Public meeting held in Lincoln for controversial heritage development

By Tristan Marks

Debate ensued at Lincoln’s Committee of the Whole meeting Monday regarding a proposed development on the property of the Woodburn Cottage.

The public meeting outlined a plan to build two four-unit townhouses on the property, located on King St. near Academy St. in Beamsville. In addition, a small, protruding portion of the lot would be severed to build a third four-unit townhouse as part of the adjacent Cherry Heights subdivision.

Coun. Paul MacPherson, chair of the Planning and Economic Development Committee stressed that neither council nor staff had arrived on any position regarding the development.

The developer’s consultant, Julia Redfearn, explained that the cottage building itself would not be touched by the construction. She said the design of the new buildings would match and compliment Woodburn Cottage’s architectural aesthetic with similar red brick and design features.

Members of council expressed concern that the construction would spread over 30 per cent of the existing heritage property.

“There’s a lot of concern here,” said Coun. Tony Brunet. “How does severing 30 per cent of the lot not affect the heritage property?”

Redfearn said the heritage value came from the architecture of the building, and that no heritage document mentioned anything regarding the landscape. Since construction would not touch the building, that heritage value would remain intact.

Mayor Sandra Easton questioned why the proposed development did not consider the aesthetics design of the nearby ‘loyalist house,’ among other buildings in the area with potential heritage value.

Vineland resident, Alan Wojcik, raised concern about the demolition of a house that formerly sat on a lot that will be combined with the Woodburn property for this development. He claimed that it was hastily done, and questioned if the developer had performed any sort archeological assessment on the Woodburn property.

The developer, John Fracchioni spoke to council directly to defend his proposal and address “so many misquoted facts.”

He pointed out that the demolition of the nearby house was carried out since it was “in derelict condition” and a threat to nearby properties due to the possibility of structural collapse. Furthermore, he pointed out that there had been a three-and-a-half year archeological assessment, among several other heritage studies.

“We did everything right,” said Fracchioni.

He also addressed the council’s concerns about the state of the Woodburn property’s landscape.

“Right now it’s hidden behind a covering of trees,” he said, adding that many of the trees are rotted and dying. “We are clearing it up to make it presentable.”

“This is about beautifying the town,” he said.

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