WINCHESTER – An agreement for the Wellings of Winchester development remains a possibility, perhaps only by the slimmest of margins.

North Dundas council members pushed the outcome in their favour, if only slightly, Tues., Oct. 22.

At the night’s gathering, politicians approved a temporary use bylaw request put forth by the company behind the build, Nautical Lands Group.

Within the application, the firm made the ask for permission to erect a coverall-type structure to allow for fabrication and storage of building panels that will be used during construction of the village’s Wellings project.

According to Calvin Pol, the township’s director of planning, building and enforcement, the temporary facility will be positioned in the most southwestern portion of the property. Access will be obtained via a rarely used road allowance between Dundas Veterinary Services and Reis Equipment on County Road 31.

The approval comes months after Nautical representatives expected to get shovels into the ground on the 31.4 acre site, the bulk of it located between a neighbouring residential home and R/T Auto on Main Street, west of the village’s downtown core.

Demands on infrastructure sparked concerns earlier this year, as the proposed full-scale 55-plus community, complete with a clubhouse and commercial space for future business opportunities, would put increased pressure on Winchester’s water system.

While work continues to determine the capacity rate, staff in the township’s planning department then pitched a development charge rate that Nautical challenged.

Construction will go ahead in phases and consist of units constructed at grade that offer one or two-bedroom accommodations. The unique build has muddied the belief of what would an appropriate charge for water and sewer services, and development fees.

While the investigation continues for future water needs, phase one has water and sewer capacity allocated for 67 suites, 42 one-bedroom units and 25 two-bedroom, plus the clubhouse.

North Dundas’ chief building official believed the current townhouse rate of $3,719 per unit was applicable, though Nautical reps argued that the description doesn’t meet reality.

Instead, the company’s belief is the unit size is similar to that of an average (or below) apartment in the province, and instead asked for rates of $1,844 for a one bedroom or $2,293 for a two bedroom.

Township council members were presented with this scenario earlier in the month, and despite urging from Mayor Tony Fraser and Deputy-Mayor Al Armstrong to work with Nautical’s numbers, North Dundas’ three councillors, John Thompson, Gary Annable and Tyler Hoy, voted to implement the municipality’s current apartment charges ($2,479 for one bedroom, and $3,254 for two bedroom).

A major sticking point remains whether they are townhomes or apartments. In fact, Pol referred to the build as “townhome designs” during Oct. 22’s meeting and was roundly criticized by Fraser.

There has been a groundswell of support for the Wellings development among area residents and business owners since news broke that the plan could fall apart.

At last week’s meeting, former North Dundas Chamber of Commerce president Owen Shortt, the owner of Winchester Travel, championed the project.

“I cannot stress enough how much buzz there has been. There are a lot in the community that support the plan… Businesses are welcoming it,” he said. “Growth came up a lot during the [municipal election] debates last fall, and this is the best growth we can ever have.”