City Council Roundup - August 5th, 2013

From the last meeting's minutes, a few things we didn't write about last time

1. Cash for parking on Water Street

The city agreed to accept a cash payment in lieu of the additional parking spaces  that would normally be required to accommodate the planned expansion of 430-436 Water Street (down in the West End)

2. New takeout spot on Forbes Street

The city approved an application to set up a takeout spot here. As with many St. John's neighbourhoods, this is actually something of a mixed-use area, with both businesses and homes coexisting.

3. More homes in Quidi Vidi (probably)

The old school-house site in Quidi Vidi village (here, roughly) will likely be re-zoned, with the front of the lot being zoned for a 6-unit development, and the back portion as designated open space.

From the August 5th Agenda:

4. Ruby Line Seniors Condos moving ahead

We've seen this pop up a few times - the city is in the process of amending the municipal plan to allow for townhomes and seniors' condos at Ruby Line and Southlands. Nobody objected, so the public meeting was cancelled. Looks like this one is full speed ahead!

5. Rezoning rejection on Maddox Cove Road

After a long process, Council voted to reject an application from four landowners on Maddox Cove Road to rezone their properties to allow for residential development. Falling, as it did, under the auspices of the regional plan as a designated scenic route, this one had to wind its way through the Department of Municipal Affairs as well as the city. In the end, it went out to public consultation and a commissioner's report, which recommended rejection on the grounds that it conflicted with the Municipal Plan's objectives of containing sprawl and avoiding development on unsuitable ground, as well as a number of objectives within the regional plan. The report, although quite long for a small development, is well worth reading if you want to wrap your head around the policy process in St. John's. Available as part of the council agenda here.

 

6.  No Norway for us

In  2000, the city spent about $80,000 setting up a pavilion at an oil-and-gas expo in Stavanger, Norway, which seemed to do quite a bit for our profile within that world. This year, the expo is happening again - but the costs would be closer to $150,000, and the city took a pass. Seems like we're well known enough these days!

7. Immigration is on the radar

The city will be investing in the production of the Conference Board of Canada's City

Magnets III report, which looks at immigration to urban centres - an issue which is getting more and more prominent as we compete for talented people. In the same vein, we'll be working with Citizenship and Immigration Canada on a local immigration partnership (LIP) program, which will be focusing on attracting and retaining newcomers.

8. Snow removal regulations rear their head again

There was more discussion at the committee level about whether or not to require commercial businesses to clear snow from their properties. Once again, the word is no. The logic behind it:

a) The city already has priority routes established for sidewalk clearing. Having other sidewalks cleared by businesses would put pressure on the city to expand their routes to adjacent areas - even if they're not priority. The snow clearing budget can't cover the expansion.

b) Sidewalks are often the only place snow is stored - if businesses had to clear them, the city would need to truck the snow away, and that's costly.

c) Requiring businesses to do the clearing within 24 hours would put public pressure on the city to do the same, which is not feasible with current resources

d) Enforcement staff would be needed, and that's expensive

e) The city would need to do the work themselves for people who didn't comply, then try and recover the costs. This would involve significant resources.

9. Dump site cameras

We've all seen it - piles of garbage dumped in the woods, in fields, wherever. The City will be trying a pilot program of surveillance cameras out at some dumping spots, modeled on the successful program in CBS. We're watching you, litterbugs!

10. Compost progress

There was some talk about whether the City might offer (as many do) composters to residents - the MMSB had offered the chance to bulk buy them at a discount. At the time, the city said no. The word now is to look into the costs and logic of a compost incentives program, and check with MMSB to see where their program is.

 11. Fish farming at Lester's?

Jim Lester has applied to be allowed to set up an aquaculture operation in a greenhouse at their spot on Pearltown Road here. Staff are recommending that this one go to a public hearing, as it would need a zoning amendment  Fish on land!

12.  Senior's Complex at Empire Ave might get bigger

Dobbin Properties already got the go-ahead for one 3-story senior's apartment building around here - they will be asking to be allowed to build 2 additional buildings of the same size on the site. A hearing and a land use report are to come.

13. 10 more homes planned for Bay Bulls Road

BA Tucker Limited is looking for a rezoning to allow 10 houses to be built on this spot on Bay Bulls Road

14. A spot for affordable housing?

The City is applying to itself for a zoning change to allow more density at 163 Blackhead Road for a mixed-use development focused on affordable housing. Neat! This one is headed for a public meeting sometime.

15. Building over the contour lines - the applications are coming in

The city now has 2 applications on the books for new subdivisions in Kilbride that would be entirely above the 124 m contour line (and thus need a new, higher water tank). Staff are recommending a full-on development study of all the available land in Kilbride east of Bay Bulls Road, since there is sure to be more interest.

16. Quidi Vidi zoning plan moving ahead

The City is looking at developing a specific set of zoning rules for Quidi Vidi village, to complement the 2006 Development Plan.  There will be $25,000 set aside for a consultant to get recommendations down and develop a list of historic buildings/landscapes in the area

17. No more Mary Browns on Freshwater

There is a proposal on the table to redevelop the Mary Brown's building at Freshwater and Merrymeeting into a 7-unit townhouse development (which actually fits with the local zoning - the restaurant doesn't).  Staff are recommending approval.

And that's it for today!

Written by Josh Smee at 12:49

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