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75 Dublin St. saga before city council for special meeting (again)

Local residents' association wants city to trade a parking lot on Macdonell Street for the property, then make it a park

City staff is recommending that council reject the latest request for an Official Plan amendment to allow a five-storey apartment/condominium building at 75 Dublin St.

A special council meeting will be held at City Hall Wednesday night on the matter, with presentations from staff and the developer, plus 25 delegates signed up to speak.

A previous application that was turned down is already tied up at the Ontario Municipal Board, as the city, local residents’ association, the Upper Grand District School Board and the developer, Rykur Holdings, battle over a site that that is zoned for four storeys, not the five that Rykur Holdings says it needs in order to make its development financially viable.

The Guelph Old City Residents’ Association (GOCRA), which formed specifically in opposition to this proposal, is asking council to turn the property into parkland, by either purchasing the land off the developer or arranging a land swap.

The GOCRA has proposed offering what is currently a city parking lot at 34 Macdonell St. (spanning  Macdonell and Cork streets) to the developer in exchange for his land.

That lot has previously been identified by city consultants for future development.

“GOCRA would like to see Council navigate a creative solution which would result in a win for everyone concerned. This could take the form of a land swap for part of the City-owned property at 34 Macdonell St., or an offer to purchase the property by the City,” says a report sent by the neighbours to council and the media.

They also point to a city parkland reserve fund that could be used to purchase the land and then make it into a park that would be utilized by the neighbourhood and adjoining Central Public School.

Rykur Holdings made its first application for the property in 2016, an application fast-tracked through the development process to try and take advantage of a federal affordable housing grant.

At Wednesday’s meeting the developer will once again stress the affordable housing element of the development in arguing why council should not reject the application.

Wednesday’s meeting begins at 6 p.m.