29 Oak Street – Minor Variance
Council discussed at length the Committee of Adjustment’s (COA) decision to approve a new two-storey building replacing the current home at 29 Oak Street. Planning staff had recommended deferral on the basis that the excavated height of the exposed front-facing three-car garage did not meet compatibility criteria for the heritage style of the 1920’s era neighbourhood.
Planning staff recommended Council approve the $300 fee to appeal the March 7 COA decision to the OMB in order to meet the deadline (20 days). The property owner had made significant changes requested by Planning to meet zoning requirements, and continues to be open to further discussions. Planning staff and the Town Manager felt that if a “satisfactory outcome” on the site plan could not be reached before the hearing date is set, Council would be further advised and approval sought for legal support to proceed with the OMB hearing.
Alderman Berry stated, “why are we arguing within our own committees?”. Alderman DiFlavio expressed strong concerns that the COA members did not follow Planning staff recommendations to defer approval and questioned the decision making ability of the Committee. He put forward that the Planning Committee should be delegated site plan approval, not the Director of Building and By-law Enforcement (for detached dwelling site plans), as per Council’s delegation to COA. Alderman DiFlavio suggested that, “if we are not happy with decisions of the Committee of Adjustment, then maybe the committee needs to be dissolved and new appointments be made”. Both Mayor Bentley and Alderman Berry cautioned that COA is a committee reporting to Council and that they should not be directing COA.
The motion was passed to approve the $300 OMB filing fee, continue discussions with the property owner, and that site plan approval for this property would be delegated to the Planning Committee.
Overall a very spirited discussion evoking “memories of” Council’s recent dissolving of the Grimsby Heritage Committee.
Transit Investigation Committee Update
Alderman Seaborn provided an update from the March 9 Transit Investigation Committee meeting.
The recommendations from the consultant (Dillon Consulting) were discussed as well as the tentative costs. Bringing municipal public transit to Grimsby will be very costly and all avenues and financial incentives to reduce the tax burden need to be carefully investigated before proceeding. We need to have transit in place before the GO train arrives in 2020 if we are to meet Metrolinx’s requirements.
Town Manager Brandt indicated that he has a meeting next week with Lincoln and West Lincoln to discuss inter-municipal transit connections.
Copies of the consultant’s draft final report are available from Town Hall and on the website (currently saved under GEDC but will be moved under Transit) at:
Further updates will be provided to Council and the public most likely in June. Implementation of transit, if supported by Council, would not occur until the fall of 2018 at the earliest.
Aldermen Berry and Wilson both stated that transit needs to be put on the ballot for the upcoming 2018 municipal election – – we’ll see if that actually comes to fruition.