Many eyes have been looking for this final decision on the part of staff: the approval or disapproval of the resubmitted plan for 75 Dublin Street North. So is the City of Guelph finally ready to get behind the project 17 months after turning it down in the first place?
IDE-2018-45 Decision Report 75 Dublin Street North Proposed Official Plan Amendment (File: OP1706) Ward 3 – Nope. “Based on the review, staff recommend refusal of the proposed Official Plan Amendment to permit a building height of five storeys for 75 Dublin Street North,” it says in the report.
First of all, staff is not convinced that this plan from Rykur is itself an example of good planning. Staff was not persuaded by the increased setback for the fifth storey, nor for the project being conditional on government funding to develop affordable housing. That’s strike one.
The second strike? Staff didn’t like that Rykur was basically resubmitting the exact same development that they submitted in 2016 just so they can score a Holding provision. You can ready all about the ‘H’ here.
Finally, staff are of the opinion that the plan fails to conform to the City Official Plan and Downtown Secondary Plan Schedule B in terms of the height restrictions, the compatibility to the surrounding area, and its “sensitive” location next to Central Public School.
“For these reasons, Planning staff conclude that this site is not an appropriate location for an increased number of storeys and recommend that the proposed Official Plan Amendment be refused,” the report says with a mic drop.
The end? Not quite. Council could overrule the staff decision and allow it, but a similar vote in 2016 failed 4 to 8, and council ended up passing the staff recommendation 10 to 2. The original decision is still an open case before the Ontario Municipal Board.