LIVE BLOG: City Council Meeting for May 8, 2017

A heritage update, street reconstruction, affordable housing, and building standards are all on the docket for the agenda of this planning 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 – May 8, 2017

Live blog from the meeting starting at 6:30 pm

  1. No discolure of pecuniary Interest and general nature thereof.
  2. First official item: Medal presentation to the Guelph Buns Master Special Olympics Floor Hockey Team
  3. They won the Silver medal at the Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017 in Graz, Austria.
  4. @mayorcamguthrie gives out medals to players for the #Guelph Buns Master Special Olympics Floor Hockey team for winning the Silver medal at the Special Olympics World Winter games 2017 in Graz, Austria.

    @mayorcamguthrie gives out medals to players for the #Guelph Buns Master Special Olympics Floor Hockey team for winning the Silver medal at the Special Olympics World Winter games 2017 in Graz, Austria.
  5. Update to Municipal Register of Cultural Heritage Properties passes 10-0
  6. Contract Award for Metcalfe Street Reconstruction passes 10-0. That’s half the agenda done!
  7. Next up: a presentation on Preliminary Design Directions Built Form Standards for Mid-rise Buildings and Townhouses
  8. This document will provide the basis to develop draft Built Form Standards for Mid-rise Buildings and Townhouses in the city.
  9. Fun fact: there are 2 types of townhouse developments: on-street and cluster.
  10. Cllr Downer asks about the goal of the document. Will it give staff “more teeth”?
  11. David de Groot, Senior Urban Designer, says it’s about compatibility and predictability in terms of the development of these buildings
  12. Cllr Gibson asks about giving options for buildings to add character.
  13. The document aims to give guidance about how a new project can fit in with a neighbourhood’s pre-existing character.
  14. Murr concerned that middies development in some areas would be committing “Theft of public views” in areas @ Hanlon Creek Conservation Area
  15. Guthrie calls the vote on the recommendation. It passes 10-0.
  16. Last item up: Affordable Housing Strategy: Review of the Affordable Housing Target and Secondary Market
  17. Council approved the strategy last fall with the exception of the financial commitment.
  18. 2ndary rentals go under ownership b/c when they’re bought, we don’t always know if a house is being used for rental income by owner.
  19. Cllr MacKinnon wonders what the city is doing right to get 120 accessory apt’s per year on average.
  20. #Guelph has had a permissive program for awhile and other municipalities are just now catching up at urging of province.
  21. This according to Melissa Aldunate, Manger of Policy Planning and Urban Design.
  22. Primary rentals target were only met through the early years of review, and only possible b/c of fed & prov money to St. Joes.
  23. Primary rentals target were only met through the early years of review, and only possible b/c of fed & prov money to St. Joes.
  24. Accessory apartment numbers are coming in higher than outlined, Aldunate confirms.
  25. Cllr Wettstein struggles with the chicken/egg of targets and incentives. If we can’t afford incentives, what does that mean for targets?
  26. Targets required by province, incentives are 1 way of achieving this targets says Aldunate.
  27. Wettstein: What happens if this council decides not to have incentives?
  28. Staff: Approving these targets to not automatically follow that it has a financial incentives program. It’s 1 tool, others already approved.
  29. If city wasn’t meeting 1% rental target, they they’ll have to review incentives. These are not provincial targets either, they’re Guelph’s
  30. Gibson says this is a good news story that the City is exceeding targets.
  31. Gibson adds that city got it right with exclusionary zoning. Avoided the problems of other municipalities with accessory apt’s.
  32. Gibson says the amendment is setting up council to have to provide a million dollars per year to incentivize primary rental construction w/$
  33. Wettstein notes that this motion doesn’t mean that council is committing to spending $1 million.
  34. Staff notes that in the report last fall, they recommended that only 50% of the target be incentivized. $40k/unit instead of $80K/unit
  35. Staff: the target is one way of deciding what the priorities are. Funding would be available for a variety of opportunities.
  36. Gibson asks if it would be a good idea to have this come back with the financial info.
  37. DCAO Stewart says it feels like council is punting this down the road. Gotta get policy in place, then move to budget.
  38. Treasurer was asked to review all incentive programs, this is a tool, and voting this down loses measurables, says Stewart.
  39. Vote to approve recommendation passes 7-3. (Billings, Gibson and Guthrie against).
  40. Meeting adjourned. That’s a wrap till May 23.

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