Images of proposed project at 3612 St. Jean, Dollard Des Ormeaux.
Pictures: Provencher Roy
The announcement of a proposed high-density residential project at 3612 St. Jean, just to the south of Chenoy's Restaurant, is raising some residents' concerns in Dollard-des-Ormeaux. Comprised of a 9-storey building and three smaller structures, this mix of rental units and condominiums could bring a much-needed variety of sustainable housing to an area dominated by single-family dwellings.
With the construction of new REM stations all along Highway 40, transit-oriented development (TOD) is on everyone's mind. Unique and diverse residential projects are sprouting up across the West Island as municipalities try to combine active travel and social interaction and update a half-century-old urban design. But not all residents are happy. Some residents have concerns about increased traffic on major arteries. Others fear their houses will lose value if a large-scale project backs onto Morningside Road, a quiet, residential street.
According to Dollard Des Ormeaux Mayor, Alex Bottausci, there is a legal process underway and he is not at liberty to comment at this time.
"I would be more than happy to comment once the process is completed," he stated in an exchange with West Island News.
A specific construction, alteration, or occupancy proposal for an immovable (SCAOPI) is a regulatory tool that enables a Municipal Council to authorize a project that is at variance with the City's urban planning bylaws. Dollard's planning bylaw, written in 1982, currently conflicts with many of the provisions in the said bylaw, upsetting many of the residents who wonder why the developer is not being asked to meet the requirements of creating sufficient green space or parking.
"I completely understand the need for high-density housing in this area," said Deborah Ancel, an Elm Park resident. "This property is one of the best locations in Dollard. The revenue it will bring to the City will help maintain our services, like garbage collection, library hours and park access."
But Ms. Ancel is not entirely in favour of this project. She is worried about the impact of traffic and parking on local roads, she went on to say that she feels the City is ignoring residents' concerns about the traffic impact on surrounding streets, where "a combination of the lack of visitor parking and the REM could create congestion on narrow roads." She mentions that the access to the parking garage is situated on the west of St. Jean, accessible only from the north. The recommendation is for future residents to make a U-turn on De Salaberry, a move Ms. Ancel describes as unsafe.
Due to the changes in zoning and the variances with the City's bylaws, citizens have requested a register in opposition to the planned project, whose date, location, and number of required signatures are yet to be announced. Expected to occur in mid-January, residents have been encouraged to check the Public Notices section of the Dollard-des-Ormeaux website to find out more, with the notice to be published 5 days prior to the registry. The register date will likely be posted on the city website on Friday, January 6th.
A Facebook group and email have been created for those who wish to get involved in this process.