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Pearle withdraws application for extra story at Elora Mill development

Proposal faced opposition from residents worried about tall buildings in historic downtown
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Second phase construction at the Elora Mill lands south of the Grand River. Keegan Kozolanka/EloraFergusToday file photo

Pearle Hospitality has withdrawn its application for a zoning amendment that if approved would have allowed the company to add an additional story to two buildings in a planned six-building development on the south side of the Grand River.

The buildings are part of Pearle's multi-step Elora Mill Development plan. The project is now entering its second phase, which will see the construction of a five-story condominium. 

“While Pearle has made the decision to withdraw the application at this time, we look forward to working with the Township to resolve minor modifications to the Zoning By-law that will be required to facilitate the development in the future,” Matt Johnston, planner with Urban Solutions who work with Pearle, said in an emailed statement. 

The requested zoning change would have allowed two buildings, to be constructed in future phases, to increase from the currently permitted three stories to four. Pearle wanted the extra level to create 30 to 40 attainable housing units for its staff. 

At a public meeting on the matter in late June, Aaron Ciancone, CEO of Pearle Hospitality, said housing has become an increasingly bigger need since the company took over the Elora Mill in 2012.

The proposal was unpopular with residents at the meeting, some of whom voiced concerns granting the amendment would set a precedent that would lead to more tall buildings in the historic downtown.

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