Developer faces criticism from residents, councillors over density, height

Ontario Construction News staff writer

Residents are asking Guelph council to reject a plan for a nine-storey building because of the impact on traffic, environmental concerns and because it could set a precedent for future development.

“We believe it is time for our city to support housing that fits into communities and engages the people living in existing neighbourhoods in the planning process,” Jackie MacKenzie said at a recent public meeting. “Developers and tribunals cannot be the only voice heard when creating our communities.”

guelph site planReid’s Heritage Properties has agreed to community consultations to identify concerns. The builder is requesting official plan and zoning bylaw amendments to:

  • Increase the maximum allowable height to nine storeys
  • Allow a convenience store and micro-brewery or brew pub as additional permitted uses
  • Increase the maximum gross floor area of 10,650 sq. m. from 1,875 sq. m.
  • Increase the maximum gross floor area per unit to 650 sq. m. from 625 square metres
  • Reduce the minimum side yard to seven metres from 16 metres (half of building height).

After the presentation, Councillor Cathy Downer said the development “flies in the face of what the planning documents are meant to do”.

“I hope we see some significant change before it comes back

The plan includes a purpose-built rental building with commercial and office space alongside 98 residential units. However, the building is three storeys over the city’s six-storey limit.

While they agree that affordable housing is needed in the city, residents at the public meeting say removing 200 mature trees to accommodate parking spaces is “unconscionable” because of the loss of habitat for an endangered bat species known to be in the area. Instead, council should require underground parking, one resident suggested.


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