February 1, 2016
Chris Halliday

Orangeville council recently approved a commercial portion of the Riddell Village development that will see three restaurants, including a McDonalds, Sunset Grill and St. Louis Grill built in the west end of town.

Orangeville will gain a second McDonalds as part of a multi-phased development that should also bring 293 condos, 106 townhouses and a hotel to the west end of town.

At its last meeting on Jan. 18, Orangeville council approved the site plan for a commercial portion of the Riddell Village development planned near Riddell Road and Spencer Avenue.

The developer’s commercial site plan includes a pharmacy, gas station, small retail complex and three restaurants, including a McDonalds, St. Louis Grill and Sunset Grill.

“It’s something that is very good for Orangeville,” said Mayor Jeremy Williams. “We have to constantly balance residential with commercial and industrial. For a long time, we have been out of whack.”

“It is super important that we bring that back into balance to reduce the burden on the average taxpayer,” the mayor added.

The Riddell Village development plan also intends to build 293 condos and a 106-unit townhouse complex. The multi-phased development also proposes to bring a hotel to the west end of town.

“That was always a big part of this,” Williams said, noting the town hasn’t received a site plan for that hotel yet. “I’m just an anxious as anyone to get going on that. It will bring so much value to that area and our town.”

Although the lands are zoned for 293 condos, Orangeville’s director of planning Nancy Tuckett noted the developer hasn't submitted a site plan for that portion either. The townhouse component has received draft approval at town hall.

“It isn’t final approval. Draft approval means they are still required to complete and satisfy a number of conditions,” Tuckett said. “It is a far larger development than this small commercial component.”

The Riddell Village development has been a subject of controversy in council chambers. Back in 2014, the town and former developer — the plan is now being undertaken by Devonleigh Homes — reached a settlement in order to avoid a trip to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).

The original blueprint, which proposed a 350-condominium complex, had drawn the ire of a group of residents living nearby. In terms of its residential components, the Riddell Village development now calls for less than 300 condos and 106 townhouses.

While he isn't always a fan of high density housing, Williams said “far too many residential areas” have been proposed in town. From his perspective, this development strikes a balance between commercial and residential.

“We really have to work harder to get that balance back,” Williams said, turning to the commercial side of the development recently approved by council. “They’ve already got tenants. It is a successful project boom before they put the shovel in the ground.”

With Orangeville currently in the midst of reviewing its Official Plan, Williams noted the province is urging the town to allow more high-density housing.

From his perspective, the land located along Riddell Road and Spencer Avenue is ideal for intensification. It isn’t a monstrosity of high density though, he said.

“You got to pick some areas where your density is higher,” Williams explained. “It is high density, but oh my God, it’s nothing compared to what it could be or even probably should be.”

“If you were talking to some of the land planners down at Queen’s Park, they’d be saying, ‘This is crazy. You got to go up a higher density’,” the mayor added.

Williams hopes to have more news about the hotel construction plans in the upcoming weeks. However, the town is still waiting to receive site plans for both the hotel and condominium complex.

“It is a step-by-step process. The first is the overall plan approval which has been done and after that, it is the individual chunks of the plan,” Williams said. “It is moving along well. These things take time.”

Chris Halliday covers Dufferin County, school board and police. He can be reached at Follow the Orangeville Banner on Twitter and Facebook.

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