What's up in your city - May 27th council meeting rundown

Councilchamber

This blog post is the first in what (we hope) will be a weekly series, giving you the rundown of what was discussed in the week's council meeting. We'll be distilling down the council agenda to pull some key points from what can be a long read (this week it ran to 89 pages). If you find this useful, let us know, and we'll keep it going.

A lot of these updates will focus on things coming out of council's committees; a lot of business is done there, and they give us all a heads-up about proposals that will be coming up for a vote at council later (which means there's still time to get engaged if there's something in there that matters to you).

Here's what came down the pipe this week:

1. Nunnery Hill townhouse decision deferred again

A proposal to build 5 townhouses on the south side of Nunnery Hill has been pushed back; there has been opposition voiced by citizens concerned with the loss of a public view and council wants to consult further with the developer (RDG Holdings). 

2. Keeping the door open for Harvey Road Condos

The development committee recommended that council's approval-in-principle for new condos on Harvey Road (across from Tim Horton's) be extended for another year (nothing has yet happened on the site). There are some conditions, though - they have to let the Heritage Committee know what the Long's Hill side will look like, and commit to using a uniform colour of glass

From the The Public Works & Environment Standing Committe

3. Salmon reintroduction idea passed to staff

The Salmonid Association of Eastern NL (SAEN) is advocating the reintroduction of salmon to the Rennies and Virginia Rivers, and the construction of a fish ladder to help that happen. The idea (and request for support) was sent to staff for review.

4. No change to snow removal

The  Committee considered whether to recommend that the city require businesses to clear the snow from sidewalks on their properties. They said no. Here's why (quoted from the Council Agenda)

  • The City has established priority sidewalk clearing routes based on street classification and pedestrian usage. If all businesses are required to clear sidewalks throughout the City, there will be pressure to expand sidewalk clearing routes to areas adjoining the areas cleared by businesses even if these sidewalks are not priorities. Resources are currently not available to expand our sidewalk clearing routes.
  • Sidewalks in many areas of the City are the only practical space available for snow storage both for residents and for City street snow clearing operations. If these sidewalks have to be cleared, it will necessitate an increase in the amount of snow which must be trucked away. Additional resources will be required for this activity.
  • Requiring businesses to clear abutting sidewalks within 24 hours will cause an increase in public pressure for the City to complete its sidewalk clearing routes in a similar time frame which is not possible without additional resources.
  • Enforcement staff would be required to ensure businesses comply with the amended Regulations.
  • For the revised By-Law to be effective in cases where businesses fail to comply, the City would need to complete the clearing work and recover the cost from the business. This will require additional resources (either in-house or contracted).

5.  New bridge for Carnell Drive

The top of Quidi Vidi Lake is getting a shiny new bridge - the Public Works committee recommends one with a decorative handrail.

6. Keeping the racket down from heat pumps/air conditioners/etc

The committee recommended a new regulation that would require these things to be at least 2.4 metres from a property line in a rear yard. They can go in a side yard or closer if they're quieter than 55 decibels measured from the property line.

7. New rules for changeable message signs

These things will now have to stay under 1500 lumens for day and 450 for night, dim automatically when lighting changes, and not be within 30 metres of a residential zone unless the sign stops moving overnight.

8. No ads on benches

The committee said no to an individual who proposed to place benches around the city and bring in money from ads on them (this was an unsolicited submission, not a tender call)

Planning and Housing Committee

9. What's up with the Municipal Plan Review?

The public consultations have been done, but there isn't much to present yet other than the summary of them and the statement of principles. Mary Bishop of CBCL (a consulting firm) is drafting the new plan. There is no schedule given for its release.

10. More changes for the West End of Downtown

The folks who own this building down at 430 Water St want to build a 6 story addition on the back. That means a rezoning and a change to the heigh limitation. They've offered a payment in lieu of parking and a small park on the Water Street side. The committee recommended approval.  There's lots going on in the area - a Steele Hotel is going up just to the east, and the Salvation Army may also be redeveloping its buildings nearby (as far as Happy City knows, they're staying). 

11. A new hotel proposed - for the top of the Atlantic Place Garage

A developer is proposing to put a 3 story hotel (or condos/apartments if that doesn't work out), on top of the existing Atlantic Place parking garage. They plan to cover the garage itself with a screening mesh and add lighting to make the building a little nicer on the eyes. View planes shouldn't be impacted, since the new part won't go any higher than Atlantic Place itself. The committee recommended approval of this one.

12. New condos for Torbay Road

A developer is proposing a 6-story, 88-unity condo building for 315 Torbay Road, with a price range of $250-300K. The committee recommended that it move on to the land use assessment report and public meeting phase. 

13. Townhouses on Forest Road

The committee recommended that 176 Forest Road be rezoned for townhouses. 

14. No Timmy's for Blackmarsh (yet)

Approval of a Tim Horton's drive through at 257-261 Blackmarsh was deferred to check for a traffic study

15. Ladysmith Drive rezoning:  this won't move ahead until a land use assessment is done.

16. St. Luke's home: this will be getting rezoned to allow for future expansion.

From the Finance Committee

17. Support for local artists to go to the Venice Biennale

The Committee recommended approval of $10,000.00 to the Terra Nova Art Foundation, $6,000.00 of which would be to procure the art series as part of the city's art portfolio and the remaining $4,000.00 to explore possibilities for promotion of the City at the 2013 Venice Biennale.

18. Money for conferences & events:  The committee recommended donations of $750-1000 for four conferences being held locally, and $5500 for the NL Darts Association to host national championships and the world cup of darts.

19. Budget bits

The city is $450,000 ahead on snow-clearing costs, thanks to less salt being used. There's also a $1.5 million positive swing on water costs, since Bay Bulls Big Pond costs less to run during this time of year.  Overall, the city is expecting an operating surplus of around $5 million.

Written by Josh Smee at 05:53

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