A London-based developer has moved a step closer to building a contentious retail plaza and subdivision on Modeland Road.
The scaled-down plan from Sifton Properties was given the green light last week by the Ontario Municipal Board.
Sifton’s initial proposal had called for a larger plaza at the northwest corner of Modeland and Michigan Avenue, along with homes, townhouses and a high-density 160-unit retirement or nursing home.
That ran into stiff public opposition and was roundly rejected by city council in May of 2015.
A settlement agreement reached with Sarnia and Lambton County will see a slightly smaller plaza and less medium-density housing.
The retirement home is gone, while the number of single-family homes will increase 75 from 64.
Another bone of contention, number of road access points onto the busy Modeland corridor, has been trimmed from three to one.
A trio of local residents – Gerry Whitcombe, Debra Krukowski and Elizabeth Wood McDonald – argued before the board that the land is subject to flooding, doesn’t conform with the official plan and will add to the current glut of empty commercial buildings.
But the OMB sided with city planners who had recommended approval.
City manager Margaret Misek-Evans said a second OMB hearing will be needed before the Sifton lands can be developed.
That hearing will consider the plan of subdivision and storm-water management, she said.