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‘We didn’t want to ghettoize our building’: Windsor council approves Montessori School despite public concerns

Approval of a Montessori school, located on the corner of Chestnut and Hawthorne streets in Windsor, was blocked after members of the public raised concerns about traffic and parking on July 25, 2017.
Approval of a Montessori school, located on the corner of Chestnut and Hawthorne streets in Windsor, was blocked after members of the public raised concerns about traffic and parking on July 25, 2017.

WINDSOR, N.S. – After planning staff introduced an updated proposal of a mixed-use Montessori School/private residence on the corner of Hawthorne and Chestnut Streets, Windsor’s town council approved the motion.

Windsor town planner, Doug Parrish, made a brief presentation during a special council session Aug. 14 with new information and up-to-date measurements of the streets where the school would be located.

Parrish said he did not foresee parking or traffic congestion, issues that were brought up during a public hearing on the proposal, being an issue.

“The addition of up to an additional 15 vehicles on Chestnut and Hawthorne Street would not have a significant impact on traffic volume,” Parrish said. “The sightlines… are not a concern in terms of a traffic safety perspective.”

He said that it’s also likely that there will be fewer than 15 vehicles as some students may be traveling together.

He added that there’s no evidence this project would have an impact on property values.

The proponents were thrilled with the decision, but added they were somewhat disappointed with the public’s response to the project.

“We’re pleased that we get to move forward with something that I believe in,” Deborah Griffiths-Cuffari said following the meeting.

“On the other hand, it doesn’t feel as good, knowing some neighbours aren’t on board. We’ve got a seven-bedroom home that has another purpose that’s still lovely and holds true to the house.”

While there’s no way the school could be ready in time for a September start, she’s hopeful the school could open in January 2018.

She also said she doesn’t believe the concerns brought up by members of the public will be an issue.

Joe Cuffari, another one of the proponents, said he’s glad the building will remain viable.

“We have a problem in Windsor in the sense that we have a lot of these old, large buildings and, at a certain point, as families grow, there is a need to repurpose them,” Cuffari said.

“We’re happy we can repurpose it for something that will contribute to the community as opposed to what has been happening in the past. These type of buildings, in the past, have been turned into apartments and we didn’t want to ghettoize our building.”

No members of the public at the special meeting wanted to give a comment afterwards.

The Cuffaris will have to wait until the appeal period completes before they can proceed with the development.

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