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.

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6 thoughts on “A Better Vision for 6&7

  1. How much of that land do YOU own?

    How much right do you REALLY have to tell the landowner what he can do with his property?

  2. Municipalities have legislative authority for planning and development within their boundaries. I know that you disagree that they should have this right, as you have previously voiced your disdain for the planning profession. I respect your right to that opinion, but I do not share it.

    As a city councillor, I believe I have a responsibility to:
    a) protect the quality of life of its residents,
    b) ensure development serves the best long-term interests of the community (environment, economy, health, etc.)
    c) support the economic well-being of the city,
    d) reflect the values and views of its citizens.

    The application — in its current form — does none of the above. Perhaps a future modified version will. I hope so. Believe it or not, I would like to see that corner developed (properly) as much as everyone else. A little more effort/vision by 6&7 could make that happen.

  3. Fine then, I don’t like the way you use your property. So why don’t I just rezone it commercial and put in an adult toy store, a rub and tug and a strip club. How would you like that?

  4. Mike, you are a Libertarian, and I can disagree with you even as I appreciate that philosophy. I am myself a ‘small-l’ libertarian in so far as I believe I have a right to my own views and actions provided they do not significantly infringe upon those very same rights in others. How you define ‘significantly’ is open to debate, and is, in part, what informs and defines ‘public-interest’.

    Leanne voted down the application because she weighed the merits and liabilities of the application against the public interests her constituency voted her in to represent to the municipality. She certainly represented my own views effectively.

    Why do you believe you should be able to do or build anything you what without consideration for others?

  5. Because, in the event one of these “externalities” should arise we have (and if we don’t we should improve) a civil judicial system designed to settle such disputes.

    Zoning and planning, in my opinion, are to pre-empt such externalities. However, you can’t prevent everything and then the question becomes where do you draw the line between what you TRY to prevent and what you allow to happen. THEN the question becomes who draws the line. THEN where did WHO get the authority to answer these questions. It’s too much.

    I trust people as a whole, most politicians don’t

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