Since the unveiling of Benny Marotta’s utterly atrocious subdivision plan for the back half of the Rand Estate, SORE has had its team of experts hard at work to determine what form of residential development might be feasible on this iconic estate.
Our supporters will recall that the Marotta plan calls for 191 densely packed residences and a re-engineering of the site’s natural drainage. The result is a grade elevation of up to 10 feet, obliterating the heritage landscape on the site as well as much of the built cultural heritage landscape features of Randwood.
SORE’s team of experts has been able to come up with a preliminary subdivision concept that we believe to be feasible for the Rand Estate. That concept is presented below.
Its main features are as follows:
- Virtually no grade elevation from current
- All built heritage attributes on the site are conserved
- Most of the remaining designed cultural heritage landscape and mature trees are conserved
- Public pedestrian access to experience and enjoy the heritage attributes of Randwood is provided at 200 John and 588 Charlotte
- The linear axis from John Street to the “Whistle Stop” on the Heritage Trail, including the “memorial garden”, that was a central feature of the designed landscape at Randwood is preserved and enhanced for public and resident enjoyment
- The primary access to the site is provided using an historic access route between 144 and 176 John Street
- The number of residential units is reduced from 191 to approximately 70.
Part of SORE’s team is the renowned urban design firm Brook McIlroy. Some of our supporters may recall that that firm was retained by the Town in 2010 to provide a peer review of the proposed Romance Inn proposal. Of interest, both principals in this firm have roots in NOTL.
A Word About Emergency Access to the Site
Benny Marotta acquired a site with severe access constraints when he bought the Rand Estate. While SORE’s experts have identified a potential primary access route between 144 and 176 John, they (and we) have struggled mightily to determine how emergency access to the site for EMF services, if required due to a blockage of the primary access, could be provided.
Two such potential emergency access routes have been identified on this concept plan-one using the “Sheets” driveway on 144 John and the other using the 588 Charlotte entrance. We have not determined that either is in fact feasible nor has a preference been attached to one over the other. Much more work, including community input, will be required in that regard. Other options may be viable and preferred for emergency access, such as coming in off East- West Line.
SORE will be providing this concept plan to Council and well as the experts hired by the Town to assess the Marotta subdivision proposal.
SORE has also urged the Town to proceed with the special study of these lands called for in the Town’s new Official Plan. That study may in fact determine that no, or a much more limited form of residential development, is preferred/most appropriate for Randwood.
In the interim, given the outrageous Marotta proposal, SORE concluded that Council and NOTL residents would benefit from an alternative vision that conserves and enhances the attributes that make this iconic estate such an important part of NOTL’s past, present and hopefully future.