City Council Preview – What’s on the Agenda for the December 11 Meeting?

Although it’s technically the last meeting of the year, this is really more of a workshop. Council will get an update on two very important reviews, and then participate in the process by giving staff some feedback and direction.

There will be no public delegations for this meeting since it’s technically a workshop for council members, but it’s still a public meeting of council that members of the public can attend.

Transportation Master Plan – Council will hear from a team lead by Manager of Transportation Planning Jennifer Juste about the progress on the update of the Transportation Master Plan, how they will have to make decisions that align with current policies, and will explore the concept of complete streets. Presently, Juste and the consultants are wrapping up the public engagement portion of the process and are compiling that data, as well as completing the background research on best practices.

The main thrust of this workshop is to explore the idea of complete streets, which is defined as “streets that are designed to be safe for everyone: people who walk, bicycle, take transit, or drive, and people of all ages and abilities.” Current street designs focus on the ease of mobility for automobiles, while complete streets also consider factors such as liveability, the environment, public health and equality of access meaning making room for pedestrians, cyclists and transit as well. Juste will lead council an exercise in exploring the complete streets idea, and how those principles might be applied in Guelph to their best effect.

Comprehensive Zoning Bylaw Review – Abby Watts, the Project Manager for the Comprehensive Zoning Bylaw Review, and Natalie Goss, the Senior Policy Planner, will lead council through the feedback they’ve gotten so far on the review in four key (and contentious) areas: Small residential units, Driveway widths, Parking ratios for multi-unit residential buildings, and Structures in floodways.

Small Residential Units – Feedback gathered so far says that people are in favour of making it easier to create coach houses, garden suites and accessory apartments on properties. Staff is looking to recommend allowing for a maximum of three residential units on one lot, which would include a primary unit plus two accessory units. The proposed changes will also not require there be a parking space for each unit, but staff will be asking for council feedback if there should be a maximum size to accessory units.

Driveway Widths – Staff are leaning towards the idea of leaving the present zoning as it is, but will be getting feedback from council about whether the percentages should change, and what the priorities should be for building better neighbourhoods.

Parking Ratios for multi-unit Residential Buildings – Presently, the existing parking ration is one space per unit plus 0.05 visitor parking spaces per unit downtown, and one space and 0.2 visitor spaces for mixed use and other areas. The current recommendation that staff is looking at would see the visitor spaces be brought down to 0.1 space per unit for mixed use, and an increase to 0.25 spaces per unit for other areas excluding downtown.

Structures in Floodways – This one will hurt specifically for the people looking for a trail under the Speedvale Bridge along the river, but staff will likely be recommending that structures should not be built within floodway areas, and the definition should be updated to match the Ontario Building Code so that the City’s definitions align with the code, the Official Plan, and the standards of the Grand River Conservation Authority.

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