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Council to shut down first attempt at Ritson Road apartment towers

Neighbourhood residents filled the council chambers earlier this year to protest an apartment tower development along Ritson Road. Council is set to deny the proposeal at its upcoming meeting on May 22.

By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express

An apartment tower development described as an “oasis” by proponents is set to be shut down by Oshawa city council.

Following a meeting of the Development Services Committee on May 7, a motion to turn down a proposal to construct four apartments, some as high as 12 storeys, along with a stretch of townhouses, is now headed to council for a final vote on May 22.

The decision did not come without blowback from the project’s developer, who urged council to table the item instead of an outright denial as he and his consultants look to resolve some of the issues raised with the project at 133 Ritson Road North, across the road from the busy Costco plaza.

“We believe because of the feedback we received from neighbours and the community and the feedback we are still waiting to receive from staff at the City of Oshawa that we are going to redesign the whole thing,” said Mohammed Eslami, the landowner.

However, commissioner of development services Paul Ralph noted that it is because of that extensive redesign, the city should require the developer to submit a new proposal instead of working off the old one. By denying the application, it would force the developer to restart the process and pay the application fees set out by not just the city, but the Region of Durham and the Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority (CLOCA) as well.

“I think we’re better to deny and he comes back with a revised proposal,” says Councillor Doug Sanders. The same was said by Councillor Dan Carter who noted it would be much better to start the process right from the beginning.

The motion to deny the proposal carried unanimously through committee.

It also isn’t the first time the project has received a negative reaction inside the council chambers.

At a planning act meeting on Feb. 26, approximately 100 Oshawa residents filled the chambers to share their opposition to the development.

Many residents shared serious concerns about the project moving forward, including worries around future traffic congestion, crime increases, privacy loss, and worries around the heights of the proposed buildings.

The land, currently a brownfield site and the former home of GM auto parts supplier Ontario Steel saw original plans proposed for as many as 355 apartment units located in the development, along with over 700 underground parking spaces.

Eslami says the project will be undergoing “significant changes” before a new proposal returns to council.

“At the end of the day we’re all here as part of one community,” he said.