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Kerfuffle over Windsor-West Hants road connector frustrates developer


WEST HANTS — Mitch Brison, the owner of Brison Developments, says he’s tired of Windsor and West Hants municipal councils bickering over a road connection and is planning to take the matter into his own hands.

Brison says he is planning to tear down the guardrail on Underwood Drive, which is in the Town of Windsor limits, and build a connecting street to Underwood Road, which is in West Hants. The connection would link to the site of the expanding mini-home development called The Crossing.

“This has nothing to do with traffic, it has to do with tax dollars,” Brison said while standing near Underwood Drive.

“There’s no co-operation here,” Brison said. “We’ve got to stop having two units fighting each other and that’s not going to stop until we get down to one unit.”

Brison is currently in the process of expanding the development in West Hants and wants Underwood Road to connect to Windsor’s town limits.

He said building a street connecting Underwood Road and Underwood Drive would create a much-needed link in the area, allowing quicker access to the regional hospital, the public high school and to emergency services for residents of West Hants.

Brison says he has approval to build up to the boundary line from West Hants.

“The municipality and town won’t get together and come up with a cost-sharing mechanism that’s fair an equitable,” he said. “I’m willing to, at my own cost, build a road right up to it.”

However, Windsor staff is recommending council say ‘not so fast.’

In a report that will be discussed at a special session of council on July 7, it is being recommended that the portion of the street at the end of Underwood Drive be officially closed off. It would only be available for municipal purposes except for easements required for utility uses.

The report goes on to recommend turning the end of Underwood Drive into a cul-de-sac, with gutters and a curb, essentially blocking any potential connection to Underwood Road.

“The town is considering formal street closure at this location to protect the integrity of its residential neighbourhoods and to ensure that planning for streets and roads through the Town of Windsor is done in a concerted manner,” the report reads.

The reports adds: “While the administration staff of both municipalities see the necessity for some form of cost-sharing on building collector roads, there does not appear to be any political will on West Hants’ behalf to engage in serious discussions.”

The town is taking legal steps through the Municipal Government Act to block the road.

“The integrity of residential streets in the Town of Windsor must be protected from unplanned intrusion related to uncoordinated and poor planning practices by developers and others,” the report continues.

A connector or collector road on Cole Drive or Payzant Avenue with The Crossing development is stated as the preferable options in the report.

The report mentions traffic studies that were done advising against connecting the two streets, but Brison said he questions the validity of those studies.

“The traffic study showed new collector roads going through my mini-home park that’s already developed,” he said. “If it was going to be a dead end cul-de-sac, then it would have been built that way.”

“I have permission to finish this without that connection, but that connection just makes sense,” he said.

The Crossing development, which is primarily made up of mini-homes, could see apartments, duplexes and other housing options added soon.

Cathie Osborne, the CAO of West Hants, said she doesn’t know yet what the street closure of Underwood Drive could mean for the municipality.

“We do have a joint traffic study that the parties have agreed to and I don’t know if that street closure would affect that study,” Osborne said. “Really we’re just waiting to see what the potential impact could be on any development that relied upon that study.”

Osborne said the Town of Windsor has the ability under the Municipal Governance Act to close all or part of the road.

“I think it is at this point the only access that property owner would have to their property and I don’t know what it means if you close the road,” she said. “That’s still to be determined.”

 

Brison says he is planning to tear down the guardrail on Underwood Drive, which is in the Town of Windsor limits, and build a connecting street to Underwood Road, which is in West Hants. The connection would link to the site of the expanding mini-home development called The Crossing.

“This has nothing to do with traffic, it has to do with tax dollars,” Brison said while standing near Underwood Drive.

“There’s no co-operation here,” Brison said. “We’ve got to stop having two units fighting each other and that’s not going to stop until we get down to one unit.”

Brison is currently in the process of expanding the development in West Hants and wants Underwood Road to connect to Windsor’s town limits.

He said building a street connecting Underwood Road and Underwood Drive would create a much-needed link in the area, allowing quicker access to the regional hospital, the public high school and to emergency services for residents of West Hants.

Brison says he has approval to build up to the boundary line from West Hants.

“The municipality and town won’t get together and come up with a cost-sharing mechanism that’s fair an equitable,” he said. “I’m willing to, at my own cost, build a road right up to it.”

However, Windsor staff is recommending council say ‘not so fast.’

In a report that will be discussed at a special session of council on July 7, it is being recommended that the portion of the street at the end of Underwood Drive be officially closed off. It would only be available for municipal purposes except for easements required for utility uses.

The report goes on to recommend turning the end of Underwood Drive into a cul-de-sac, with gutters and a curb, essentially blocking any potential connection to Underwood Road.

“The town is considering formal street closure at this location to protect the integrity of its residential neighbourhoods and to ensure that planning for streets and roads through the Town of Windsor is done in a concerted manner,” the report reads.

The reports adds: “While the administration staff of both municipalities see the necessity for some form of cost-sharing on building collector roads, there does not appear to be any political will on West Hants’ behalf to engage in serious discussions.”

The town is taking legal steps through the Municipal Government Act to block the road.

“The integrity of residential streets in the Town of Windsor must be protected from unplanned intrusion related to uncoordinated and poor planning practices by developers and others,” the report continues.

A connector or collector road on Cole Drive or Payzant Avenue with The Crossing development is stated as the preferable options in the report.

The report mentions traffic studies that were done advising against connecting the two streets, but Brison said he questions the validity of those studies.

“The traffic study showed new collector roads going through my mini-home park that’s already developed,” he said. “If it was going to be a dead end cul-de-sac, then it would have been built that way.”

“I have permission to finish this without that connection, but that connection just makes sense,” he said.

The Crossing development, which is primarily made up of mini-homes, could see apartments, duplexes and other housing options added soon.

Cathie Osborne, the CAO of West Hants, said she doesn’t know yet what the street closure of Underwood Drive could mean for the municipality.

“We do have a joint traffic study that the parties have agreed to and I don’t know if that street closure would affect that study,” Osborne said. “Really we’re just waiting to see what the potential impact could be on any development that relied upon that study.”

Osborne said the Town of Windsor has the ability under the Municipal Governance Act to close all or part of the road.

“I think it is at this point the only access that property owner would have to their property and I don’t know what it means if you close the road,” she said. “That’s still to be determined.”

 

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