by Rhonda Massad
Upcoming on March 16, if at least 116 people out of 1,000 eligible voters sign a register against a proposed zoning bylaw change, developer Jean Houde will not be able to proceed with the project of 22 townhouses slated for the corner of Prairie Drive and Beaurepaire. Currently zoned commercial the property which housed an ESSO gas station until five years ago, would need to be rezoned for residential use.
For the process to have come this far two petitions with 28 signatures combined were deposited to city hall instigating a referendum for residents in the area.
In December, many of those same voters came out to express concerns about safety, traffic, densification, sound and decontamination of the 53,500 square foot lot.
As previously reported, Beaconsfield City Councillor Wade Staddon finds the project to be suitable for the area and it has been passed through the Urban Planning committee.
“Residential use is preferable to commercial use from the standpoint of traffic, noise and other nuisances — especially as the property adjoins a residential area. Because it’s residential, the land will have to be decontaminated to a higher standard. As a side benefit, it would also serve as a free de facto sound wall for the Prairie area,” Staddon explained last month.
Long time resident Gilles Perron does not feel that the 116 signatures will be a problem to acquire. He feels the project is too big for the lot. City officials have indicated that if this project does not go through the lot could end up as a restaurant or depanneur but according to Perron the the zoning specifications table for C214 (former Esso station) do not include restaurant services but only retail and service businesses including a convenience store or gasoline services but not both.
“Even if the land was to stay commercial it will not be a big deal,we had the ESSO service station for 45 years and few or no complaints about noise or traffic nor was it much disruptive,” Perron explained, “on the contrary many residents found it very convenient. There is much more traffic in the past 3 years since the City imposed a no left turn coming out from the Beaconsfield Shopping Mall so that motorists must now use the Beaurepaire overpass to connect to St-Charles North. I will venture to say that if the elected officials were living nearby they may have a very different opinion on the project.”