City Council Roundup - September 3rd and 10th

Hello Happy Citizens!

 A double-header of a roundup for you today. Busy times in our shop, and we got behind!

 From the September 3rd meeting:

  1. Matching reality in Shea Heights: A small area of Shea Heights, around Beaver Pond, is being rezoned for residential development. There are already houses there, in fact, which don't conform to the existing zoning - since those aren't going anywhere, the zoning change will make life easier for everyone.
  2. More expansion for the west end of downtown: The necessary amendments were approved to allow for a 6-floor addition to the building on Water St. West that now houses Stantec. This one's getting build without added parking - they're paying into a fund instead.
  3. House to office on Oxen Pond Road - It looks like this house (http://goo.gl/maps/CtS4n) will be getting converted into offices for Don Cherry's restaurant next door
  4. A new model for affordable housing: The City is pursuing a zoning change for 163 Blackhead Road, to allow it to be developed for housing. They're proposing a model that's a bit uncommon here: the city, as owners of the land, would issue a request for proposals and pick one based not on the highest bidding price, but instead on the city's goal of securing a mix of housing types and affordable units. This also involves the city applying to itself for a zoning change. Neat!
  5. Art! The city's Art Procurement Jury submitted their recommendations for how to spend their $20,000 annual budget, and also recommended that Council consider increasing the annual Art Procurement budget by $5,000 per year over the next four years.  They also recommended that Council additionally consider increasing the Art Procurement budget by $100,000 over three years, specifically to acquire art for the new St. John's Convention Centre. Finally, they recommended that the city work with a curator to organize an annual exhibition of the art in its collection. Those recommendations are going to Finance Committee for a think

From the September 9th meeting

Movement at the Virginia Park Plaza: The now-empty plaza on Newfoundland Drive is headed towards redevelopment as condos, with a small commercial/office building attached. There's some rezoning needed first. Staff are recommending approval, but planning staff note that to fit with past practice, it might make sense to head to a public meeting chaired by a council member. Once a rezoning happens, the city loses some ability to influence the shape of the project, and there are some local concerns about things like parking.  There was some heated debate about this one at the council, but it looks like the decision will be deferred.  One thing that did come out of the meeting: a notice of motion to make public consultations mandatory, so that council doesn't need to debate these sort of case-by-case consultation questions.  

  1. It's infill time: staff are also recommending the approval of an infill house at 52 Pennywell Road.
  2. Keeping up with the zoneses: A developer is looking to build a new infill development at 12-20 Mt. Cashel Road. This would be a 27-unit development with an internal road maintained by the condo. The alternative would likely be a few large houses with deep lots, so this would bring some density to the area. It does, however, make for an awkward fit with the existing zoning - so the City directed staff to design a new zoning category that would fit it. That has now been done, and the project is set to move forward. 
Written by Happy City at 08:34

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