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An appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board regarding a planned re-development of a block of century-old buildings on Sykes Street that was to begin on February 29, will not go forward after the announcement on Thursday February 11 that a settlement has been reached.

The Architectural Conservancy of Ontario – Meaford (ACOM), SVV Holdings (the Developer), and the Municipality of Meaford are pleased to announce that the parties have reached a settlement with regard to the ACOM appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board,” announced the parties involved on Thursday.

The appeal was related to the proposed redevelopment of buildings located between 35 and 47 Sykes Street North. The developer requested an Official Plan and Zoning By-law Amendment to exceed the current permitted maximum height of four stories, which was granted on July 27 of last year when Meaford's council approved zoning and official plan amendments that give the green light for increased building height, a key component of the proposed development.

Council's unanimous approval of the increase in allowable building height, along with comments made by councillors during discussion at their July 27 meeting, also seemed to pave the way for the demolition of historic brick buildings located on Sykes Street.

The planned redevelopment would see the demolition of the existing buildings, and the constructions a new building with ground floor commercial and residential condominiums above.

The current planning approvals required the developer to maintain portions of the existing façades,” explained the joint statement issued Thursday.

ACO Meaford however, was not happy with council's decision last summer and decided to make an appeal to the OMB.

ACO Meaford, like most businesses and residents in our community, is excited by the prospect of making Meaford more vital by bringing new businesses and residents into the downtown area. We do, however, have serious concerns about the implications of the current bylaw and plan amendments that allow for a significant increase in building heights and demolition of a large percentage of our heritage architecture,” said the organization in a press release at the time. “This is not a question of development versus heritage. They are not mutually exclusive and need to be looked at as a part of an overall plan for our downtown including the harbour. Before making any decisions we need to look at the long term effects on all of the downtown businesses whose profitability and property values would potentially be negatively impacted by the loss of the heritage character of our street-scape. This is not just about four buildings.”

The joint statement issued by the three parties indicates that “the settlement identifies certain architectural features that will be included as part of the Conservation Plan. In addition, the parties are requesting that the Ontario Municipal Board endorse some minor modifications to the Official Plan and Zoning By-law Amendments to implement the settlement and clarify the provisions from the original approval. Through this process the new development will respect and embrace the various historic architectural styles.”

Subject to endorsement by the Ontario Municipal Board, the developer will now be proceeding to finalize detailed building drawings for approval by the Municipality and proceed to market the proposed development.  All the parties look forward to a successful redevelopment that will contribute to a healthy and vibrant downtown,” read the statement.