More housing is coming to downtown Smiths Falls.
Town council entered into a site plan agreement earlier this week, during a special committee of the whole meeting, with Hammer and Nails Development, for a redevelopment at the corner of Maple Avenue and William Street West, which is about a block away from the Hotel Rideau, said senior planner Karl Grenke during Monday night's meeting.
The new owners have proposed to turn the site into a four-storey, mixed-use building; it is to include 33 rental units, which will feature three bachelor units, 12 one-bedroom units with three identified as accessible and 18 two-bedroom units with three identified as accessible.
Each unit will have a private balcony on the upper storeys, and the project includes two commercial units along the frontage on William Street West, stated the report.
"I'm happy to support this and look forward to seeing it," said Coun. Lorraine Allen, who started the discussion on Monday evening. She commended the developers for including a masonry wall and sharing the cost of snow removal with a neighbouring business.
"It's something we need very much and it's going to be a much better corner from now on," said Allen.
Coun. Christopher McGuire thanked the planning advisory committee, noting this project is very exciting.
"To see something with four storeys, right downtown that's making use of an under-used lot and putting the building right at the corner is really going to positively affect the pedestrian experience," added McGuire. "I'm really happy to see this come on the agenda this week."
Grenke said that, with council's direction, he can speak with the developers to find out where some of the mechanical aspects of the building, like vents and gas hookups, will be, in hopes they would be located at the back of the building, not to deter from the façade.
Power lines along Maple Avenue and William Street West will be buried to allow for the development. According to the report, Hydro One has advised it has no objection to the proposal provided the developers cover the cost of relocation.
Coun. Wendy Alford said she doesn’t believe Smiths Falls has had a landscaped terrace before this building project.
"I'm anxious to see that and it just adds an aesthetic element to the downtown core."
Alford added this is the developer's second large project in town and she is grateful to see its continued investment in Smiths Falls.
Coun. Jay Brennan said he is also supportive of the recommendation to enter a site plan agreement
Staff was also asked to meet with the developers to see if the barrier-free units will be upgraded to be fully accessible.
(Jessica Munro is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Brockville Recorder and Times. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.)
Jessica Munro, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brockville Recorder and Times