After a summer of negotiations between Sheridan Nurseries and the villagers of Glen Williams, an agreement on a new 91-home subdivision has been ironed out and officially approved by the Ontario Municipal Board this week. Council approved the deal at its Sept. 5 council meeting. That was followed by hearings at an OMB hearing later in the week and concluded this week. The 88-acre property is located on the south side of Prince St., west of the Tenth Line and east of the Credit River. Planned is a 91-lot subdivision to be serviced with municipal water and sanitary sewers. Sheridan will upfront the $2-3 million cost to build the Regional Sanitary Sewer Pump Station and sewer system, possibly located in a part of Glen Williams Park. The neighbourhood would be connected to the village through a walking trail to the park. The average density is two lots per acre and the minimum lot size is a quarter-acre. Lots are varied in keeping with the historic patterns of planning of the Glen. Standard curbs, gutters and sidewalks have been eliminated in favour of a more environmentally-friendly narrower road, with pathway surfaces and ditches on either side for low impact storm drainage. In a presentation to council, Sheridan Nurseries president Bill Stensson said the company has been a part of Glen Williams for the past 50 years and hopes to be there for the next 50.
He noted the new plan has solved 95 per cent of the key issues raised by the residents last spring when it was presented in a public meeting. "From the very beginning, Sheridan Nurseries has been determined to do the right thing to deliver the best possible development to the hamlet of Glen Williams," he said, pointing out the company could have sold off the land to a developer, but instead decided to spearhead the project itself in the best interest of both the Glen and the company. Wayne van Hinte, member of the Glen Williams Community Association, said this was the first time that guidelines under the new Glen Williams Secondary Plan had been used to develop a new subdivision in the village. GWCA still has concerns over the number of lots and the buffer tree strip to separate the new neighbourhood from the rest of the village and the rural area. While the Town and Sheridan Nurseries advocated a conservation easement under homeownership, van Hinte said he had little faith in that device, and preferred to see the 20 metre (66 ft) "line in the sand" in public ownership with accompanying trails. He said GWCA would continue to advocate for publicly-owned buffers in future Glen developments. Ward 2 Councillor Joan Robson, a Glen resident, motioned to have a clause included in homeowners' agreements that they be made aware of the buffer and their responsibilities toward it. GWCA still also has serious concerns with traffic, and the impact it will have on Prince St. and the rest of the village. Ward 2 Councillor Bryan Lewis said he believed Sheridan's traffic study to be flawed. Council agreed to refer discussion about a traffic management plan and calming study for Glen Williams to the 2007 budget debate. Robson said the plan is in a vastly different form after the summer of negotiations than the spring plan due to the willing involvement of both GWCA and Sheridan. Instead of a "cookie cutter" subdivision, there are now varied lot sizes and shapes, varied setbacks, better street lay out, removal of sidewalks to reflect the rest of the village, and additional green space. "The result is a far better plan than what we started out with," she said. Mayor Rick Bonnette agreed, and commended Sheridan's willingness to compromise with the existing residents. He said this plan better represents the village than the one first seen in April. "This is a big deal for the Glen
(residents)," said Ward 4 Councillor Bob Inglis. "It appears in the spirit of co-operation there was a lot (of agreement) here." Sheridan owns about 700 acres in rural Glen Williams and stated last spring it has no plans to develop those lands into residential housing. The current plan's lots are oriented to prevent opening access to Tenth Line, and thereby possible future development of the adjacent acreage. The development in Glen Williams will incorporate sustainable storm water practices with the goal of helping to maintain current environmental conditions in the Credit Valley watershed. Christine Zimmer, senior water resource engineer with Credit Valley Conservation, said the Glen Williams development is a pilot site, and while there have been certain initiatives in B.C., there are no other locations in Canada that include the practices "to the level in this project." Reducing paved surfaces in the development is key to decreasing the amount of runoff and contaminants flowing into the streams. So, in this development, road widths will be narrower by two metres. There will be no curbs or gutters and instead there will be permeable surfaces on both sides of the roads. There will also be no sidewalks. Zimmer said this will allow "for more infiltration opposed to the run-off." "This way you are recharging your groundwater," said Zimmer. She said the developer has been "very accommodating" in developing the plan with Credit Valley Conservation. She also credits the Town, and Robson in particular, for being supportive as well. "They have been able to maintain a lot of the greenspace with woodlots," said Zimmer. Zimmer said this type of planning differs from the current practice because it looks at storm water management up front during the development process. She said they have learned that storm water ponds, which have been in use since the 1970s, are "not good enough from a water quality and erosion standpoint." She said their studies show that if Halton Hills continues to grow as it has, its sub-watershed, which is considered un-impaired now, could become seriously impaired. "There's a link between ecosystem health and public health," said Zimmer.
A 91-home environmentally-friendly subdivision is planned for Glen Williams on current Sheridan Nurseries property