutory right of way imposed another reduction of the subject site. Additionally, the MNC recently increased the east-west bisecting road dedication from 17.7M to 20.0M, resulting in an additional (40+/-SM) to be cut from his property. Finally, there were also two road corner cut dedications at both the northeast corner and southeast corner.

The developer’s architect is quoted as saying when asked by the MNC about affordable housing: “Regarding ‘affordable housing policy’ – in consideration of the significant reduction in the development potential of the site after the dedications combined with the economic impacts and reduction in the total number of dwelling units, unfortunately, there remains no potential to integrate any ‘affordable housing’ units at this time.”

Regarding “community amenity contributions” – according to our records, the Owner/Developer promised to donate, in lieu of community amenity contributions and as a condition to the sale of the “Park” land to the MNC, upon the issuance of the Building Permit, the total amount of $3,000/unit with the stipulation that the total amount donated would be allocated to the Municipal Park Reserve Fund and not simply allocated to a general reserve fund.

In the end, it seems as if N.C. will be paying 1.5 million for parkland they will have to maintain, located steps from the wet housing complex, while still receiving $165k in “community amenity fees” for a building now without affordable housing units.

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