Angry crowd pans Nepean development

Nepean residents turned out in droves Wednesday evening to voice their frustration about new development they say will mire them in gridlock.

“We’re not against intensification, but this is ludicrous,” said Cynthia Sutcliffe, who’s lived in the area for more than 30 years.

About 150 people showed up to Ben Franklin Place to hear about a rezoning application for four apartment buildings at 2940 Baseline Rd., west of Greenbank Rd. that will range from eight to 16 storeys, with 588 units and 706 parking spaces.

It could house up to 1,500 people and that means even more cars on the street, which is an east-west corridor for many commuters.

“If the (highway) 417 is blocked up, they move up to Baseline or they use Baseline, always,” said Sheldon Munro, who has lived in Nepean for about seven years.

“It’s very tight now. If this kind of development goes in, it’s going to be much tighter,” she said.

Residents’ questions were answered by a panel of city staff and consultants.

During peak hours, the crowd heard, there are roughly 1,000 vehicles an hour on Baseline Rd.

With 588 more units, the morning rush hour would grow by estimated 160 cars, while the afternoon commute would get 170 more vehicles, according to figures presented by the panel.

Residents weren’t buying those estimates, challenging the figures with sarcasm.

“I don’t know what methodology you use for your traffic study,” said one man, prompting laughter from the crowd.

Architect Roderick Lahey said the parking lot entrance and exit will be right on Baseline.

The sheer size of the development was a concern for many.

“We believe that this development is far too large, far too high, and far too dense,” Sutcliffe said.

The area is currently zoned for 22 metres, which is seven or eight storeys.

“We wish they’d come in with something like six storeys for a condo, something reasonable, and this is only phase one.”

Coun. Rick Chiarelli called for residents to form a steering committee with two sub-groups, focusing on traffic and the effect on the community.

Another meeting will be held in September.

http://www.ottawasun.com/2011/08/10/angry-crowd-pans-nepean-development

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