Staff are recommending approval of two developments in Ward 2 – the Brock II 22 storey building at Brock/Ontario, and the Saxony 7 storey building (6 floors with a roof top amenity) at Elgin/Blathwayte/Locust.
Both applications will come to the Planning & Development (P&D) Committee on Monday May 14 at 6:30pm. The Saxony item will be heard first, followed by the Brock item.
Read the agenda and related staff reports here: P&D May 14
You do not have to register in advance to speak to the Saxony item, as this portion of the meeting will be a Statutory Public Meeting and delegates will be heard from the floor. However, any pre-registered delegates will be heard first.
Recommendations from the P&D Committee will go to City Council for a final decision on May 22. You can also register to speak at that meeting.
Staff are recommending a modified approval of this project, which calls for one floor of commercial (facing Locust), five floors of residential and a roof top amenity area (which is counted as another floor). There would be 60 residential units with 132 parking spaces (above the required 75 spaces) in three levels of underground parking, accessed from Locust St.
A previous application was submitted in 2015 for 37 units in five storeys (including the roof top amenity area) and received site plan approval along with several variances from the Committee of Adjustment (no Official Plan or Zoning Bylaw amendments were required). A second application came in November 2017 to add two floors and additional units and parking.
Both the indoor areas and the outdoor patio on top of the sixth floor will be located near the corner of Locust Street and Elgin Street in order to mitigate privacy impacts on adjacent residential developments.
Staff are recommending increased setbacks above the 5th and 6th floors abutting Blathwayte Lane and are recommending that balconies within the terraced portions of the fifth and sixth storeys incorporate landscape screening. This is to provide some visual space between the three storey St. Luke’s Close, the two storey townhouses to the north, and the proposed mixed-use building.
There will be terracing along Blathwayte ranging from 2 metres on the fifth and sixth storeys along the north part of the property abutting Blathwayte Lane, and 2.7 metre on the sixth storey along the southern portion. In addition, there will be 3.6 metres of terracing on the fifth and sixth storeys at the northwest corner of the building and 3.6 metres on the sixth storey at the northeast corner.
I prefer a four storey building in this location, as originally proposed. Nevertheless, I am leaning toward supporting the revised project, as it has incorporated several changes suggested by residents and staff to address the concerns raised by the community. The setbacks and screening will help mitigate the impact of the additional two floors, in shadowing and privacy, and reduce the overall bulk of the building.
The project is similar to the 2085 Pine project where residents, staff and the developer worked together to make changes, and several of these (terracing, screening, recessed areas) are also included in the Elgin project. Further, both projects saved heritage buildings – at Pine the building was incorporated into the development; at Elgin the heritage building was moved down the street to Maple Ave. We now have policies in our Official Plan to provide incentives to retain heritage by providing additional square footage on developments.
I also believe it’s important to support mid-rise development to prevent the overintensification we are seeing elsewhere in the downtown, including the 23-storey building recently approved for Brant & James.
That said, I am keeping an open mind till Monday to hear from the community. What’s Your Take? Let me know.
Staff are recommending approval of a 22 storey building at Brock/Ontario that includes 1 storey of rooftop amenity space and ground floor commercial/retail. The revised proposal contains 162 units, 203 parking spaces (meeting the bylaw requirement), as well as an additional entrance/exit onto Elgin.
The proposal will increase the density on this site from a maximum 185 units per hectare to 737 units per hectare. It will be the highest density in the area (see chart).
The project will trigger Section 37 Community Benefits discussions. These benefits are based on a percentage of the increased value of the land due to the additional height/density permissions.Community benefits are negotiated after council has made a decision on an application.
I believe this is excessive density and height for this area, and would support a modified proposal with less of an impact on the immediately surrounding apartments and the single family neighbourhood across the hydro corridor. Though there are similar heights of buildings in the area, they are significantly setback on much larger properties, with greenspace all around that reduces the impact of the building at street level, allows for on-site water absorption, trees and greenspace, and allows breathing room and sunlight around the building.