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Country 93

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Public Meeting Held For Retail Development in Owen Sound's East End

Owen Sound | by Matt Hermiz  

Heritage Grove Centre proposing to expand its plaza to add hotel, gas bar and restaurants.

A proposed retail development in Owen Sound's east side continues to go through the city's approval process, but was met with some resistance at a public meeting yesterday.

During Monday night's city council meeting the public meeting for a zoning by-law amendment application from Heritage Grove Centre Inc. was held concerning its plans to a further build-out the plaza at 2125 16th Street East.

The big box retail plaza currently houses Winners, HomeSense, Michaels, Princess Auto, Dollar Tree, PetSmart and Value Village.

Heritage Grove Centre Inc. is proposing to add a new four-storey, 75-room hotel, a gas bar with a convenience store and drive-thru restaurant and four detached restaurants at the site.

The application originally included called for six restaurants, but a planning consultant speaking for Heritage Grove at the public meeting yesterday said it would now only include four.

Only one objector spoke at Monday night's public meeting -- a planning services consultant representing a client with interest in vacant lands directly north of the Heritage Grove subject lands -- the Branningham Grove Development.

Lorelie Spencer -- of Spencer Planning Services -- told councillors there are existing retail commercial zoned lands that exist there, and the applicant has ownership in that site.

She also urged consideration be given to the presence of nearby commercial services close to the proposed development, including five gas stations and seven large scale restaurants.

“It is putting the other existing restaurants in jeopardy," Spencer said of the new development proposal.

Spencer also argued the application fails to address the vacancy rates at Heritage Place Mall, which she said is also in close proximity from a retail perspective.

Robert Russell, a planning consultant speaking for the Heritage Grove application, told councillors the purpose of the application is not to ask for anything new, but just for uses that were once permitted to be re-instated at the site.

Russell said the restaurants will be phased-in, in an effort to bring them in as developments both on site and nearby generate market demand for them.

He also noted the proposed developments aren't speculative.

"There are tenants ready to sign leases," Russell said. "We just need approvals to do so."

A recommendation report from city staff is expected to come forward at council’s August 26 meeting.

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