Can’t say I enjoyed the PLUC meeting this morning – I’m also not feeling well today, so that didn’t help. I did find it amusing though that staff were chatting amongst themselves beforehand about how they thought it would be a quick one. Council sure proved them wrong (1.5 hours) despite the short agenda. I even tweeted at one point:
So what happened this morning? Here is the video if so inclined.
The consent agenda was driven by Mayor Helps and included the Heritage Designation Applications associated with Capital Park, the Development Variance Permit for 821-27 Broughton Street to reduce parking for a dentists office and a Heritage Designation Application for 624 Battery Street. My only issue with this was the DVP and my issue being, if it can be passed through PLUC with no comment and likely receive no comment at a Public Hearing why the rigamarole?
819 Yates Street – Rezoning
This item for rezoning of an approved 16-storey, mixed use building with ground-floor commercial uses and 209 residential units with associated underground parking prompted a lot of talk about “disappointment” and “sadness” this morning. Such feelings stemming of course from the request for removal of this section of the specific spot zone for this site:
2d) a housing agreement pursuant to Section 905 of the Local Government Act providing for two supported housing units, a minimum of 10% of adaptable housing units in this Zone, and requiring that all housing units in this Zone must be capable of being rented to tenants.
For a building not yet built – that has been in the works since 2007.
Where the staff recommendation has been that:
Committee forward this report to Council and that Council instruct staff to prepare the necessary Zoning Regulation Bylaw Amendment that would authorize the proposed development outlined in Rezoning Application No. 00477 for 819 Yates Street, that first and second reading of the Zoning Regulation Bylaw Amendment be considered by Council and a Public Hearing date be set once the following conditions are met:
- Registration of legal agreements to the satisfaction of staff to ensure that the building remains as a market-rental building for a minimum of ten years and that $100,000 of the public art contribution is reallocated to affordable housing.
The actual motion passed by PLUC was slightly different I think. It was hard to tell because a lot of time was spent this morning with PLUC trying to divvy up (between affordable housing contributions and art contributions) the original amenity contributions (e.g., $200,000 for public art) associated with this building that is still not built after 8 years. While this was all going on I kept watching the developer beside me, he didn’t seem impressed.
Capital Park – Development Permit Application
The purpose of this report was to present Council with information, analysis and recommendations regarding a Development Permit Application for the Capital Park Development in James Bay. A nifty powerpoint was shown by staff but I can’t link it because its not available on the agenda. I have put in a request.
After staff finished their short presentation on construction plans associated with Phase 1 & 2 of Capital park PLUC spent a fair bit of time congratulating themselves and Robert Jawl about how great a project its going to be. Which I’m sure it is. I just wasn’t in the mood this morning. Mayor Helps made up for my lack of excitement.
New Business – Development Summit Next Steps
This report that summarizes staff efforts following a 2014 Development Summit hosted by the City was presented by the two planning and development Directors. There was big excitement and applause this morning about many City efforts since the summit to make for more Excellence in Planning and Land Use since the last summit.
Chief among these is a new Development Tracker that after some internal testing is now live with Rezoning information. The Sustainable Planning and Community Development section of the City website is also now apparently easier to navigate. But I’ll let you be the judge of that. One thing I found curious today is that after hearing about staff efforts to Development signs and notices more “accessible and interesting” I saw this sign on the way home:
The staff recommendation was passed as written:
- Direct staff to host a second Development Summit in June 2015 to report on progress made over the past year, provide a discussion forum for reducing application timelines, receive additional feedback and continue to strengthen relationships among the development industry, Community Association Land Use Committee representatives, Council and staff.
- Direct staff to bring forward feedback and an action plan based on the 2015 Development Summit by August 2015.
- Direct staff to report back quarterly on progress made towards reducing processing times for all types of development applications and building permits.