City Council Preview – What’s on the Agenda for the November 8 Meeting?

At every planning meeting, council hears about applications to change the zoning bylaw to allow for the construction of some new project somewhere in the city, and they’re usually looking for some kind of change to the regulations as well like a bigger yard or less parking. But who or what decides what can and can’t be done? That’s the comprehensive zoning bylaw, and this month’s planning meeting is literally all about it.

NOTE #1: Delegates will be able to appear at this meeting via telephone or video, but you do have to register with the clerks office before 10 am on November 5. You can also submit written delegations and correspondences for agenda items.

NOTE #2: The meeting will be closed to the public, though it will be live-streamed on the City of Guelph’s website here.

Comprehensive Zoning Bylaw Review: Phase 3 Public Release of First Draft – For the better part of the last two years, staff have been working on the Comprehensive Zoning Bylaw review, a vital document that has not been updated since the 1990s. Council will vote to receive this report only, a full statutory planning meeting will be held on the new bylaw followed by a final council endorsement sometime next year.

So what about the draft? The Comprehensive Zoning Bylaw is split into six parts and 19 different sections. Part A and B are pretty basic, the former has the legal framework and the interpretation of the zoning rules as well as the establishments of zones and uses, while the latter has the definitions, many of which are changed, updated, or new to the bylaw.

Part C is for regulations that apply to multiple zones, things like swimming pools and fences, and it also covers decks, balconies and accessory buildings and structures. This is also where you get the always controversial parking bylaws, which will feature new accessible parking requirements, provisions for electric vehicles, and new requirements for bike parking on private property.

Obviously though, the biggest and most controversial part of this has to do with driveway widths. You have to dig down to page 86 of the draft to Table 5.9, but it will reveal to you that the maximum driveway width in RL.1 zones is 6.5 metres for single detached dwellings, and 50 per cent of the lot or  5 metres, whichever one is less, for semi-detached dwellings. For townhouses in RL.3 RL.4, RL.5, and RM.6 the driveway width is 3.5 meters or 50 per cent of the lot, whichever is less.

Part D is the land use zones, of which there are 10: residential zones, mixed-use zones, commercial zones, downtown zones, employment zones, institutional zones, open space, golf course and park zones, natural heritage system zone, major utility zone, and urban reserve zones. Each zone gets to determine what can get built where, and each zone has its own regulations about different standards like height, setbacks and yard size.

The last two parts of the bylaw cover the site-specific provisions and zones, which are things like protected views of the Basilica of Our Lady Immaculate, or the regulations covering the Brooklyn and College Hill Heritage Conservation District, and finally, there’st he zoning schedules.

Community feedback will continue in November (which includes delegations at the meeting) and December. You can review the report about the previous phase of public feedback here.

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