City council agreed to amend the rules this week to allow a six-storey apartment building on Murphy Road, placing the need for new housing above the objection of neighbours.
The rezoning and Official Plan Amendments will permit a 46-unit building on lands owned by St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church at 1299-1331 Murphy Rd.
The owner’s plan, subject to funding, is to designate half the units as affordable housing, pricing them at least 30% below market value for at least 20 years.
Assisting the church on the project is Wellington Ridge Development, a non-profit owned by Vision ’74 Inc.
“There’s a lot of people that need housing,” spokesperson Brian Mundt told council. “We’re hoping we can help inspire others.”
A shovel could be in the ground as early as spring of 2023, he said.
A string of residents living near the church said the project is too big and too high and will result in a loss of backyard privacy and property values. Others filed written objections.
But in a 7-2 vote, councillors agreed with staff that the apartments are good land use on an arterial road and will help address Sarnia’s housing crunch.
“It sends a very clear message that we are a mixed-use community and we will deal with issues to help people,” said Mayor Mike Bradley.