Last night a general committee we discussed a long standing application; an application that came before Council last term. The application would see 56 purpose-built rentals to be built at 145 and 147 Wellington Street west.
When this application fist came to Council last term, the application was for 64 units, removal of the existing pool and proposed a configuration that would see the new building setback very close to the property to the east, and there would be a decrease in the overall parking to unit ratio parking. This was unacceptable to Council. So, the applicant was asked to work with the residents and staff to correct the significant issues that had been identified.
The applicant came back early in the spring of 2019 with a revised plan that saw some changes that would alleviate some of the concerns – the major one being the loss of the pool. The applicant lowered the amount of units from the original 64 to 56 and retained the pool which many of the residents wanted to see. But even with the changes to the application, there were still concerns; in particular, the issue of parking – what happens during construction to the existing residents from a parking perspective? The area is already pretty congested so availability of on street parking would limited at best.. Council, in the majority, once again told the applicant that we would need to see some concrete steps on how parking issues would be addressed both long term and during construction.
Fast forward to last night and after 2 years of work with residents and staff the proposal before Council saw one that had 56 purpose built rentals, with the highly used pool to stay, the setbacks were increased to give more room and a parking strategy for during the construction was laid out that would see construction vehicles as well as extra spots needed to use the Lutheran church parking 400 m away. The remaining issue of long term parking was also addressed. It was guaranteed in the application that no current resident will lose a parking spot. And the applicant will also be giving all current residents the first opportunity to move into one of the new rentals.
While we would all like to avoid the construction and not have the disruption, Council could not deny the application for that reason. As I said at the table, if Council was to say no to this application it would be appealed and I can say with no uncertainty that the LPAT(the appeals board) would approve this in a heartbeat. And if the application was appealed? the applicant would most likely send in the appeal for the original proposal which would see us lose the pool and back to the 63 units.
This is why Council at General Committee recommended approval of this application on a 5-0 vote in favour. For us to say no – all the work to make this the best possible application would be lost and your tax dollars would be spent fighting a losing battle. Council, staff, and the residents all worked hard to get the best outcome for the area and the Town and Council will continue to ensure through the site plan process that the landscaping will be the best possible as well as the construction mitigation plan will be in place to ensure the least amount of disruption.
This will need to be ratified at Council at the end of the month.