City Council Preview – What’s on the Agenda for the June 12 Meeting?

There’s more than just planning scheduled for this month’s planning meeting. Motions on fees, and the structure of Heritage Guelph also come forward in this, the first of two city council meetings next week.

CON-2017.24 Paisley/Imperial Node – Proposed Official Plan Amendment and Zoning By-law Amendment – Armel is asking for a slight increase in floor space for the next phase of their commercial/mixed node development in the west end. Currently, their plan has tapped out at 52,600 m2 in gross floor area (GFA), but they’re asking the City’s permission to squeeze out another 4,400 m2 at 963 to 1045 Paisley Rd. This will constitute new commercial space built in the same plaza as Zehr’s and Wild Wings, and the final phase of construction on this part of the Armel development.

CON-2017.25 Heritage Guelph’s Terms of Reference – Apropos, it’s been a while since the terms of reference have been updated for Heritage Guelph, the last time it happened was in the 90s, so the committee’s paperwork needs a bit of a facelift to make sure they’re in line with all local and provincial policies and guidelines. The big change is that Heritage Guelph will now consist of nine members instead of 12, which will not have an immediate impact on the current committee since it only has nine members due to recent resignations. In the future, expertise of applicants to the committee will be considered in making appointments by council to allow for a diverse set of skills to be represented in Heritage Guelph’s membership. Using the Ontario Heritage Toolkit and the City’s Official Plan the new frames of reference have been established to determine under what circumstances that Heritage Guelph will be consulted. As well, Heritage Guelph will continue to meet on the second Monday of every month.

Public Meeting: 1159 Victoria Road South Proposed Common Element Condominium – A new application has come before the City to build a new development of 98 townhouses on land south of the Victoria Park East Guelph Club and north of Arkell Rd. This is the public statutory meeting for this development, and no final decision will be made about the project at this meeting.

CON-2017.26 Review of City of Guelph Development Application Fees – You may have heard of development charges in regards to any new build in the city. Well DCs, if you will, are described by the City of Guelph website as a way for municipalities in Ontario to “recover certain costs associated with residential and non-residential growth,” meaning that whether we’re talking about a mall or a subdivision, the DCs collected go to “things like new water and wastewater systems, roads and transportation infrastructure, community centres, parks, trails, fire and police facilities.” So what’s the problem with our DCs? Evidently there’s a negative budget variance for revenue on DCs over the last several years, and more than that, it seems that there’s an incongruity between what the City is forecasting and what the City ends up making. The current development fee structure and by-law has not been reviewed for 13 years, so staff moved forward with getting a review on that account by Performance Concepts Consulting Inc. Comparing Guelph with “peer municipalities” in Waterloo Region and the GTA, PCC is suggesting that Guelph increase fees on a number of different DC categories, including a new engineering review fee based on “percentage of estimated cost of work” that’s in use among several of those neighbouring municipalities. Although this may sound like bad news that fees are going up, PCC’s efforts assure that the new rates will fall on average, or below average, the fees of “peer municipalities.” A staff report with the new recommended fees by-law will come back to council sometime in the third quarter of this year.

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