LIVE BLOG: City Council Meeting for July 11, 2016

Food trucks, affordable housing, and planning matters are all on the agenda for tonight’s 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 – July 11, 2016

Live blog from the meeting starting at 7 pm

  1. No Disclosure of Pecuniary Interest and General Nature Thereof tonight.
  2. Presentation by Amanda Macdougall, Regional Manager, Municipal & Stakeholder Relations, MPAC re: 2016 MPAC Assessment Update up 1st.
  3. MPAC determines current assessments and evaluations. 2016 is a reassessment year btw.
  4. Assessment years happen every four years, like the Olympics. This assessment will cover 2017-20 tax years.
  5. Mailing assessments happens over 20 week period starting in April
  6. 15,926 data touch points for MPAC in the @cityofguelph that’s an increase and makes MPAC more confident in assessments says Macdougall
  7. We’re now moving to level 3, and property specific research says Macdougall.
  8. More predictability, improved risk analysis, fewer surprises the benefit for municipalities.
  9. Increased satisfaction and confidence plus more opportunity for feedback the benefits for property owners.
  10. New this year, residents will have 120 days to file request for reconsideration. Deadline for #Guelph Nov 22.
  11. @selaw13 I believe the Guelph assessments are going out this month, and the lockout was pushed back 30 days. Won’t be an issue (for Guelph)
  12. Macdougall can’t comment on Cllr Piper about water resources having an effect on assessment.
  13. 5 factors incl. lot size, sq footage got into 85% of the assessment.
  14. Cllr Downer wonders if City should put out communication to explain that the 5.7% change in assessment means 5.7% change in taxes.
  15. Mayor Guthrie notes such a communique could happen with the plan to make citizens aware of the coming budget cycle.
  16. Guthrie now moves to consent agenda: Bristol St recon, demolition at 47 Arkyll, and Market Debenture.
  17. Zoning bylaw amendment for food vehicles next up on the agenda.
  18. Abby Watts, Policy Planner leading this discussion.
  19. Ongoing projects concerning food vehicles include biz licensing, zoning, park, and the pilot “Food Truck Summer”
  20. Cllr Bell asks about the peculiarity about carts and trucks being covered by the same definition and requirements.
  21. Elimination of administration is the reason, says Watts.
  22. If food carts were not included in definition, they would not be permitted.
  23. Parks maybe coming up with their own regs vs industrial and commercial. That has nothing to do with zoning.
  24. Cllr MacKinnon asks if an old times bike selling popsicles counts as a vehicle. It does.
  25. The bylaw does not have “wheeled vehicle”, but the presentation and docs do, hence the confusion.
  26. “Tacos on tanks” is coming to Guelph, jokes Guthrie.
  27. Vehicles are subject to health inspections and that has been taken into account says staff in response to Cllr Allt Q
  28. Allt/Billings move to receive report. Passes 13-0
  29. 745 Stone Road East and 58 Glenholm Drive Proposed Zoning By-law Amendment up next.
  30. The land is subject to the Innovation District secondary plan.
  31. Owners want land to be zoned Specialized Residential Single Detached” (R.1A-?) zone and “Conservation” (P.1). allowing for 5 new dvlpments
  32. Cllr Gordon asks about one plot that looks to face the Eramosa River. Sulatycki says all enviro features taken into account
  33. Gordon asking specifically about GRCA. That report has been circulated and will come for feedback says Sulatycki
  34. Nancy Shoemaker, on behalf of the applicant, is now addressing council.
  35. Families began discussion with City to develop properties in 2005, says Shoemaker.
  36. Cllr Salisbury asks about “turning circle” on Glenholm. 3 new driveways will be created says Shoemaker.
  37. No further Qs for Shoemaker. Bell/Billings move receipt of the report.
  38. Cllr Gibson notes that 70% of the land in this development will be protected. A “point of optimism” he says.
  39. Next up, bylaw amendment to allow the old JL’s Home Hardware property to be turned into a self-store and Uhaul rental
  40. The property will have to be rezoned from “Specialized Service Commercial” (SC.1-17) Zone to “Highway Service Commercial” (SC.2) Zone
  41. Cllr Billings asks Sulatycki if there’s a chance for landscaping on the Speedvale side of property?
  42. That’s in the works at site planning approval, says Sulatycki.
  43. David Anstett says the location is ideal for his business.
  44. Mayor Guthrie asks about the other Uhaul at Victoria/Speedvale. Is it closing?
  45. Anstett says no, the other Uhaul an independent contractor.
  46. Anstett says he will keep all the trees currently on the property.
  47. Worth noting: a zoning issue before the OMB currently involves the Uhaul retailer in the east end.
  48. Next up 1229 Victoria Road South Proposed Official Plan Amendment and Zoning By- law Amendment
  49. Michael Witmer, Development Planner II, cannot be located. Staff will do quick intro.
  50. the rezoning concerns the development of apartments and shopping complex where subdivision was going to go.
  51. No questions for Witmer. Hugh Handy will speak to the matter now as a delegate. He’s a rep for Westminster Woods.
  52. Handy will talk about the road widening issue. That matter’s important b/c it’s going to be at the expense of the developer.
  53. Cllr Allt asks about alternatives to front loading the coast of expanding the road.
  54. Handy says a credit through the development charges to be pulled as work moves forward.
  55. Guthrie asks about delaying the decision until he gets an answer on a “he said/he said” matter.
  56. Might be a good pressure release moving it back a week, says Handy. Doesn’t want to see it pushed to Sept or Oct.
  57. Engineering and planning staff happy to work with applicant on file, more time might help to resolve issues, staff.
  58. DCAO Scott Stewart says someone has to pay whether its developer, DC, or citizens. “This stuff has to get done.”
  59. Stewart asks developers to help the city see things that may not have been covered yet.
  60. Cllr Downer asks if they need to make a public notice if the matter on this comes back next week.
  61. Staff says this is a technical matter that needs to be resolved and unless clerk disagrees they don’t need another public notice
  62. Stewart says if they can’t resolve it in a week, the council still has a decision to make. Better to do it all next Monday
  63. Cllr Gordon asks about the kind of credit the developer is looking for.
  64. Staff not aware of any occasion where credit was “front loaded” for charges. It’s a can of worms.
  65. Cllr Allt not sensing any real enthusiasm from staff for holding this decision off for a week. Comment?
  66. Mayor Guthrie says he heard 2 staff members say their might be. Stewart says it doesn’t hurt to have a little more dialogue.
  67. “We will be reasonable in our approach. We always have been, we always will be.” says Stewart.
  68. Council moves to refer the matter to July 18. Unanimous.
  69. Next up Heritage Redevelopment Reserve Grant Application for 5 Arthur Street South (Heritage Building Complex)
  70. “The dots are starting to be connected” on the preservation of the heritage buildings on site. New coming in the next couple of months
  71. Staff has been advised of the confidential details of the project.
  72. The development will be of “significant” interest to the downtown, and the greater Guelph community.
  73. Reuse of the building is a “commercial opportunity” says Larry Kotseff
  74. Cllr Bell asks about the possibility of commercial deal falling through.
  75. Construction on the project would begin in 2018, and be done in a year to a year and a half.
  76. Gibson says he supports the program, wants to know how this fits into the process given how quickly it came up.
  77. This is an unusual process, notes staff, the opportunity “looked like a winner, something quite unique.”
  78. This involves a “Well known” “national” name that’s respected by the business community.
  79. “This will be a feather in the downtown’s cap once it comes to fruition,” says staff.
  80. Gibson wonders if more applications like this (bypassing committee) when council moves to committee on the whole in the fall.
  81. Gordon asks about the optical issue of “jumping the queue” and whether that might be the perception.
  82. Wouldn’t normally consider something like this unless “there’s significant value attached.”
  83. “This was in the queue for a quite a while as well.” says staff.
  84. Downtown and brownfield grants have been lacking this year, Matter will have to come before council later.
  85. Bell asks if this being approved in principal, will come back to council once deets are sorted out.
  86. Staff didn’t anticipate bringing it back unless council wills it.
  87. Bell would appreciate it coming back to council once all the details are made public.
  88. Allt says council is being asked to make a “leap of faith” that whatever is going to happen is going to be “good.”
  89. “The reserve had been largely tapped out prior to this,” staff on heritage fund.
  90. Allt wants to make sure there’s a clear transparent procedure.
  91. “I’m excited about something national coming, but I’m also excited about Santa Claus coming,” says Allt.
  92. The cap on contribution will be set at $1.2 million.
  93. There will be trigger mechanisms in place that Fusion Homes will have to meet, says staff.
  94. Trying to keep a tight timeline in terms of the project and the deliverables, says staff.
  95. Cllr Wettstein says development community is watching the city to see what it does vis-a-vis low reserves.
  96. There is enough money in the reserve to cover the project. Contributions to fund happen every year through tax-supported budget
  97. Fusion needs to go back to the enterprise with council’s decision and enter into contractual relations
  98. “For the record, yes, we are excited,” says staff.
  99. Salisbury asks if there are currently other candidates with active proposals.
  100. Staff: No, only one active applicant that’s just starting to ask.
  101. Salisbury asks to clarify, the fund is meant to respond to opportunities as they come up. Correct.
  102. Piper says she has full confidence that staff supports the vision for downtown, sure the proposal falls in line.
  103. Bell notes there are a couple of letters noting caution in making a hasty decision.
  104. Bell: We need to be careful when we rush these things because some people aren’t aware of the immediacy.
  105. Again, one of the biggest problems is the lack of smaller rental units available. An especially big problem for low-income peeps.
  106. Only 329 rental units produced in the last few years. 432 new units will be added with the building across from Imperial Zehrs opens
  107. Perhaps financial incentives for the private sector are need to develop more small rental units, report says.
  108. Not proposing any changes to development charges bylaw till 2019 when a review is done. May consider incentives when the time comes.
  109. Not being recommended: the establishment of a fund for a housing development corp, use of municipal lands & land banking & social financing
  110. The final report will come forward to council in Q4 of this year.
  111. Now its time for Qs from council. Cllr Billings goes first.
  112. Billings wants clarification on why 2ndary rental market isn’t as secure.
  113. A secondary rental is something like a basement apartment.
  114. Problem is that city doesn’t know who long an owner will keep unit on the market.
  115. City doesn’t have the same amount of info about secondary market that they do about primary. Difficult to determine if they’re affordable
  116. Billings asks about people that create accessory apartments to help pay for home. Aren’t they technically 2 affordable units?
  117. It might add to affordable rental stock, yes, but city has not data to say for sure.
  118. @TheFeenux Perhaps, but I think it was a question of being able to quantify the stock.
  119. Cllr Bell asks if the final report will have a budget recommendation in the fall.
  120. Staff: the budget allocation, and cost of strategy will come later. A separate project.
  121. Gordon says this feels like a bit of a crisis. Thinks we need to wait for prov. guidelines, and that could mean more waiting.
  122. Staff unsure about fed/prov programs, but it would be unwise to sit on hands and wait for them in order to enact *all* the recommendations.
  123. Gordon asks about the timing on making the tiny homes project possible.
  124. Regulations for small units will not set until the finished plans are in place. Could start in 18 months and take 3 years to complete.
  125. Cllr Gibson asks about accessory apartment target. It’s not part of the 3% says staff.
  126. Staff: we have no control on whether an accessory apartment is being created for a family member, or rented for 1-2 years…
  127. Cllr Allt says that nothing in Guelph has changed in 25 years in terms of social housing.
  128. Allt wonders if the city can monitor trends like seniors downsizing from own home to rental apartment?
  129. City can’t monitor people’s personal choices unless they do a door-to-door survey.
  130. Allt notes that this is another problem that’s been downloaded onto municipalities from the province.
  131. Guthrie asks if the counting is a Guelph solution, or borrowing best practices.
  132. Definitions for affordable housing set by the province, says staff. “We feel very comfortable with the approach that we’re taking.”
  133. Guthrie wants to “throw some caution” about the counting. Thinks we’re missing out on “hundreds” of units there that aren’t at risk.
  134. Guthrie doesn’t doubt staff’s figures, but does;t think the secondary units are as “risky” as portrayed.
  135. Bell won’t be supporting the strategy. Thinks all 3 levels of gov are in this together, disappointed that there’s no budget request this yr
  136. Allt clarifies “we’re strapped in our resources.”
  137. Wettstein concerned that they’re supporting it now, and won’t be able to back that up with money later.
  138. Staff points out that this report will be going back for more community consultation. There will be changes b4 final report.
  139. Wettstein says that there are a dozen things competing for limited dollars. Part of capital budget discussion this week.
  140. Report received 11-1. Bell voted against, Piper not present.
  141. Final presentation: David DeGroot, Senior Urban Designer & Mixed-Use Nodes Urban Design Concept Plans (Gordon/Clair, Woodlawn/Woolwich)
  142. Some nodes contain less development, DeGroot says.
  143. The intention with building up nodes now is to move away from one storey commercial development (plazas).
  144. The purpose of this report is to not endorse any specific plan for further development in these areas, but to provide guidelines.
  145. Cllr Downer praises the report, points out that areas of Woolwich are ripe for redevelopment.
  146. Bell has been thinking about Woodlawn/Woolwich node for 10 years. Concerned about issues with pedestrians, traffic concerns.
  147. Wondering if pedestrians will be moved away from the intersection to somewhere there aren’t as many “turning movements.”
  148. DeGroot: connections through Riverside Park will be looked at a future date.
  149. Hofland wonders if there’s plans to handle the traffic by diverting the traffic off Woolwich
  150. DeGroot: Didn’t look at that as part of this project, did look at breaking up the block to allow for more N/S connections for pedestrians
  151. Staff: Engineer and traffic was consulted, nothing firm yet.
  152. Hofland wants clarity. These are guidelines and not something we can hold builders to, or is it part of plan?
  153. If an individual applicant came forward this is something they could look at. Not beholden to.
  154. Gibson asks if money was put aside for a commercial policy review. A: Yes it was.
  155. Also, full zoning review coming up in the next couple of years. “Lots of reviews going on,” jokes the mayor.
  156. Guthrie asks if the trees along the corridor in the illustrations is something the developers pay for, or is that the city.
  157. Guthrie wants to know if the city direct staff to plant those trees today.
  158. It could be combination of public/private endeavour says staff.
  159. Guthrie: Is there anything we have control over to start implementing ideas tonight?
  160. Report received 11-0. Piper and Billings not here.
  161. Guthrie says no need to reprint Arthur St report for July 18 meeting.
  162. @adamadonaldson important review b/c it’s the first step in determining whether or not to rezone land in the east end as commercial. #Guelph
  163. That’s a wrap for tonight’s meeting. Thanks for following along.


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