Committee of the Whole Preview – What’s on the Agenda for the January 14 Meeting?

Committee of the Whole meets for the first time since July, and for the first time of this new era of City Council, and the agenda includes big ticket items like red light cameras, the Parkland Dedication Bylaw, and council’s response to the Ontario government’s most controversial bit of legislation yet.

CLOSED MEETING: IDE-2019-12 Water Services Operational Plan Endorsement (Section 8); IDE-2018-04 Hanlon Creek Business Park Phase I – Updated Development Strategy and Financials

PRESENTATIONS: Municipal Law Enforcement Officer Certified Designation – Jennifer Jacobi, Zoning Inspector/Legal Process Coordinator; Voting Member of the Radon Mitigation Committee for the Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB), Government of Canada – Appointment of Nicholas Rosenberg, Building Inspector III; Association of Municipal Managers, Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario Executive Diploma in Municipal Management – Antti Vilkko, General Manager, Facilities Management

IDE-2019-11 Water Services Operational Plan Endorsement – As required by the Ontario Municipal Drinking Water Licencing Program, under the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Water Services Operational Plan requires council’s endorsement whenever there’s been significant updates made to the MDWLP, like there was in 2017.

Council needs to make sure that our own Water Services meets the requirements of the Drinking Water Quality Management Standard (DWQMS), which includes 21 provisions like quality management, infrastructure maintenance, and emergency management. The current Municipal Drinking Water License for Water Services expires on August 17, but through third-party auditing, our own Water Services has “demonstrated that they have an effective drinking water quality management system and are committed to the provision of safe drinking water, sound operational practices, and continual improvement of the programs and processes that affect the drinking water system.”

The financial plan is currently being developed and will be brought to council in May.

IDE-2019-02 Farm Barn at 2093 Gordon Street: Proposed Removal from Municipal Register of Cultural Heritage Properties – The time may have come to say goodbye to the Weir farm barn, at least in its present form. The barn, which dates back to the 1870s, sits at 2093 Gordon Street, which is presently in the Clair-Maltby Secondary Plan area. The barn is on the City of Guelph’s Municipal Register of Cultural Heritage Properties, but in its present condition it’s unsafe and likely to collapse with a “high wind event.” Staff, with the advice of Heritage Guelph, is recommending that the Senior Heritage Planner come up with a plan to document, disassemble and store the Weir barn until the Clair-Maltby planning process is complete.

IDE-2019-05 Sign By-law Variances: 160 Chancellors Way – The Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health Unit is asking for a sign bylaw variance for three new, illuminated signs that will reveal the location of Public Health, direct people to the main entrance, and direct deliveries to the receiving entrance. Sign options are limited for General I.2 and Specialized I.2-1 zones, but because of the import of Public Health, and because there’s no negative impact on the streetscape or driver and pedestrian visibility, staff suggests that committee allow the variances.

IDE-2019-06 Sign By-law Variances: 32 Clair Road East – A gas station is coming to the south end, and if you think this is a mirage, the GSP Group has submitted a sign bylaw variance for two new signs for their new gas station and car wash at 32 Clair Road East. One sign is an illuminated freestanding sign, and an illuminated building sign. Staff is approving the variance because the limited space on the site, and because there will be no negative effect on the streetscape.

IDE-2019-01 Comprehensive Zoning Bylaw Review: Project Initiation – The long-awaited zoning bylaw review will begin this year starting with this laying out of the scope and mission of the review, and what it hopes to accomplish. The scope calls for two rounds of community engagement before the first and final draft document, it will respond to previous council directions like the driveway width issue and trails along flood plains, and it will review the current zoning trends, and issues specific to Guelph.

What will the bylaw review not cover? There will be no review of the downtown zones, and no exploration of inclusionary zones (a caveat to include affordable housing in a development of 10 units or more). The review will also not look at the change of zoning to specific properties.

The first draft of the new zoning bylaw document and the Official Plan amendment is scheduled to come back sometime between the last quarter or 2019 and the second quarter of 2020; the final bylaw could be voted on sometime around the end 2020 or early 2021.

IDE-2019-13 Red Light Camera Program Review – No red light cameras. Council asked staff to come back with a report about the viability of red light cameras to increase safety on the streets of Guelph, but staff are recommending not to proceed with red light cameras, and instead fund the Community Road Safety Program to look for other mitigation measures.

Why? Staff noted that while red light cameras mitigate right angle collisions by 25 per cent, they actually increase the number of rear-end collisions by 15 per cent. In Guelph, staff say that the total number of collisions can be reduced by 1.5 per cent, and that the number of red light violations in the city are rare as compared to other municipalities. In other words, the cost is not worth the expense for all the good it will do. Meanwhile, the bigger traffic concerns are speeding in residential areas and school zones, on-street parking and heavy truck traffic.

Bill 66, Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness: City of Guelph Response – In December, the Government of Ontario announced the controversial Bill 66, an omnibus bill that will affect numerous pieces of legislation including the Clean Water Act, Great Lakes Protection Act, the Greenbelt Act, and Lake Simcoe Protection Act. Basically, the bill will ease regulation on approving new construction, and move to limit public participation. Mayor Cam Guthrie has already gone on the record to voice his opposition to the bill. The full report on this topic will be released with the consolidated agenda next Friday.

PS-2019-01 Parkland Dedication By-law – As you may or may not know, the Planning Act allows for a municipality to request for up to two per cent of any land for commercial or industrial purposes, and up to five per cent of all other proposed developments, to be set aside for parkland. The act also allows for an “alternative rate” of one hectare for every 300 units of a proposed development, or a payment that’s the equivalent of one hectare for every 500 units. The bylaw presently being used by the City for the reservation of parkland hasn’t been updated in 30 years.

So what’s in this new bylaw? It will provide clarification in terms of what kind of land will be included in the calculation of parkland; this has been a source of controversy because many people have pointed out that some “parkland” is actually wetlands, or woodland, which doesn’t jibe with what’s typically thought of as acceptable land for a park. The new bylaw will also identify the types of developments exempted from the requirements, a fairer approach in identifying market value on development lands, and coming up with numbers for in lieu funds that are more in line with market values.

One of the bigger changes – literally – is a proposed 20 per cent cap on high density residential development within the downtown boundary, and 10 per cent in the rest of the city. The hope is that this will generate more parkland at a faster rate in developed urban areas in the city, but the 20 per cent cap will be reviewed with the update to the downtown parkland financial model later in 2019.

For mixed-use developments, the City will require the parkland dedication to go by the residential portion in determining the amount of land to set aside for parks. Meanwhile, straight commercial and industrial land will remain at two per cent, and exemptions for education and not-for-profit healthcare facilities remain.

The final piece is the in lieu payment some developers choose over the requisition of land. Staff say that they expect developers to choose payment in lieu given the smaller size of the lands looking to be developed. That payment will be determined by the value of the land on the day before the building permit is issued, or if there’s more than one building permit being issued, then the day before the first permit. The value of the land will be determined as if it were a fully developed, fully serviced block or lot, ready for permits at full market value.

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