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Townhouse development on St Davids Road draws criticism

Neighbours concerned over potential heritage property at risk of being demolished

A proposed townhouse development on St Davids Road in Thorold is drawing criticism from locals.

Businessman Anthony DiFruscia has applied to construct 15 bungalow block townhouse units at 205 St Davids Rd., featuring a central common driveway with units on the east and west side.

The development has been in the works since at least 2018, when the developer had an assessment done on the property to assert no archeological resources were present, city documents show.

An official public hearing on the zoning change is set for July 7, but on Friday the city planning team hosted a video conference after receiving several concerned emails from locals.

“The main reason for the concern appears to be the intensity of the development, 15 units. For the area it is a big change, said intermediate planner Paul Klassen to Thorold News.

He said at least five neighbours reached out to the city with concerns about the development, prompting the extra meeting.

During the call, several locals spoke about the impact of the potential building project.

“There is less than 2 meters from a property line which is just shocking. I understand that developers need to make money and profit. That is fine, but in this case, they are doing it at the expense of the community. I am disappointed by these plans. They are cookie-cutter developments that literally could go anywhere. They do not match the character of Thorold,” said a meeting attendee who lives nearby.

“I don’t want the development to turn into a student housing arrangement. We will have an excess student population that will make their way to Brock, it will cause a severe situation in terms of traffic patterns,” said a neighbour during the meeting.

Another concern is the detached stone house on the property, locally known as the ‘John Brown House’, listed on the city’s Potential Heritage Directory.

According to the development plan, the house would be demolished to make room for the townhouses, which has prompted the city to engage its heritage committee to potentially investigate the historical significance and present it before council.

“It would be a shame to knock it down,” the Friday meeting heard from a concerned local.

“I am very disappointed with the plan,” he continued.

The July 7 meeting is formally required in the city's process of handling the application, but will not decide the future of the development.

City planner Paul Klassen said the development has to be formally approved in council once all public feedback is gathered and the department has made an official recommendation on how to proceed.

Thorold News reached out to the developer for comment but had not heard back at time of publication.