LIVE BLOG: City Council Meeting for March 7, 2016

Two major pieces of rezoning are up for discussion at this week’s city council meeting. 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 – March 7, 2016

Live blog from the meeting starting at 7 pm

  1. City Council meeting tonight. Guelph Politico will be live blogging at 7 pm. Follow along here, or here: 
  2. Topics of discussion in closed session: response to Jan. correspondence, social media comms, Kortright OMB & Storm negotiations.
  3. It’s a full house around the horseshoe tonight.
  4. Correspondence: direction given to mayor and staff
    Social Media: direction given
  5. Storm negotiation: further direction given to staff.
    Kortright OMB: council will be going back into closed for that one.
  6. First up: Paisley/Imperial node. Presentation by Lindsay Sulatycki, Senior Development Planner
  7. This item concerns the expansion of floor space for next phase of development in the Zehrs plaza at Pailey/Imperial.
  8. No decisions will be made on these matters tonight.
  9. The current plan calls for a ground floor area (GFA) increase of 4,400 m2 from 20,851 m2 to 25,251 m2
  10. The total area of the development will then go from 52,600 m2 to 57,000 m2.
  11. If approved, the next phase of development at 963 to 1045 Paisley Road – the open field at the north end of the property can begin.
  12. Salisbury asks about the completion of the road that runs between the plaza and the West End Rec Centre.
  13. “For 10 years that has sat and nothing has happened.” Signals are already there Salisbury adds.
  14. Issue seems to be a matter of land transfer. Salisbury would like to see that part of the proposal coming forward.
  15. Salisbury says he’s pro-development, this a good news story, but wants the road done.
  16. Billings asks if its possible that there’s already an agreement.
    Staff will have to consult with engineering dept.
  17. Downer points out that there’s been no commercial review since ’06. New development in north and east since then.
  18. When might another commercial review come up? Sulatycki says it will start in the 2nd half of 2016.
  19. Gibson also curious about land review. Wondering if the city is doing a market impact study?
  20. Sulatycki says the developer has submitted it and it’s under review.
  21. Gibson asks to see if there might be any impact on east end development.
  22. Wendy Nott of Walker, Nott, Dragicevic Associates Ltd. (AKA: the planning consultant for Armel) is here.
  23. Nott notes that much has changed since last commercial review. Armel has been successful in attracting big retailers to the node.
  24. Construction of Costco has stopped the “outflow” of retail dollars, says Nott.
  25. Not says there will be no adverse impacts to other retail areas, or the downtown. City can actually support more retail floor space.
  26. Nott says there’s a draft agreement concerning the land transfer. Agreement will be approved when the site plan is.
  27. Guthrie says he sees the traffic as it is and would like to see the traffic done. There’s also “really not well laid out drive thrus.”
  28. Billings says synchronization of lights was mentioned the last time this was discussed. Perhaps that would help traffic
  29. Salisbury would like “a paragraph” to know “where we stand” on traffic feasibility.
  30. Guthrie notes there’s a lot of space on Elmira, could see it sold as a four lane road.
  31. Michael Witmer, Development Planner II, now talking about rezone on Gordon St.
  32. The Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation Diocese of Hamilton wants to turn 325 Gordon into a religious establishment. 329 isa group home.
  33. The Brooklyn/College Hills Heritage District is now in effect. This may be the 1st rezone to come up since its imposition in Nov ’15
  34. “Religious establishment” intended for the use of students, staff and faculty of the U of G
  35. There are a few delegates listed to speak to this one.
  36. Specialized provision for 15 off-street parking spaces.
  37. McKinnon asking if there’s other examples of rezones working against the official plan.
  38. Minor institutional uses are allowed under general residential areas. Major institutionals include the hospital, U of G and Conestoga
  39. Billings asks if the city will be collecting taxes from them. Staff will get back.
  40. Van Hellemond asks about Heritage provisions. Heritage Guelph will be involved in oversight.
  41. Allt concerned about “slippery slope.”Doesn’t want to see “frat houses” or other such institutions encroaching on residential.
  42. Downer asks about criteria for signage in the heritage district.
  43. Downer also asks about the type of lighting in the parking lot. Those issues will be reviewed in the site plan process.
  44. Waiter’s had conversations already with the developer about resident concerns about rezoning.
  45. Witmer’s had conversations already with the developer about resident concerns about rezoning.
  46. Guthrie asking to see where the parking spots are going to go…
  47. James Webb, WEBB Planning Consultants Inc., is now addressing council
  48. Webb is introducing his entourage including a U of G masters student who will tell us about the Newman Centre.
  49. Webb is introducing his entourage including a U of G masters student who will tell us about the Newman Centre.
  50. Many university campuses have Newman Centres. Check this out, it’s a link to McGill’s Newman Centre. 
  51. Diocese is trying to develop more Newman Centres, got their eye on Guelph as a good place to create one.
  52. “We won’t be rowdy and we won’t be loud,” says Webb’s colleague. “It won’t be a frat house.”
  53. Newman Centre will host religious services, lectures, get togethers, and community dinners.
  54. Adds that since Newman Centre will be mostly servicing students, so ppl coming in on foot and by bus.
  55. Use will be restricted to the existing building adds Webb
  56. “Site plan has been designed as carefully as possible” to minimize loss of trees, says Webb. Likely only one tree will be removed.
  57. Working with staff. 15 spaces may not be the final number. Wants to balance green space needs.
  58. Allt asks about Dunara House on the site. No changes currently planned.
  59. Properties were acquired in the mid 60s and then the title was combined later FYI
  60. Commitment to keep Dunara at 329 Gordon going, where as use at 325 had ended. Hence the need to rezone.
  61. Piper asks about hours of operation. Most of the events likely won’t go after 8 pm. Meant for activities coinciding with student day skeds
  62. Piper wants to ask for their be no extra lights for the parking due to the residential area.
  63. Guthrie has one ask about heritage district logistics, would like to see report on how relationship worked if approved by council.
  64. Guthrie would like to see feedback how the developers were able to work within heritage designations.
  65. Vote on by-law to confirm the proceedings of meetings of Guelph City Council. (February 24, 29 and March 7, 2016) Passes 13-0
  66. Council moves to go back into the closed meeting. Essential tonight’s meeting is over. Thanks for following.


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