In what’s going to be a very busy week at city council – the second-to-last week before summer break – and we’re covering the very consequential matter of the latest review of the Official Plan and the final passage of the latest Official Plan Amendment. Have all the concerns and problems been answered? Is the plan “future ready” enough for council’s high standards? All questions will be answered in a special meeting of council.
NOTE #1: Delegates will be able to appear at this meeting via telephone, but you do have to register with the clerks office before 10 am on Friday July 7. You can also submit written delegations and correspondences for agenda items.
NOTE #2: The meeting will be the open to the public, but if you would like to follow it from home, you will still be live-stream the meeting on the City of Guelph’s website here.
NOTE #3: This meeting is at 1 pm, the scheduled planning meeting for July will take place on Monday July 11 at 6:30 pm as usual.
Decision Report: Shaping Guelph Official Plan Amendment 80 -After being received by city council back in March at the statutory planning meeting, the Official Plan Amendment #80, aka: OPA 80, comes to council for a final vote at a special meeting of council exclusively dedicated to its passing. What’s changed since March? Aside from the usual language and grammatical alternations, there were a couple of serious concerns that needed to be addressed.
One of the big controversies in OPA 80 is the future land use designations for the Rolling Hills area, which is split between two nearly equal camps of those in favour of the changes, and those not in favour of the changes. A consultant was hired to make further refinements to the plan for the natural heritage features in the area, and those restrictions is why areas fronting Victoria Road will continue under the Rolling Hills estate residential designation.
There were also concerns around heritage, particularly the removal of a reference to the Couling Inventory – a list of all buildings in the city built before 1929. Staff say that removing the reference does not reflect any change in policy, or the importance of the list, but there’s no legislative requirement or reporting for the Couling list since it’s strictly a Guelph thing. A review of the Couling Building Inventory is currently underway.
Staff also did further analysis on the potential financial impacts of adding five to 10 per cent more height and density in strategic growth areas, and a high level review found that it’s unlikely that there were would be a significant impact on the financial picture if those adjustments were made. As it says in the report, “the analysis provides confidence that future growth could be accommodated within a moderate range of tax and rate increases.”
Consultations with the Six Nations of the Grand River, Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation and the Metis Nation of Ontario (MNO Region 9 Consultation Committee) resulted in some updated information in the section on Guelph history. There were also some questions around specific properties on George Street and Gordon Street.
Once OPA 80 is approved by council, it will be eligible to be appealed at the Ontario Land Tribunal so it may not go into effect for a couple of years. Also, comments from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing are typically made after the draft of an OPA is submitted, but the ministry said that they would be able to provide comment in time for the deadline, so there could be an update to council about provincial insights sometime in the future.