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City's new zoning rules face 16 appeals

Among them is the city's partner in the Baker District redevelopment project

New parking-related rules are among the primary targets of 16 appeals filed against the city’s new comprehensive zoning bylaw.

One of those appeals is from the city’s ‘partner’ in the Baker Street redevelopment project, Windmill Development Group, which received site plan approval about a month before the new rules came into play.

“The new requirements cannot be feasibly accommodated in the current design that was subject to extensive planning and consultation with the city, public and interested stakeholders,” states the Windmill appeal. “It is not reasonable to require Windmill to revise the design of the proposed development at this stage of the planning process to accommodate new zoning provisions.”

Each of the appeals seeks to have the zoning bylaw overturned or altered by the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT), a provincially-appointed adjudicator.

Efforts to reach city officials for comment weren’t immediately successful. In the past, city staff have declined to comment on matters under appeal.

The zoning bylaw covers the city as a whole, with area-specific regulations regarding permitted building types, density, land uses and more.

Unanimously approved by council on April 18, the comprehensive zoning bylaw is intended to bring city regulations into compliance with provincial policies, though that’s an assertion several of the appeals challenge.

The bylaw also pre-zoned sites throughout Guelph to maximum height and density as directed in the official plan, allows basement apartments to have three bedrooms (up from two), as well as permit triplexes without special permission being required.

“The new zoning bylaw's transition provisions are inadequate and unreasonably subject the proposed redevelopment of the Baker District lands to new performance standards and parking requirements that cannot be accommodated while implementing the proposed development,” states the Windmill appeal notice, referring to the name of the project.

“Further, the new zoning bylaw overemphasizes the amount and type of parking required for the Baker District lands, which are planned for multi-modal and transit supportive development in the downtown core.”

The Windmill appeal specifically challenges aspects of the bylaw that impact the location of underground parking structures within the former parking lot redevelopment project, the quantity of parking spaces required and the number of accessible parking spaces, as well as the dimensions of compact vehicle spots.

When approved by council in 2020, the Baker Street project was to include two levels of underground parking, with 170 public spots (down from the 275 previously provided by the parking lot) and about 280 private spaces.

In addition, council of the day directed staff to “maximize” the number of public parking spaces available there.

Efforts to confirm with city officials how much parking was approved in the site plan weren’t immediately successful.


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Richard Vivian

About the Author: Richard Vivian

Richard Vivian is an award-winning journalist and longtime Guelph resident. He joined the GuelphToday team as assistant editor in 2020, largely covering municipal matters and general assignment duties
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