City Council Preview – What’s on the Agenda for the July 24 Meeting?

A week from today brings the final council meeting before the August break, and while it isn’t the biggest agenda of the year so far, it will have items concerning closed meetings, light pollution, and item that couldn’t come forward last week at the planning meeting.

CLOSED MEETING: C-CON-2017.14 Proposed Downtown Zoning By-law Amendment; C-CON-2017.12 1229 Victoria Road Zoning By-law Amendment, Ontario Municipal Board Appeal; C-CON-2017.13 York Road/Victoria Road South

CON-2017.37 Light Pollution Bylaw Review – By popular demand, the City of Guelph is considering a lighting bylaw. We presently don’t have one, but it’s something that’s becoming more common across Canada in places like Toronto, Mississauga, and Calgary. The crux of the matter is that Guelph has already got a great number of bylaw reviews already on the books: right now taxi licensing, election signs and second hand good sales/salvage years are being looked at with the taxi review being described as major, and the other two considered as minor. Staff is considering the lighting bylaw a minor review as well, but it would still involve months of public consultations and development. If council wants to proceed immediately, they’ll have to bring in outside help in the form of consultants, but if they want to do it all in house, it might have to wait until late 2019, early 2020.

CON-2017.38 Closed Meeting Investigation Report – A complaint was filed with the City concerning three closed meetings in September and October 2015, and October 2016 saying that council had contravened the Municipal Act in calling for these meetings on the matter of the Brant Community Hub. The hubbub about the hub concerns a couple of acres of Brant Park that the City is considering the purchase of to develop a community centre akin to Shelldale at the corner of Willow and Dawson Rd; a number of neighbourhood residents were viscerally against this coming to be on the basis of not wanting to lose local green space. Back to the complaint, which was investigated by Amberley Gavel, a firm that specializes in closed meeting procedure investigations for Ontario municipalities. AG has found that for the three meetings, council were properly in closed session, but they warn that the exceptions to the open meetings rule are discretionary, and that they should “always strive to err on the side of openness and transparency when determining whether to exercise its discretion to consider a matter in closed session.”

CON-2017.32 Proposed Downtown Zoning By-law Amendment (plus related staff memo) – This item is carried over from the June 10 meeting, the one that was deferred after a one-hour in-camera session. The only addition to this report in the new package is a memo from Deputy CAO Scott Stewart clarifying the definition of “Public Parking Facility” to mean “a Place other than a Street, Used for the parking of Vehicles that is owned by or operated by or operated on behalf of the City for the general public.” It’s uncertain if this redefinition was the reason the last council meeting had to go in-camera.

Conundrum: the current Downtown zoning bylaw does not reflect the present vision, policies or land use designations for Downtown Guelph. Solution: the following update. Certain definitions have been added (“transparent window,” “automated parking system”), and certain definitions have been altered (“government office,” “public parking facility” and “mixed-use building”). Regulations for bicycle parking space dimensions have been deleted, and there have been some alternations to specific technical definitions. There have also been some specific rezoning changes that were needed, like 45 Yarmouth St where a recently-approved high-rise is going up, for example.

CON-CAO-2017.1 Corporate Administrative Plan Update – Last fall, council was introduced to the Corporate Administrative Plan, a two-year guiding document meant to help with the Chief Administrative Officer and the executive team meet goals for service excellence, innovation, and financial stability. From the Politico council preview of September 26, 2016:

The Executive Team will reveal their corporate administrative plan for the next 18 to 24 months, and provide high level information about the planned programs of work and their intended impact. The report has three goals, to achieving quality and show results in Service Excellence, to manage City resources to achieve maximum public value through Financial Stability, and modernize how we do things through Innovation. Among the new initiatives will include creating a more integrated citizen service experience through Digital Services and myGuelph Projects, a Talent Management Blueprint, an Asset Management Program, and IT Core Business Systems and Records and Information Management. Any new funding for these projects will be considered during the 2017 and 2018 budget processes.

So this agenda item represents the first performance report to come from the new CAP, the goal being to create more accountability and “demonstrate value for tax dollars.” Going forward, the CAO and his team are prioritizing recommendations for the future of Guelph Hydro (which is a separate committee that Derrick Thomson sits on), completing the pilot project service reviews with the review of Transit set to begin in late September, the creation of streamlined annual reports for the corporate and service areas, implementing more employee engagement, and developing options for a Community Plan.

Reports from Committee-of-the-Whole on July 4:
uCOW-CS-2017.13 Tax Sale Vesting – Roll 23 08 010 003 18701
COW-IDE-2017.29 Registration of Two-unit Houses
COW-IDE-2017.31 Affordable Housing Financial Incentives Program Framework
COW-IDE-2017.30 Stormwater Service Fee – Credit Program Feasibility Report
COW-IDE-2017.32 LED Street Lighting
COW-IDE-2017.33 Guelph Active Transportation Network Design Guidelines and Feasibility Study
COW-IDE-2017.35 Clair-Maltby Secondary Plan Phase One Report and Recommended Vision and Guiding Principles
Woonerf Pilot Project

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