New Hamilton condo building has resident worried about predators ‘stalking’ children

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Published August 23, 2023 at 9:00 am

A 12-storey residential building is planned at 631 and 639 Rymal Road West in Hamilton.
A 12-storey residential building is planned at 631 and 639 Rymal Road West in Hamilton.

A Hamilton resident says she and her neighbours are opposed to a proposed condo building because they’re worried about noise and privacy issues, including potential pedophiles looking at kids playing outside or people “stalking” children at a nearby daycare.

“We do not want a 12-storey apartment in our backyard,” said Robyn Davis, a West Hamilton Mountain resident, during the City’s planning committee meeting on Aug. 15. The site is in Ward 14, an area with plenty of parks and open spaces along with residences.

Davis collected 241 signatures to her petition opposing the 12-storey residential building at 631 and 639 Rymal Road West. The City received nine letters, emails and four phone calls opposing the proposed development.

“Every parent that goes to that daycare has signed this,” she said as she showed the petition during her presentation to the committee. “I know several neighbours have pools and we don’t want people looking at our backyards … I feel sorry for the council if they vote for this because nobody wants this.”

After hearing residents’ concerns and presentations supportive of the project, the City’s planning committee unanimously approved the zoning application to permit the development at the southeast corner of Rymal Road West and Upper Paradise Road in a 10-0 vote.

The dwelling would have 165 units and 198 vehicle parking spaces, including 35 surface parking spaces (mostly visitor parking) and 163 parking spaces in two levels of underground parking.

DiCenzo Construction Company Limited’s proposal includes a conceptual design so the developer will now work on a more detailed design and prepare a site plan application. If it obtains approval for it, it will apply for building permits and ensure it has financing in place before it can begin construction.

As part of the plans, 35 trees will be removed, many of which are “either invasive or not highly valued or native trees on site,” Johnpaul Loiacono, a senior planner with the City of Hamilton. In addition, he said many were in poor condition or in poor growing conditions. Trees that are removed will either be replaced or compensation will be made to the City.

Loiacono said the project didn’t receive any objections from the daycare.

It would have one bedroom, one bedroom with den, two bedrooms and two bedrooms with dens for the units.

He said one way to address concerns about privacy and the blocking of sunlight is to use stepbacks or an architectural step-like design, which is part of the proposal, “to mitigate overlook onto neighbouring properties.” It will have a built form design, which takes into consideration the relationship between adjacent spaces and buildings.

Loiacono told the committee that the building proposal complies with policies of the province, the region and Hamilton, and represents good planning. 

The proposed development of a multiple dwelling is “not anticipated to generate noise in excess of provincial Guidelines,” according to a report presented to the committee. However, it noted a detailed and updated noise study will be needed later on.

Loiacono said a transportation study found that the number of cars in the area was “relatively small during peak times.” In the morning peak, it was 55 cars and in the evening, it was 66 cars.

In a written submission to the City dated Aug. 4,  Alireza Hezarkhani opposed the plan in part because of her fears the greenery and sunlight will be blocked.

“It will affect also our privacy by having direct view to our house/backyard,” she wrote.

She added that Upper Paradise is a busy street and “will be much more noisier” and crowded with almost 500 people living in the proposed building.

Moreover, Hezarkhani feared property values would sink because of traffic noise.

Currently, 631 Rymal Road W. is vacant and 639 Rymal Road West contains a vacant, one-storey single detached dwelling with a detached garage, which would be removed to make way for the condo building.

According to the report on the project presented to the committee, the proposed development supports transit along a major arterial road and the potential location of the S-Line of the B.L.A.S.T. network.

“It is the opinion of staff that the proposal demonstrates a compatible integration with the surrounding area,” the report noted. “Therefore, staff are supportive of the proposed Zoning By-law Amendment and recommend its approval … The proposal represents good planning by providing an efficient urban form of development that contributes to the positive evolution of Rymal.”

A 12-storey residential building is proposed in this area on West Hamilton Mountain.

A 12-storey residential building is proposed in this area on West Hamilton Mountain.

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