Virtual public meeting to review Allandale Station-area development a first for Barrie City Hall

Meeting allowed concerned residents to weigh in from home

Barrie City Council took its first stab at a virtual public meeting as it listened to a presentation about a development that could end up across the street from Allandale GO Station.

The proposed build calls for a four-story, seven-unit condominium walk-up to be constructed on a vacant lot on Gowan Street near the corner of Bayview Drive. The developer is seeking an amendment to the city’s bylaws that would allow for more population density on the land. The developers are also hoping for a few other minor amendments, including allowing for a greater gross floor area and increasing the maximum front yard parking coverage by ten percent.

A rendering of the project as it appeared in Monday’s planning committee presentation

City Hall had given advance notice on how to preregister to appear at the virtual public meeting, as well as reminding viewers how to join as the lives-streamed meeting progressed. Four area residents registered beforehand, and after a short time spent ironing out some IT wrinkles behind-the-scenes, a fifth joined the public discourse after contacting City Hall during the meeting.

Concerns raised included how far back the structure would sit on the property compared to neighbouring homes, and how it would affect the privacy of surrounding backyards, while one resident stated it was good to see something done with the vacant lot.

A concept of the project was presented to local residents at a neighbourhood meeting in October of 2019. During the meeting, residents stated it was expected the developer would preserve the character of the historic Allandale neighbourhood. At Monday’s development meeting, the project heads said they will meet that expectation and will collaborate with the Allandale Neighbourhood Association on further design matters.

City staff will now examine the zoning by-law amendment request and report back to council in the coming weeks. Comments made during the virtual meeting will be taken into consideration as staff make their final recommendations to council.

Monday’s virtual public meeting to review the proposed development was a first for the city of Barrie

Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman pointed out to Barrie 360 this is the first time the city has held a virtual public meeting to review a proposed project, adding it is important this type of meeting works as there are some big-ticket items coming up for review in the coming weeks. He pointed out more proposals being pitched at planning committee meetings are a hopeful sign of economic recovery, as it indicates developers aren’t frightened by a potential COVID-related recession.

The public meeting was followed by a city council meeting; both can be viewed in full here: