Planning & Development Committee started the Fall 2017 session off with a buffet of agenda items. The updated agenda (with the Interim Site Alteration/Fill By-law) can be found at:
Here are the highlights of the meeting:
Section 37 “Bonusing” Review Study
The consultant (SGL) presented an overview of how a number of other municipalities handle bonusing – – increased height and/or density in developments in exchange for community benefits, which is often referred to as “Section 37 benefits” as it relates to Section 37 of Ontario’s Planning Act.
Committee members seemed to have a lot of questions and comments on:
- How to avoid public perception of “taking cash and giving away our town”.
- OMB appeals.
- Monetizing the value of the uplift.
- Whether real estate appraisals are needed to determine the value of increased height/density.
- What are the types of community benefits that can be negotiated.
Our favorite question was posed by Committee Chairman Alderman DiFlavio:
“what is good planning?”
The consultant responded:
“your planning staff don’t recommend bad planning”
… and that compatibility, fitting in with the neighbourhood, no overlook, no shadows, would be some examples of considerations.
Although the Official Plan allows for bonusing in some circumstances, it lacks clear direction on implementation and defined benefits. Committee members were consistent in stating that clarity was needed and that the framework should not be rushed and be done correctly.
If Council approves the recommendation on September 18, the consultant will help Planning to formulate an Official Plan and Zoning amendment, with public input, to present to Council to better address the gaps in the Town’s policies and framework.
This is not just a West End issue … stable neighbourhoods in “Old Grimsby” will be ripe for infill intensification with potential for increased height and density as available developable land diminishes.
Stay tuned for a public meeting where more details will be forthcoming.
Interim Site Alteration By-law
Following recent community concerns of fill dumping on Kemp Road properties (see our previous post here), the Director of Building & Enforcement prepared an interim By-Law for consideration. It is quite detailed and can be found in the agenda at this link.
The Director noted:
“Staff are in the process of drafting a comprehensive By-Law in consultation of various stakeholders including Niagara North Federation of Agriculture, Ministry of Environment, Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority and Public Works. Upon the completion of the consultations with the stakeholders a revised By-Law will be presented for adoption by Council.”
“As the result of recent and ongoing fill placement and the Town not having a current Site Alteration By-Law the attached By-Law has been drafted to assist with control of fill placement and removal of fill and or topsoil.
This By-law will require land owners to obtain a Site Alteration Permit for their lands which will be reviewed and monitored through staff to ensure compliance with plan submitted for issuance of the permit.
Upon adoption of the By-Law staff will be in position to address fill placement and require fill placement to be in accordance with plans and specifications for which a permit are granted.”
Committee members raised the question of who will be enforcing the By-Law with the shortage of available Town staff and internal staffing pressures. Town Manager Brandt responded that the permit and fee system will allow for contracting and recovery of some of these enforcement and inspection services.
There are a lot of “exceptions” in the interim by-law and as noted in Town Manager Brandt’s memo.
As well, Mayor Bentley reinforced that there will be public consultation with “stakeholders” and hopes that the media will act as a conduit, but Town Manager Brandt noted there would not be a public meeting…. in other words, the general public has no formal voice in this.
Rather, the digitally-engaged public will be invited to comment via the Town’s Facebook/website, or to contact the Director of Building & Enforcement (John Schonewille).
Once the interim By-Law is approved, it will be in effect immediately. The resolution regarding public consultation with various stakeholders will be presented to Council on September 18 for approval.
8 Lake Street – Public Meeting – Draft Plan of Subdivision
You can read some of the background on this development in our previous post here.
It seems that most concerns previously raised (drainage, grading, Robinson Road reconstruction) will be addressed as part of the site plan approval.
Alderman Johnston did speak on behalf of an abutting resident regarding the issue of compatibility due to the height and size of the redevelopment of the existing home.
Member Finch asked the owner about the potential for further development on adjacent lands, but at this time there is no firm intention.
The recommendations in the report were carried.
387 Mud Street – Removal of Holding Provision
The recommendations in this report were carried.
12 Elizabeth Street – Chiropractor Building Redevelopment and Barber Shop “Refresh”
The existing building will be demolished and a new prefab two storey building will be built. New commercial tenants on the second floor and in the basement may include another chiropractor and possibly other practitioners (doula, osteopath, naturopath).
Member Finch recused himself of this matter due to a potential conflict.
Alderman Johnston strongly suggested that the developer consider installing a sprinkler system.
Member Agnew felt the design of the façade facing the public parking lot at the intersection of Christie and Elizabeth Street lacked “articulation” and should reflect the character and heritage of downtown Grimsby.
The architect was asked to meet with Planning staff to come up with building elements and articulation to enhance the side (south) façade.
The remaining recommendations in the report were carried.
Building Permit Fee Increases
A public meeting will be held at Town Hall on Tuesday, September 26 at 6:00 pm, just prior to the next Planning & Development Committee Meeting.
Apparently Winona Concrete received some news from the Niagara Escarpment Commission following the Coordinated Land Use Review with approval to expand onto an adjoining property. This is a good news story for this company that is a long-standing and vital part of Grimsby’s employment base. More details should be in the forthcoming minutes.
And last but not least the minutes of the 560 North Service Road Public Meeting (LJM additional height proposal to 15 storeys) held on December 13, 2016 has now been included for Planning Committee approval and recommendation to Council.
Next meeting of the Planning & Development Committee meeting is this month, on Tuesday, September 26 at 7:00 pm (preceded by the Building Permit Fee public meeting at 6:00 pm).