‘Prioritize housing’: Public meeting draws duelling perspectives

Town held public meeting on June 17 regarding proposed changes to town’s zoning bylaw in an effort to bring more affordable housing to town

Feedback was mixed on allowing four-plexes and reducing parking minimums in Collingwood during a public meeting on the subject this week.

On June 17 as part of council’s regular meeting, the town held a public meeting to gather feedback concerning changes to the town’s zoning bylaw to allow four dwelling units on residential lots and reducing minimum parking requirements for additional residential units and apartment buildings.

“I got here today without a car. I do my groceries without a car,” said Noah Kachanowicz, who lives in a triplex on Second St., and shared that he and his girlfriend are able to get away with only having one car, which was not an option in other places they’ve lived.

“This proposal is a great opportunity to prioritize housing, decrease traffic and encourage more active transportation in our town.”

To help improve housing affordability, the town is zeroing in on changes to the town’s zoning bylaw, as was recommended through the town’s first-ever affordable housing master plan, completed late last year.

A zoning bylaw controls the use of land in a community. It lays out how land and buildings can be used, where buildings can be located, the types and forms of buildings. The purpose of having a zoning bylaw is to ensure new development is compatible with existing communities.

Changes to Collingwood’s zoning bylaw could include allowing four-plexes on residential lots, reducing or eliminating parking minimums for new development, and changing rules for accessory residential units.

The potential changes were first presented to the public at an affordable housing workshop in May.

Under current town zoning rules, last updated in 2010, three residential units are permitted on one lot (one main unit and two accessory units), and there are no standards for multiplexes. Parking minimums are one space per dwelling unit for an apartment building, plus 0.25 spaces per unit for visitor parking.

For a residential lot, the requirement is two spaces for the main unit, and one space for each accessory unit on the property.

Under the changes being considered, instead the town would require one parking space for each of the first two accessory units on a residential lot, and no additional parking spots for the third unit. For apartments, the minimum would be reduced to 0.5 parking spaces per unit, plus 0.25 spaces per unit for visitor parking.

Colin Inglis asked about the tax assessment of residential properties that choose to add an accessory residential unit.

“The greatest consequence I see in this proposal will be the result of the parking reduction,” said Inglis. “In order for this to be functional, there are two requirements: access to a public transit system… and comprehensive active transportation corridors maintained year-round.”

“Is council willing to mandate those two things?” he asked.

Developer Thom Vincent said he was in favour of the proposed changes.

“Bylaws are created because someone did something wrong, and then we keep it on the books forever,” he said. “We need to look at everything that can help obtain attainable housing.”

Brittany Robertson, president of the Georgian Triangle Development Institute, said the issue of affordable housing is a difficult problem to tackle in Collingwood, and encouraged councillors to be open-minded.

“Collingwood needs a variety of housing types. These units are not for everybody,” she said. “We need to provide a first step for people to get into the housing market.”

“The only negative I see that you are going to face regardless is NIMBYism (not in my backyard) that we face at every turn in this industry,” said Robertson.

Wendy McKenzie shared her frustration having a homeowner with an accessory dwelling unit as her back neighbour.

“I would really like the core of this town left alone,” she said. “The apartment is bigger than the original house was. Before it was built, we never had any flooding. I don’t want us to allow these ancillary units.”

Margaret Mooy shared concerns about an expected uptick in boulevard parking should the town reduce parking requirements.

“The parking on front lawns and boulevards is happening now,” she said. “I’m seeing mature trees come down so residents can park on the boulevard. We’re losing our greenspace.”

No decisions were made during the public meeting. Staff will now prepare a draft zoning bylaw amendment to present to councillors for approval at a later time, taking feedback received during the meeting into account.

Source link

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top