6&7 Zoning Application Not Dead Yet


On July 21, 2008, Guelph City Council will consider a report with a recommendation from the Chief Administrative Officer to defer the application by 6 & 7 Developments Limited until September 15 in order to allow time for staff to respond to concerns raised with respect to the proposed development.

A motion to approve the application was defeated at a July 7 meeting with a majority of members of Council voting contrary.  Due to the lateness of the meeting, and the fact that a second application with public delegations was still to be heard, further consideration by Council on the requests for deferral did not occur.  Since Monday night, the City has received considerable community feedback, that the defeat of the approval motion had not actually brought closure to the matter, and did not allow an opportunity for staff to work with the applicant and the community to see if the concerns raised at the meeting could be addressed.

”A deferral of the application would be a consistent approach used by the City in the past to work with the community and a developer to try to resolve issues relating to a complex development proposal, and would accomplish a number of things,”  said Mayor  Karen Farbridge.  “It would respond to numerous deferral requests from the public in order to allow them time to consider this large development proposal, time for City staff to review the concerns expressed by Council and the public, an opportunity for the applicant to respond to many of  these concerns and potentially avoid a long and costly OMB process for all involved.”

The proposed recommendation will call for a deferral over the summer, and a special public meeting to be held on September 15, at which time delegations can be heard by Council on how the numerous matters of concern can be addressed.

A Better Vision for 6&7

The application to expand the Woodlawn/Woolwich (6&7) commercial node failed last evening on a 9-4 vote.  The 6&7 application was a zoning by-law amendment to expand the uses and square footage of the site.  6&7 has proposed a 62,000 sqft expansion of the existing Wal-mart store, with 135,000 sqft of additional retail on the rest of the site.  Currently, most of the site is already zoned for retail (CC-18 zoning).

A number of unanswered questions arose during the presentations – which I think contributed to the outcome of the vote.  Issues included:

  • do the proposed buildings have two “real” stories, or just false height?
  • is the 25% energy reduction (over 2006 building standards) enough to support the Community Energy Plan?
  • will there be a linkage between the Home Depot site?
  • will there be any mixed use in the short-term?
  • will there be an impact on the 5 other grocery stores within a 5 minute drive from the 6&7 corner?

Is there a better way to develop the site?  I believe there is.

The site plan proposed in this application has some merits – greenspace, pedestrian links between buildings, transit transfer area, etc.  But it has shortcomings too – stand-alone drive throughs, no link to Home Depot lands, no mixed use, etc.  So what do we do now?

I sincerely hope that the 6&7 developers come back with another proposal, taking to heart the concerns voiced by the community.   Southern Ontario has many excellent examples of good commercial development – take the best practices and apply them here.

We can avoid an OMB hearing if 6&7 is truly committed to providing Guelph with a model of excellence.

City and Chamber Host Meeting on Capital and Financial Plan

The City of Guelph and the Guelph Chamber of Commerce invite you to attend a discussion on the capital development and financial planning process on Tuesday July 15, at the Italian Canadian Club from 10am to noon.

Guelph has major capital projects planned over the next few years to meet Ontario?s Places to Grow initiative. Along with the residential and business development plans is a financial plan that is in
process. Our City Economic Development department has an employment land strategy to support the growth plans. Representatives from Planning, Finance, and Economic Development will join with Mayor Karen Farbridge to give business an overview of the City plans.

We look forward to meeting with you on July 15th, and to give you the opportunity to discuss how the City of Guelph plans to Move Business Forward in the exciting times ahead.

To register for this event, please contact the Guelph Chamber of Commerce at (519) 822-8081 or email Irene@guelphchamber.com. There is no charge to participate in this event.