Ontario Construction News staff writer
Kingston’s planning department is looking for input on potential community benefits for a development proposal for 223 Princess St. (City File Number D14-027-2019).
Staff will be collecting feedback from Aug. 20 to Sept. 10, and compiling comments into a report to be presented to the planning committee on Sept. 17.
“In exchange for height or density that exceeds a property’s zoning permission, municipalities can negotiate community benefits as part of a project’s approvals process,” said Tim Park, manager of development of approvals for the City of Kingston.
“Community benefits are an opportunity for residents to help determine how densification can have a positive impact on the immediate area experiencing the increased height or density.”
The proposed project at 223 Princess St. has yet to be approved by the city and must meet the tests of good planning for a community benefit agreement to be established.
Residents are invited to share their ideas for possible community benefits for 223 Princess St. on Get Involved Kingston until Sept. 10.
The dollar value of the community benefit contribution for this development is estimated to be in the range of $100,000 to $150,000. The city will be asking for suggestions under the following categories, selected from Section 9.5.25 of the Official Plan:
- public art – for example, including art as part of the development or within the general vicinity of the development site that have some significance or relation to the area and its history
- parkland dedication beyond what is already required – for example, allocating additional funding for existing parkland capital improvement projects in nearby parks
- community and open space facilities – for example, day care centres, community centres, recreation facilities or cultural facilities
- improvements to streetscapes and public realm – for example, providing street furniture and/or enhanced landscaping
This is the first in a multi-step process. Staff will collect and assess all suggestions, and will present them to Planning Committee, while making recommendations based on feasibility. council is the approval authority.
If council approve community benefits for 223 Princess St., the specific design details are expected to undergo additional community engagement with residents, the district councillor and interested community groups.
The Ontario Planning Act and the City’s Official Plan provide the parameters for how municipalities may negotiate community benefits.
On July 21, Bill 197 provided several changes to community benefits, re-naming them as Community Benefit Charges. It also included transitional clauses that result in the preceding provisions of Section 37 of the Planning Act being applicable to how community benefits would be determined for 223 Princess St.
Community benefits are finalized through a Council-approved, site-specific amending zoning bylaw that implements a proposed development and a community benefits agreement.