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Steve
Steve Bartlett
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St. John's looking at opening 1,200 acres to development

The City of St. John's is laying the groundwork for a major growth spurt.

Council has given staff the green light to draft amendments that, if approved, would open up 715 acres of land in Southlands and another 495 acres in the southwest development area, the upper part of Kenmount Road.

If that land is used for residential development, it could accommodate between 5,000 and 7,000 new homes, Art Cheeseman, St. John's director of engineering and planning estimates.

The City of St. John's is laying the groundwork for a major growth spurt.

Council has given staff the green light to draft amendments that, if approved, would open up 715 acres of land in Southlands and another 495 acres in the southwest development area, the upper part of Kenmount Road.

If that land is used for residential development, it could accommodate between 5,000 and 7,000 new homes, Art Cheeseman, St. John's director of engineering and planning estimates.

To put that into perspective - that's a lot more houses than the 3,448 in the town of Gander.

"It is a fair-sized area," Cheeseman said of the combined acreage.

Coun. Keith Coombs is chairman of the St. John's planning committee.

He figures the land will be needed.

"There is a demand," he said, "and even though there is a downturn in the economy, when we come out of it - whether it be eight months, 24 months or whatever - there will be a demand for more housing in St. John's."

To open up the areas in question, municipal and regional plans need amending to permit development above what's known as the 190-metre contour. That's the above-sea-level development limit currently allowed by the city's municipal plan.

Those changes would ultimately need approval from council as well as the minister of Municipal Affairs and would require at least one public hearing. The city has not yet addressed the issue of who owns the land that would open to development because of the amendment.

Cliff Johnson, St. John's director of planning, suggested it could be a mix of Crown land and private property.

That said, he cautioned that the city doesn't know what kind of appetite for development exists among the people who own land in the areas.

"There are some acreage involved that have been identified that could be - could be - allowed for development," Johnson said, "but whether it is for commercial or residential, or whatever the case ... we don't know or haven't determined yet because we don't have particular applications."

sbartlett@thetelegram.com

Geographic location: St. John's, Southlands, Kenmount Road Gander

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Recent comments

  • Max
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    Nothing should move ahead until the Gushue Highway is continued through St. John's and into Mount Pearl.

    Simms is the main stumbling block there from the sounds of it - Andy wannabe!!

  • W
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    OUr economy is still in half decent shape, but it too will tank just like everywhere else in the world. Most trades are back from AB & Ont and collecting EI now, when that runs, out look out. St. John's has grown way too quick..........developers are just now getting a grip, but soon all the buyers will be gone. I suspect housing will fall about 15-20% in price/cost in the next 3 years. People are quick to forget............when I was growing up my father was a tradesman (and a lucky one who worked on all the major work on the Avalon and he made a very modest living (that's being generous) but the last 20 years he has done EXTREMELY well. Unfortunately NFLD will be back to those modest or should I say making the ends meet types of livings soon.

  • Darryl
    July 02, 2010 - 13:08

    Keep on building, that way the market will be full of homes and not enough buyers. IE. the price of homes will fall. I expect to see the price of new home construction and current houses to drop by as much as 5%-8% by Sept. Beyond that it may drop another 10% in mid 2010 if the economy keeps going the way it is. I am just waiting for the home foreclosures from trade workers who lost there jobs in AB. EI can only last so long.

  • Max
    July 01, 2010 - 20:10

    Nothing should move ahead until the Gushue Highway is continued through St. John's and into Mount Pearl.

    Simms is the main stumbling block there from the sounds of it - Andy wannabe!!

  • W
    July 01, 2010 - 20:01

    OUr economy is still in half decent shape, but it too will tank just like everywhere else in the world. Most trades are back from AB & Ont and collecting EI now, when that runs, out look out. St. John's has grown way too quick..........developers are just now getting a grip, but soon all the buyers will be gone. I suspect housing will fall about 15-20% in price/cost in the next 3 years. People are quick to forget............when I was growing up my father was a tradesman (and a lucky one who worked on all the major work on the Avalon and he made a very modest living (that's being generous) but the last 20 years he has done EXTREMELY well. Unfortunately NFLD will be back to those modest or should I say making the ends meet types of livings soon.

  • Darryl
    July 01, 2010 - 19:43

    Keep on building, that way the market will be full of homes and not enough buyers. IE. the price of homes will fall. I expect to see the price of new home construction and current houses to drop by as much as 5%-8% by Sept. Beyond that it may drop another 10% in mid 2010 if the economy keeps going the way it is. I am just waiting for the home foreclosures from trade workers who lost there jobs in AB. EI can only last so long.