City Council Preview – What’s on the Agenda for the October 11 Meeting?

Because of Thanksgiving Monday, your typical monthly planning meeting will be moved to Tuesday, and fittingly, there are a couple of leftovers for council’s consideration.

Heritage Review Application requesting removal of the bank barn at 331 Clair Road East from the Municipal Register of Cultural Heritage Properties – The property owner of 331 Clair Road East would like to demolish the bank barn on the land. In May 2009, the barn was listed as a non-designated building on the Municipal Register of Cultural Heritage Properties, which you’ll recall is a building on the same property as a heritage building that may not be as historically relevant, and in this case, the bard takes second place to the James Hanlon farmhouse. Staff says that the bank barn does not have “significant cultural heritage value” and according to Ontario Heritage Act criteria, “the bank barn is considered to have diminished design/physical value and contextual value and very little historical/associative value to the James Hanlon farmhouse.”

Report 978-1042 Paisley Road Proposed Vacant Land Condominium Subdivision File: 23CDM16507 Ward 4 – Once this was an empty stretch of land between Elmira and Imperial roads across from the Zehrs Plaza, but currently three apartment buildings are being constructed on the site. Well, the builder is looking for amendment to the plan to get a fourth going now. This one will have just 52 units, and while no additional off-street parking will be constructed, all 52 units will be added to the City’s depleted rental apartment stock. The site already features one 180-unit building, two 126-unit buildings, and 567 parking spaces.

Report 108 and 110 Nottingham Street Proposed Zoning By-law Amendment File: ZC1611 Ward 5 – The problem: there’s a semi-detached dwelling on the property, and the land is zoned “Residential Single Detached.” The situation must be remedied.

CON-2016.60 Affordable Housing Strategy: Final Report – After a year of preparation, consultation and research, the staff are finally coming back to council with the final report for the Affordable Housing Strategy. For background, the City’s target is 30 per cent of new residential development city-wide to be affordable, along with 90 new rental units per years, and for the plan to complement the 10-year Housing and Homeless Plan. Reminder: What is affordable housing? Based on 2015 market rates, it’s $327,000 to own and $1,003 to rent, but if we’re talking income based then affordable means $339,329 to own and $1,194 to rent. The problem for Guelph, as outlined in the report, is that there are not enough small units to rent or buy, there’s a lack of availability in the primary rental supply market (apartment buildings), and the secondary market (basement apartments and the like) does not offer a secure supply.

So with all that in mind, these are the strategic actions proposed by the city: 1) Maintain affordable housing target at 30 per cent; 27 per cent ownership and 3 per cent rental; 2) Implement 30 per cent affordable housing target city-wide through development application process; 3) Require all residential development applications to discuss affordable housing target and issues as part of Planning Justification Report.

So how will this all get done? There will be a comprehensive by-law review, considerations of height and density, the examination of development standards, and there will be a planning justification report to measure the potential demands on the financial reserves and for budget considerations. As for those financial incentives, the City will provide a variety of them including the development of a community improvement plan to incentivize the private sector, finding ways to prioritize the creation of more primary rental units, and providing an annual contribution of between $60-$80,000 per unit for an Affordable Housing Incentive Program. The targets will be reviewed as part of the official plan on a five-year basis. The financial recommendations represent an annual cost of $820,000 to $1.3 million, which will be the subject of a future budget request.

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