LIVE BLOG: City Council Meeting for July 10, 2017

It’s will be a very busy planning meeting before the summer break, with the public meeting for three very contentious new projects. 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 10, 2017

Live blog from the meeting starting at 6:30 pm

  1. City of Guelph Building Partnerships
  2. Council is technically starting at 4 pm today with a special presentation: Integrated Operational Review.
  3. Pretty laid back getting started with this meeting. The mayor just walked in now.
  4. No Disclosure of Pecuniary Interest and General Nature Thereof
  5. CAO Derrick Thomason starting the presentation.
  6. The report proposed 23 changes, all but 2 are completed or “close” to completion.
  7. 12.5K building permits, 335 site plan applications, 57 acres of land sold, 7K inquires on planning matters = 8K of jobs and other benefits.
  8. Communication, customer service and continuous improvement to be the focus from this point forward.
  9. Kealy Dedman, GM City Engineer, Engineering & Capital, says this improvement is an effort to “get to yes” with developers.
  10. "Investor success is also our success, says Peter Cartwright, GM Business Development. https://t.co/rPMum3gWfL

    “Investor success is also our success, says Peter Cartwright, GM Business Development. pic.twitter.com/rPMum3gWfL
  11. We’re presently being shown a video that shows off the new attitude. It will be on the website
  12. DCAO Stewart says we’re starting to see the results of hard work, and the City is making positive changes.
  13. Stewart thanks council over last 5 years for supporting initiatives. “Making it easier to do business with City Hall” more than slogan.
  14. Stewart invites councillors to sign the pledge poster after the meeting. https://t.co/tWWgfBC96n

    Stewart invites councillors to sign the pledge poster after the meeting. pic.twitter.com/tWWgfBC96n
  15. Mayor Guthrie thanks staff. “Turning the ship around” and “correct the course” both terms used.
  16. Guthrie: About business expansion and retention, and about *jobs*.
  17. Guthrie pleased to hear about pro-active communication. “Very refreshing,” he added.
  18. No questions. Cllr MacKinnon moves the referral. Hofland calls it a “significant milestone”
  19. Council is now recessed until 6:30 when the planning meeting will continue.
  20. Ward 2 Cllrs James Gordon and Andy Van Hellemond sign the pledge to continually improve business relations between the @cityofguelph and #Guelph’s business communities.
  21. .@CamGuthrie is the first to sign the pledge rededicating the @cityofguelph to better business relations. https://t.co/jxa3qDhTmQ

    .@CamGuthrie is the first to sign the pledge rededicating the @cityofguelph to better business relations. pic.twitter.com/jxa3qDhTmQ
  22. Comments from @PhilAlltWard3 about the presentation of the Integrated Operation Review: https://t.co/vTsGy48YyS

    Comments from @PhilAlltWard3 about the presentation of the Integrated Operation Review: pic.twitter.com/vTsGy48YyS
  23. Council is back in business, and @ward5guelph is now joining us IRL.
  24. Consent item on 745 Stone/58 Glenholm zoning amendment passes 11-0
  25. Consent item on 1131 Gordon zoning amendment passes 11-0.
  26. 3 statutory planning meetings tonight, starting with a proposal for 233-237 Janefield. AKA: https://t.co/yXczueKUZy

    3 statutory planning meetings tonight, starting with a proposal for 233-237 Janefield. AKA: pic.twitter.com/yXczueKUZy
  27. Cllr Piper asks if there’s been any noise studies asked about concerning traffic from the Hanlon?
    Staff: No, but can look into it.
  28. Piper also asks about common space. In the current plan, it’s in a “gully” and between the building and Holiday Inn parking lot.
  29. Cllr Bell notes that the active transport network apprvd last week runs thru this site. Do they know?
    Staff: They do, looking at alternates
  30. Next up: Astrid Clos, the planning consultant on this and all the projects have their public meeting tonite.
  31. There will 190 parking spots on 2 underground levels.
  32. Cllr Gibson asks about machinery on the roof. It’s not on the conceptual drawing.
    Architect: There will be some, engineering not done yet.
  33. Next up: John Mitter. He’s 73. Born in OG General Hospital. Not against growth, but…..
  34. … he’s opposed to this “embarrassing application [..] on such a small parcel of land in our neighbourhood. […] It’s offensive.”
  35. Mitter would also like to see traffic study. Consulted w/ GPS & noted ^^^ in accidents on Janefield hill, incl. someone hitting his fence.
  36. Mitter says the original site owner was looking at 3-4 story buildings, some commercial, but… pic.twitter.com/j9cIEr5e6q
  37. Mitter says 200 buses pass by his place every day. He’s evidently counted. The proposal “needs refinement” he adds.
  38. It seems like a good time to remind everyone that the vote tonite on all these matters doesn’t mean shovels in the ground tmrw.
  39. Council will vote tonite to receive the recommendation, and if you have concerns, you should feel free to reach out to the City & voice them
  40. Albrecht tried to get a petition going, but ppl don’t want to give personal info to random person at their door. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  41. Albrecht wants to see a max. of 6 stories on a development here.
  42. A new delegate, Gerry Fernandez who “escaped Toronto” 37 years ago. He’s opposed and wonders if high-rises are more profitable to the city.
  43. Another delegate has stepped up, stands by Mitter’s comments about traffic. Several go unreported to police, he says.
  44. Piper notes there are concerns about solid waste, stormwater, and the mechanicals. Have to see actual height, she adds.
  45. @adamadonaldson Few homeowners on area. Large number of townhouses are rental units. Renters tend to be less engaged I find.
  46. Bell says there’s issues with sight-line and set back, also notes again the conflict with the Active Transpo Network.
  47. Guthrie asks staff to look at shadow study, and perhaps an alternative exit/entrance on Janefield instead of Torch.
  48. “It should look as pretty as it possibly can,” Guthrie on mechanicals on the roof.
  49. Vote to receive the application passes 11-0. Guthrie reminds those concerned to sign up for updates.
  50. And that will begin after a short recess. We reconvene at 7:45.
  51. People gathered to sign up to stay updated on the development at Janefield https://t.co/YNjhoewzWx

    People gathered to sign up to stay updated on the development at Janefield pic.twitter.com/YNjhoewzWx
  52. Cllr MacKinnon caught aghast, it seems, about a 70 cm setback between this and the next building.
  53. Senior Develop Planner Katie Nasswetter notes it’s not uncommon downtown.
  54. Cllr Bell asks if there’s a “river rule”, or a minimum setback a building has to be from the river. There’s not.
  55. Cllr Gibson asks if staff is comfortable doing underground parking this close to the river.
    Nasswetter: Staff and GRCA not reviewed yet
  56. Bell notes that the building doesn’t have an active frontage. Can the City make the developer change that?
    Nasswetter: not really..
  57. Krista Walkey of Stantec is now presenting on behalf of the applicant.
  58. Cllr Gibson says council needs a compelling argument as to why 14 storeys are needed.
  59. No further Qs from council for Walkey. No further delegates from the gallery.
  60. Salisbury is concerned that the building is “not as functional” from the street as it is from the river.
  61. Calls Wyndham S. a “significant corridor” and it should be treated as such.
  62. A delegate has emerged. Wants to know if there will be subsidized housing, and suggests council have a traffic study done too.
  63. Hugh Whiteley’s going to delegate too, and he’s got a 25 year perspective.
  64. Apparently, just south of the site was he home of the only steam ship to travel on the Speed, says Dr. Whitely.
  65. Bell says there are high buildings in the vicinity and thinks there should be an immediate benefit to the neighbourhood in exchange
  66. Guthrie likes the idea of having greenery on the building and not just the base is a good idea. These buildings will be around for a while.
  67. Next up: 19-59 Lowes Road W. Second bite of the apple here after residents dissatisfaction with last application.
  68. The new plan will be a cluster of 36 townhouses instead of 60. There’s also been a change in features to make it more of a match for area.
  69. The applicant has also more than doubled the parking requirements outlined in the bylaw.
  70. Gibson asks if the stormwater mgmt pond has moved in this proposal.
    A: It has, it’s more internal in this plan.
  71. Astrid Clos is back to represent this developer. Reminds those in attendance that this is just an informational meeting.
  72. Clos notes that the density is well below that allowed by the official plan.
  73. Storage area for solid waste bins have also been included in part of the new plan.
  74. Clos has summoned a colleague to talk about stormwater.
  75. The development is overshooting its target for stormwater overrun, Gibson seems impressed.
  76. Delegate Joan Ferguson is up now, despite the updates, she’s still concerned about stormwater overrun.
  77. Water doesn’t flow into the conservation area, it pools at the end of the street, says Ferguson.
  78. Ferguson says her electric bill is $500/month, pumping water due to all the construction going on in area.
  79. Ferguson also adds that the parking spaces are too small for larger vehicles like pick-up trucks.
  80. “We understand you’re going to build, we want you to build smart,” says Ferguson.
  81. No questions for the Fergusons, but they say council is welcome to come and see the effects anytime.
  82. The Fergusons have a petition with 29 names attached to their correspondence, apparently ppl didn’t mind signing for them.
  83. Another delegate is now up talking about how things in the area are “pretty swampy right now” when it rains.
  84. Another last minute delegate. Mary MacNeill who’s lived in the area 7-8 years and notes about a metre of flooding one year in her yard.
  85. Gibson wonders if w’ere confusing stormwater with water table issues.
  86. MacKinnon/Van Hellemond move receipt. Passes 11-0.
  87. Guthrie calls for another 5 minute break. Back at 9:20.
  88. And we’re back with last item: Proposed Downtown Zoning Bylaw Amendment.
  89. Todd Salter, GM of Planning, Urban Design and Building Services introducing the presentation…
  90. …but first, a legal issue. In-camera segment begins now.
  91. So 40 minutes, we’re still in camera. There was a 2 hour break between the IOR report and the rest of council…
  92. …if there was a legal issue of this importance why wait till 9:30 to ask for in-camera?…
  93. …This was a matter raised by one of the correspondences, so staff knew it was coming, but here we are…
  94. …When they suggested we go in-camera, I figured it would brief, but we’re not sneaking up on 3/4 of an hour. What’s the big deal?
  95. Okay, so we’re 6 minutes short of an hour that council’s been in camera.
  96. And we’ve been in camera for over an hour now.
  97. Adding another wrinkle, council will have to vote to continue after 11.
  98. Okay, so council is coming back into the chambers. We will recommence soon.
  99. Guthrie apologizes for the lengthy closed session.
  100. In-camera: “Council received extensive legal advice and no direction was given.” – Guthrie.
  101. Wettstein moves agenda item be deferred to July 24. No debate on deferral motions.

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