LIVE BLOG: City Council Meeting for September 11, 2017

Sure, it’s a short agenda, but those always seem to be the most controversial… 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 – September 11, 2017

Live blog from the meeting starting at 6:30 pm

  1. Closed meeting item on Guelph Junction Railway item – council received info in camera & directed staff to take further steps.
  2. The one item tonight: a proposed zoning bylaw amendment for 88 Beechwood Ave.
  3. The Beechwood-Chadwick-Hearn Neighbourhood Association will be delegating on this matter tonight, along with what looks like many others.
  4. 88 Beachwood is the old Optimist Club. The property backs out to Howitt Park, where there’s been other controversy. 
  5. The plan asks for 34 residential townhouse units including 12 stacked townhouse units (end units) and 22 cluster townhouse units to be built
  6. Also, 57 new parking spaces in underground parking.
  7. Fun fact: the city has no definition for back-to-back units, so council will have to approve a site specific plan.
  8. Cllr Salisbury asks for a more detailed report on the fate of trees on the property in the future.
  9. Cllr Piper indicates something on her screen using a pen, then realizes that planner Lindsay Sulatycki can’t see what she’s pointing at…
  10. Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design. Piper asks if such a study has been done on the property, it hasn’t/
  11. First up, Dave Aston on behalf of the applicant. He’s with MHBC Planning.
  12. There are 9 people in total on the delegate list, but the planning act allows anyone to speak once the list is complete. At least 2 more…
  13. Aston says there was some outreach to the area residents back in June where they should proposal and answered Qs.
  14. Aston says Granite Homes is opened to the best fit for the zone, but...

    Aston says Granite Homes is opened to the best fit for the zone, but…
  15. Cllr Piper asking about comparison between this project and Granite’s development on Arkell. The concept is the same.
  16. Salisbury not against the zoning change, but thinks Granite is asking for strong exceptions given the land and the building type.
  17. Aston: It’s okay if there’s less side/ backyard, there’s a park right there .(basically).
  18. Cllr Hofland asks if there’ll be public access behind the building along the creek.
  19. Hofland asking for clarification on trees along the boundary, they will be removed because the development comes right up to the line
  20. Aston: “The intent is to save as many trees as we can.” but he doesn’t sound terribly hopeful.
  21. Hofland asks if Granite would be interested in having further meetings with the neighbourhood? Aston: Yes.
  22. Cllr Allt asks Aston what “input and consultation” means?
  23. Aston: Receiving questions and comments, other agency and environmental comments. A complete package in terms of what to expect.
  24. Allt notes that the trail is also used as a short cut by area residents. Aston says # of units don’t require a traffic study.
  25. No more Qs for Aston. Next up is the neighbourhood group.
  26. Natalia Crewson is an exec member of the new group. She’s speaking first.
  27. Right now Sheila Hollidge is doing an overview of the area, a video tour. (Hint: ain’t no new complex gonna fit in here.)
  28. Hollidge notes the mosque is here, and that the neighbourhood doesn’t not want a development that can disrupt their worship.
  29. Sally Humphries, another member of BCHNA, says that members of council have already brought up many of her concerns.
  30. The neighbourhood group presentation has a photo of the Granite development at Arkell.

    The neighbourhood group presentation has a photo of the Granite development at Arkell.
  31. Granite Homes is “trying to put a square peg in a round hole”, says Humphries.
  32. Pauline Cunningham is talking about parking. What id owners have more than 1 car, don’t like parking underground?
  33. Cunningham also notes no accessibility access to underground parking. Seems like a huge oversight.
  34. There’s also concerns about storm water management, and garbage.
  35. Cunningham also notes that the Howitt Park playground will be in shadow under the current plan, therefore less safe.
  36. Tom Wood, another member of the group, notes that most homes are single storey, nearest apartment is three storeys.
  37. Cathy Dariing wants more information about tree removal. Seems that the proposal only leaves 3 mature trees on the site…
  38. Darling says the group does not have much faith in tree management plans. Points to recent loss of 2,000 trees at Lafarge site.
  39. Final member of the group to speak, Byron Cunningham. They support comparable development on Beechwood, this is not it.
  40. Neighbourhood needs to be valued, not diminished, says Cunningham
  41. In case you were unsure, the BCHNA is *not* supporting this application. (But they still want a voice in the process).
  42. Guthrie praises the presentation as “very professional”.
  43. Cllr Gordon calls the presentation, an “inspiring example of neighbourhood collaboration”. Asks is there’s consensus on reasonable develop.
  44. Cunningham: If it was 6-14, that would address the issue.
  45. Boutin says that Hearn is “basically a one-way street.” Snow removal and parking already difficult issues.
  46. Zul Kara of the Ismailia Centre says they’ve been a proud part of the neighbourhood for 20 years, shares concerns, asks council for solution
  47. Allt asks if Ismailia Centre has used parking at the Optimist Club in the past. Kara says they have (with permission from Granite).
  48. Nick Wilson, another area resident, notes that the building will create difficulty to access the park and trail.
  49. Aston asks if he could get a copy of the questions from the neighbourhood group. He’ll get one, says the mayor.
  50. Back to councillor questions, MacKinnon notes that the plan now calls for low-density, asks under what circumstances City goes against OPA?
  51. OPA 48 is not in full force yet, so an amendment was not required.
  52. OPA 48 is currently being appealed, so it’s not being enforced yet. It seems like Granite has found a kind of loophole.
  53. If OPA 48 were in effect, there would be additional paperwork for Granite.
  54. Cllr Downer is concerned about the precedent setting nature of this.
  55. Downer adds that no matter what goes in here, visibility of the park from the street is an important consideration.
  56. “I’ll try and frame these as questions,” Allt says. He’s concerned that this is right project on the wrong site.
  57. Allt says that the traffic issue in this areas has been festering for a while. Alma St may be the traffic issue b/c it’s closest school
  58. Allt also concerned that given recent events (Lafarge), a proper tree inventory be done.
  59. Staff says that while there’s no need for a traffic impact study, council can certainly request one.
  60. Guthrie says there would have to be a council vote to direct that.
  61. Staff says they would prefer formal direction since they have their procedures.
  62. Hofland says she’ll make a motion at the end of the meeting to direct staff to perform a traffic study.
  63. Hofland asks for environmental impact on Howitt Creek. Staff says it’s already underway.
  64. Cllr Wettstein asks if the fact that OPA 48 is under appeal is making things so difficult?
  65. Wettstein adds that council is going to be similar problems with infill projects over the next 10 years…
  66. Staff acknowledges that this is a challenge, these are just the concerns that OPA 48 will address, it’ll be fine when that’s in place.
  67. Hofland asks how garbage will be handled. Staff: applicant can do private or public (if it meets site plan approval).
  68. Guthrie asks for clarification: talking about playground being case in shadow, has a shadow study been done?
  69. Staff says it has not. It’s speculative unless residents have done their own formal analysis.
  70. MacKinnon and Hofland move receipt of the application. Guthrie notes *receipt*.
  71. Vote to receive passes 11-0 (Gordon has left the meeting, Bob Bell sent regrets)
  72. Hofland moves traffic study for the area. (As promised)
  73. Piper says a site specific impact study is not going to give council the info it needs. A cumulative study would be better.
  74. Staff says they’ll consult with engineering and traffic to develop a study that answers the question council has.
  75. Hofland removes her motion after the advise of staff and DCAO Stewart.
  76. The meeting is wrapping up. Guthrie thanks the applicants, notes staff willingness to mediate further discussion.
  77. Hofland moves the bylaws, second by Allt. Passes 11-0.
  78. No announcements from the mayor. So that’s meeting adjourned.


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