LIVE BLOG: City Council Meeting for April 11, 2016

Time again for the monthly planning meeting at Guelph City Council. 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 – April 11, 2016

Live blog from the meeting starting at 7 pm.

  1. 15 minute warning for the start of the #Guelph city council meeting.
  2. 4 delegations have been added on the 45 Yarmouth Street Proposed Zoning By-law Amendment point.
  3. @adamadonaldson Basically, developer wants to build a 14-storey apt tower on empty lot next to old Other Bros. restaurant.
  4. The rest of the agenda is up for consent (meaning vote w/o discussion in open council).
  5. There are 4 other delegates listed for the 132 Harts Ln W subdivision, so that may be pulled from consent.
  6. CAO contract: direction was given
    Labour Relations: To be raised under special resolution
    Transactional Committee: staff given direction
  7. No one looking to pull 30 University Ave, York Trunk Sewer or Report to Council on closed meeting. Passed 13-0
  8. Developers are seeking a change from CBD.1 (Central Business District) Zone to a CBD.1-? (Specialized Central Business District)
  9. Change would allow the building to be all apartments. CBD.1 would require commercial portion.
  10. The proposed building would have 14 floors and 2.5 levels of underground parking. 89 apartments in all.
  11. Developer would like several spaces in Baker St lot to be set aside for them (which should go over well).
  12. This is the first time “bonusing” provisions (extra 2 floors) would be considered for council’s approval.
  13. Q from Billings: What are the community benefits from density?
  14. Still need to consult with council on those points.
  15. Q from Billings: Is there a parking for formula? Number of units = number of spaces.
  16. Currently 1 space per unit. Report coming from staff for review.
  17. Q from Billings: Don’t we (@cityofguelph) have a waiting list for passes?
    A: Yes. The 20 spaces are a request.
  18. Allt asks about the considerations and impact of Baker St. redevelopment. Not taken into account yet.
  19. Intent of applicant to accommodate city’s three stream garbage system.
  20. No details yet on how parking will be affected during construction.
  21. Downtown Secondary Plan requires 12 storey limit with approval from council for 2 storeys more.
  22. Gibson says there are ground floor commercial opportunities. A comment to take away.
  23. Gibson would like numbers about how it affects the downtown plan for density.
  24. Bell notices 75% of first floor is taken up by access to parking. Does that conform to urban guidelines?
  25. 3 access points, but there will be a thorough urban design review.
  26. Salisbury asking about community benefits. Is there a contribution that could facilitate Baker St redevelopment?
  27. Salisbury thinks the benefits should involve solving some of the problem the development is creating.
  28. Salisbury points out that Baker is busy street commercially, all apartments there would be creating a gap.
  29. Billings recalls concerns over pedestrian access between Baker and Yarmouth in past development request for 9-stoey building.
  30. OMB decision says there should be no public access through site.
  31. Gordon wonders if this is court before horse in terms of Baker St redevelopment.
  32. Gordon looking for clarification on sight lines with the Church of Our Lady.
  33. Piper asking about “Dead zones” created at parking garage entrance. DeVreindt says staff can follow-up on that.
  34. Piper would like to see what the development will look like from a “human standpoint.”
  35. Mayor Guthrie has questions: Has car sharing been brought up?
    A: No.
  36. Q from Guthrie: Has aesthetics of the top of the building been discussed? Thinking of the building on corner of Yarmouth and Quebec.
  37. Richard Zelinka to speak on behalf of the developers.
  38. “It represents a great development opportunity for the future of downtown.” High quality residential.” – Zelinka.
  39. No natural features on the site, but archeological assessment will be done on the site.
  40. Zelinka says site falls out of viewing corridor for Church of Our Lady.
  41. Zelinka says they’re open to council suggestions for improvement to the plan.
  42. Zelinka is getting extra time to talk about parking concerns. Many on council had questions.
  43. Zelinka says there’s no room for commercial frontage on 1st floor with parking access, lobby, and garbage rooms.
  44. No cross access points public or private due to safety concerns.
  45. Zelinka promises “nominal” loss of parking due to development. No impact on traffic movements either.
  46. Staff will get that report latter this week. Building will be able to sustain on 69 spaces.
  47. Guthrie kicks off council Qs about the top of the building in drawings. Just artist’s rendition.
  48. Gibson picked up on 1/2 bedroom units and rentals. Ties to affordable housing strategy, anyway this development can meet criteria?
  49. Floor plans are flexible, Zelinka says. It could be something to be considered.
  50. Allt asks about the coloured patterns in the drawing. The non-balcony side will be precast.
  51. Allt asks if parking concerns would be met sticking to 12 storeys.
  52. Salisbury about the 19 spaces, 12 & 7, why 2 entrances if on same gradient?
  53. Mehdi says there’s safety issues, no cross-parting between the two.
  54. Salisbury says there will be challenges with double entry. Adds that ground level commercial is “fundamental”
  55. Salisbury: this build has two, active dynamic sides. Baker more commercial.
  56. The double entrance is problematic “but that’s just an opinion” says Salisbury.
  57. Hofland asking about accessible walkway between Yarmouth and Baker.
    Answer: Nope.
  58. Gordon asks if applicant would consider affordable housing as part of the bouncing provision.
  59. Now time for delegations. Charles Minett for up.
  60. Minett has a medical practice along Yarmouth Street for 35 years. “Pretty familiar with street animation.”
  61. Points out that there are a lot of health care providers along Yarmouth, and rely on curtsied parking for elderly patients.
  62. In Minett’s opinion (and the others on Yarmouth) is that this development is “just too big.”
  63. Showing the southern view of Park Mall building. Minute calls it a “concrete slab.”
  64. “Cars in every available parking space, Minett says of Yarmouth parking on Thursday afternoon. (Showing pic from Apr 7)
  65. Minett says Yarmouth and Douglas Streets are analogues. Douglas St redevelopment was respectful.
  66. Minett finishes by thank the developer for wanting to redevelop land, but its too big.
  67. Bisson says the 69 slots are about 75% of what’s needed.
  68. Says that it’s difficult to make a decision like this until we know what’s going in on Baker St.
  69. “I don’t know how many of you have tried to make a left-hand turn on Woolwich from Yarmouth when there’s lots of traffic” Bisson adds.
  70. The report was done to favour the developer, not the city he adds.
  71. What is “curb fitting?” It’s prone to large errors, says Bisson.
  72. Bisson says city will be better off if developed as condos. (He’s a mortgage broker).
  73. A shortage for stock for first time home buyers, Bisson says.
  74. City could generate the same or more tax money with 4 story condo vs 14 storey rental.
  75. Bisson has whipped out DT 2ndary plan schematic. No towers the size of Yarmouth development.
  76. “Do not overlook the needs for lights at Woolwich and Yarmouth,” Bisson warns.
  77. “I have a lot to gain of this happens,” says Bisson who’s closing on property across the street.
  78. No Qs for Bisson. Next up: Ken Chase. Last delegate on this.
  79. Chase: for densification. Lives and works DT. So does wife.
  80. Believes improvements in transit should leverage residential stock DT.
  81. Concerns about removal of pedestrian access btw Yarmouth and Baker.
  82. Many different developments that could occur in the downtown is going to have issue with parking, Chase says.
  83. Chase prime concern is walkability. Having a property you have to walk past to get to the next service reduces walkability.
  84. Piper would like to see if development can be included in Guelph energy system.
  85. Bell: Lack of commercial space, thinks its important that interest be made on the street. Urges applicant to modify.
  86. Allt “absolutely” in favour of increasing density, but concerns about parking.
  87. Guthrie asks staff to recount comments to make sure everything’s been covered.
  88. Ground floor use, access locations, parking, urban design, animation of street, Baker St. redevelopment, bonusing options, CEI…
  89. “Copious notes” taken. 3 or 4 pages each amongst three staff members.
  90. Traffic studies provided by third parties, but reviewed by city engineering staff.
  91. Member of public adds we need to consider traffic not just M through F. But for weekends too.
  92. Member of public adds we need to consider traffic not just M through F. But for weekends too.
  93. Susan Marshall says we push the downtown for events, we need to consider that “problem” too.
  94. Susan Marshall says we push the downtown for events, we need to consider that “problem” too.
  95. MacKinnon wants to put motion on floor that the comments by staff are included in minutes as part of public record.
  96. Minutes are done usually without comment, Guthrie says this is a process Q. No seconder.
  97. Guthrie suggests to staff to find a process moving forward to record comments.
  98. Now on to delegations for subdivision at 132 Harts Lane. First Laura Murr.
  99. Speaking to protection of wetlands in the area of the development.
  100. Development on Harts Lane has made no effort to undo the negative environmental effects.
  101. Doesn’t understand why city and GRC did not include the 30 metre “no go zone.”
  102. What ware we getting? A very dense development, says Murr.
  103. Also notes the shrinking tree canopy. If we’re going to be more dense, have to look at quality of life too.
  104. Speaking on behalf of Rickson Ridge Neighbourhood.
  105. Has some questions, but hopes those Qs doesn’t sound like NIMBYism
  106. Looking forward to the farmhouse being used as community space.
  107. A large section of undeveloped land surrounded by neighbourhoods and small businesses. “Filling hole” in community.
  108. “Shocked” to see 10-storey building included. Enjoying facilities “in the shadow” of a building that has “no Earthly business” being there
  109. Struggling to understand why a building of this size is being developed in the community.
  110. 9.36 acres being give to the city for park land, trails and storm water. The 30M buffer is also in there.
  111. The Hart farmhouse will be maintained per staff recommendation and the owner.
  112. Portion of the land for apartment building 5 metres lower than homes on Rickson. Conscious effort to make it unintrusive.
  113. Majority of apts will be 1 or 2 bedroom, plus a few 3 bedroom.
  114. Owner will be willing to agree to 3 bedroom max. on apartments.
  115. Piper asks about community club. Limits to outside groups renting, what’s the back-up plan?
  116. Staff have been careful to insure long-term maintenance, operation, and ownership.
  117. Gordon asks about “the possibility of affordable housing.”
  118. A portion of apartments and townhouses will meet “affordability” definitions.
  119. Andrew Lambden now addressing council. He’s the owner of the Hart Village development.
  120. Lambden promoting the energy saving features of homes Terraview has built.
  121. Lambden says Hart farmhouse will be restored to former glory. Hopes it will bring unique sense of place to Hart Village.
  122. Gordon asks Lambden about porous pavement, and would that compliment Terraview’s water conservation efforts.
  123. There’s ongoing maintenance b/c it gets plugged up with sand, says Lambden. But there are many new stormwater features.
  124. Piper asks about closure of Harts Ln W. to accommodate cul-du-sac. She’s worried about losing the Hart name on neighbourhood.
  125. Harts Lane will continue to exist. The walkway could be called Harts Lane and can include signage, says Lambden.
  126. This was a very large farm, this is only a fraction of what is left says Lambden.
  127. Piper worried about increased traffic running into the area. Hasn’t decided which way she’s going to vote yet.
  128. Wants to know if there’s a condition of size of the apartment units.
  129. “We’re not in the student business” Lambden says. His business is selling to families.
  130. Focus on 1/2 bedroom units, with some 3 bedroom units on top floors.
  131. Already have ppl on waiting lists, and haven’t started promoting yet, Lambden says.
  132. That’s the last question. Council to vote on the report.
  133. Piper says there are concerns, but a lot of positive there to counter that.
  134. Allt says the difference between affordability and subsidy is an important distinction to make.
  135. Piper wants to add piece of mind to the residence that Terraview will watch the size of the high density units. No seconder.
  136. Mayor thanks city negotiators and union members for quick turnaround and reasonable and fair outcome.

 

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