LIVE BLOG: City Council Meeting for February 8, 2016

After the short but confusing council meeting two weeks ago, this week’s city council meeting should be a little more straightforward as the mayor and council tackle a variety of zoning issues. You can click here for the amended agenda from City Hall, and you can click here to read Politico’s preview of tonight’s meeting. For the complete blow-by-blow of tonight’s council meeting, you can follow me on Twitter, or follow along below via Storify.

Guelph City Council Meeting – February 8, 2016

Live blog from the meeting starting at 7 pm

  1. I have usurped a place at the media desk. Council’s opening meeting will start in 13 minutes. #Guelph #GuelphNews
  2. Topic of closed meeting: GMHI Correspondence follow-up and GMHI Board progress report.
  3. Council received a letter about a staff member at GMHI last month, hence last meeting’s *controversial* in-camera session
  4. First thing up after ‘O Canada’, moment of reflection and disclosure is @CamGuthrie presenting a Volunteer Long Term Service Award.
  5. 3 minutes after 7 and open council meeting has yet to start.
  6. Mayor Guthrie has entered the council chamber. Going to start by apologizing for the lateness.
  7. We’re starting at 7:15 pm as council “collects” itself and gets ready.
  8. Counicllors are appearing around the horseshoe now. @ward5guelph and @JuneHofland have arrived. Seen @CathyDowner & Christine Billings too
  9. That’s more than good for quorum. Waiting for the Mayor to return and call meeting to order.
  10. The Mayor is here. The mayhem will commence 😉
  11. Closed session news:
    -Jan 21 correspondance follow-up; direction was given to staff
  12. Council will return to closed session after the meeting.
  13. Hofland discloses that she lives in the neighbourhood where one of the items on the agenda comes up. The rezoning of a home on Waterloo
  14. Carl has been working the cameras at city council for 31 years.
  15. Going to jump to the consent agenda first. York Rd and Dawn Rd demo
  16. Passes 11-0. The York Rd. and Dawn Rd. demolished passed.
  17. First item on tap: rezoning of the Guelph Place Banquet Hall property.
  18. Tim Donegani, Development Planner, presenting the bylaw change to 492 Michner Rd.
  19. No decision will be made tonight on what to do with the property.
  20. Property currently designated “Specialized Highway Service Commercial”, meaning a location meant for a highway-oriented commercial business
  21. City wants to turn it to a General category. Meaning a wider variety of things could be established there. None planned yet.
  22. Astrid Clos, planning consultant for the Woods Group that wants to redevelop the property
  23. Guelph Place Banquet Hall closed in Feb 2014. Land not even zoned for a banquet hall FYI
  24. Owner has been unable to find tenant for the land.
  25. Next up, Waterloo Ave rezoning. Applicant wants to turn house into a medical office.
  26. There will be 7 delegates following staff presentation.
  27. Haven’t had a chance to read all the presentations, but area residents presenting are against the rezone.
  28. Frame of reference: the house is at the corner of Waterloo Ave and Alma.
  29. The rezoning will allow an aesthetics office to open at 287 Waterloo Ave.
  30. There will also be a small (8 space) parking lot behind the home.
  31. Parking modifications will require site plan approval. That will take place later.
  32. Salisbury has a Q about the legend on the map. What does the dash line mean?
  33. Also has a Q about parking space. 7 spots for doc’s office, is that high?
  34. The regs say that there has to be 7 off-street spaces per practitioner.
  35. This time speaking on behalf of Butterscotch Ltd, the ones requesting the rezone.
  36. House was renovated by previous owners. Will not be changing the external.
  37. A number of business exist along this stretch of Waterloo Ave. many in renovated detached homes.
  38. Parking configuration in the rear yard already in use in these places.
  39. Traffic: the engineer advises that the low volumes of site generated traffic is negligible. Traffic impact study not warranted.
  40. A home next door has the same rezoning as what’s proposed to 287 Waterloo
  41. Jane Watson will now speak to the rezone. She owns the home and proposed site of the office.
  42. She wants to relieve as much apprehension as possible, and sent a letter out to residents in advanced.
  43. Traffic: Only 2/3 patients to be treated at a time. Traffic won’t be an issue.
  44. Many references to “largely residential”. Watson points out there are a lot of businesses btwn Hanlon and Downtown on Waterloo
  45. Statement that there was an agreement that house was for family use is false says Watson.
  46. The home was sold to Butterscotch Ltd., a businesses, and thus would have no family.
  47. Home was rented to a family on short term lease.
  48. In case you were wondering, June Hofland has excused herself for this portion.
  49. Watson: would rather invest in Guelph than rent in an office park.
  50. Correspondence submitted. No other delegations.
  51. Piper moves to accept the report, would like to hear back from staff on lighting and signing, the “de-residentialization” of area.
  52. Bell has request for more info on existing uses and zoning along Waterloo Ave.
  53. Bell would also like to know if impact on traffic from Silvercreek/Waterloo was considered.
  54. Bell’s final comment: any planning instruments that would prevent the 2 zones from amalgamating at some point into larger commercial blding
  55. Question from the gallery. Woman’s mother lives next door, 90 years old, lived there since ’69, concerned about parking.
  56. A hedge that separates property. Wants it maintained, or at least guarantee of privacy.
  57. Other concern about drugs that “somebody might want to access” being a home. “The Manor’s right down the street…”
  58. Salisbury wants to know whose property the hedge is on. The woman is unsure, hence her concern.
  59. Guthrie asks if she’d rather a hedge or a fence?
    Woman: probably the hedge.
  60. Lillian Kennedy also has a comment. Her email didn’t make the list of correspondence.
  61. She appreciates there are a number of biz along Waterloo, but their neighbourhood may be more carefully defined. Change is significant.
  62. Looks like the email was received too late. Guthrie reminds gallery there is a sign-up sheet 4 ppl to stay in the loop.
  63. Billings has question about how medical waste could be dealt with.
  64. Motion to receive Waterloo Ave report 10-0. (Hofland, remember, excused herself.)
  65. Bit of commotion as people concerned about Waterloo Ave project move out. Chris DeVriendt begins presentation.
  66. 7 modifications including the reduction of frontage on several lots 1/
  67. …and switching the placement of single detached dwellings to on-street townhouses and vise versa. 2/
  68. … The application will also ask for the allowance for more cluster townhouses. 3/3
  69. Gibson has a Q. Pleased with seeing reduction of density. Parking issues in the area.
  70. Gibson asking about “right in, right out” design. Concerned that side streets will see more traffic.
  71. DeVriendt says is remains unchanged after being extensively reviewed.
  72. Piper asking if there will be community use park land in the area. That will also affect on-street parking (per Gibson)
  73. Hugh Handy of GSP Group speaking to the development.
  74. Handy will address a couple things, draft plan for this development was approved this time last year.
  75. There was an OMB appeal in June 2015. Ultimately approved.
  76. Most changes will be to the west of the Phase 2 development.
  77. The addition of a park lot (also known as a park) so that its easier to access the trail network.
  78. A delegate is speaking to the matter. He was the one that brought the appeal to the OMB.
  79. He feels that the chances are favourable and urges council to approve it.
  80. Felt the small but essential entrance to natural space in Ward 1 was important.
  81. Hopes the same degree of civic interest by the developer and city will be shown in preserving section of the park.
  82. “A remarkable hidaway in the City of Guelph.” He calls it.
  83. Humour moment. Billings ask if he’s ever been satisfied by a decision before?
  84. An application to rezone 3 pieces of land along Silurian Dr. from an Urban Reserve zone 1/
  85. …a designation meant to protect a parcel of land from premature subdivision and development, to an R.2-6 2/
  86. …or Residential Semi-Detached/Duplex Zone. The application is seeking the rezone change to that nine single detached dwellings and 3/
  87. …one semi-detached dwelling may be built on the land. 4/4
  88. Gibson wants to make sure he’s communicating to residents correctly, getting clarification.
  89. Neighbourhood next to library going into extensive development this year.
  90. Any delays in resurfacing Starwood Ave? Residents were promised that would be part of capital projects in 2016.
  91. DeVriendt can’t confirm, but he doesn’t see things changing.
  92. Hugh Handy returns. Opens the floor to Qs. None.
  93. Vote to accept Starwood/Silurian report passes 11-0
  94. An application to rezone this area from “General Residential” to “Commercial Mixed Use.”
  95. The land used to have 3 houses on it. 2 have been demolished.
  96. No questions about the matter from council, but there are correspondence attached.
  97. Bell notes developer responsible for new sidewalk. Wonders if its appropriate for the city to continue that sidewalk to new commercial node.
  98. Bell asks what measures can be encouraged to make it happen.
  99. The properties on the north side of Lowes Rd. has development potential. There have been meetings.
  100. Similar recommendation would come forward from staff in the event of further Loews development.
  101. Piper asking about impact of signage. Acknowledges a theme tonight.
  102. Staff: will have to confirm about sign and lighting standards for the air, and what conditions can be implemented.
  103. Billings following up on mobile signs. There was a method to restrict, but can’t remember.
  104. Vote to accept report passes 11-0 on the Gordon matter.
  105. Final rezone report now up. Morris St in Ward 1.
  106. Main concern is slowing down traffic, but a sidewalk would be lovely. Given the age of neighbourhood could be tricky.
  107. Michael Brodie isn’t present. Susan Stauffer (last speaker) reading his note.
  108. Concerned about parking and transport on Harris. Street is quite full at night. Narrowed severely in winter of ’14.
  109. Concerned about parking and transport on Harris. Street is quite full at night. Narrowed severely in winter of ’14.
  110. Apartment building that’s proposed on Morris might add to the parking problem.
  111. Bruce Bennett speaking 4 Guelph Little Theatre. Also concerned about parking, visibility of signage, and recent reconstruct on Morris
  112. The ICC has high demand for parking along Morris currently.
  113. GLT had relationship with Biltmore. GLT could use their lots at night, Biltmore could use theirs in the day.
  114. No questions for Bruce Bennet. Nancy Shoemaker final delegate on this one.
  115. Nancy is the planning consultant for the apartment building developer.
  116. Believes that vibrant communities are compelling places to live. Also a plus for urban density.
  117. Growth plan speaks to achieving higher density in existing neighbourhoods, and using brownfield sites. This accomplishes both.
  118. Agreement achieved with Owens Corning and impact of residential development on the area.
  119. Developer and OC looking at sound control measures.
  120. Been working with Transport Canada and Guelph Junction Railway to resolve issues. Also worked on Heritage and given info to the Museum
  121. Owner has indicated they will include a memorial for Biltmore Hats in the news building.
  122. As a hat man, the use of the word memorial is my own.
  123. Appreciates parking concerns that the neighbours have raised, but they think they meet the city’s requirements with garages and driveways.
  124. Units in apartment will be 1 bedroom; townhouse 2-3 bedrooms.
  125. Bell following up on stop signs/lights on Beverly. Wondering what venue that could be investigated.
  126. Staff been already talking to engineering. Details to be provided to Alastair Macklebee (sp) in parking.
  127. Gordon pointing to correspondance about water and power connections for the development already installed.
  128. Developer had to pay estimated cost b/c of reconstruction of Morris it would be less disruptive to do it then.
  129. Making the changes in anticipation of the rezoning, does not imply permission to rezone. It was just easier while Morris was dug up already
  130. Separate vote on parking, signals to the community that there could be issues and will follow-up
  131. Motion: Staff to review transport concerns raised this evening, for review 1 year after construction concluded. Plus enforcement.
  132. Wettstein reminds council that there are a lot of streets waiting for similar reviews.
  133. DCAO says that staff are aware of the pecking order.
  134. MacKinnon says this is not a planning issue, it’s an operational one. Won’t support the motion.
  135. “Approximately” to be added to the motion. Guthrie remarks that this is the most discussed motion. His fault tho.
  136. Newsflash! All 8 Council recommendations on the agenda passed 11-0 or 10-0 tonight. Supplementary motions passed 9-2. #peaceandharmony
  137. Reminder: Ward 1 Townhill at the ICC with Bob Bell and @Ward1Guelph. Coffee definitely. Maybe cookies (not a guarantee).
  138. Council moves to go back into closed session. They will have to come out of closed session to adjourn, but basically the meeting is done.
  139. To cap things off, here's a picture of camera man Carl getting his certificate

    To cap things off, here’s a picture of camera man Carl getting his certificate

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