Council Decision on 180 Gordon Scheduled for March 5

There has been significant community interest related to the townhouse condominium project proposed for 180 Gordon Street.   The application is scheduled to return to Council for a decision on Monday, March 5th.  A copy of the AGENDA  and PLANNING REPORTS.



2 thoughts on “Council Decision on 180 Gordon Scheduled for March 5

  1. We have great reason to be concerned about this development. Podium Developments proposes to build eleven, four-storey townhouses on this small and sensitive piece of land. If this project is approved, it will (literally and figuratively) overshadow Marianne’s Park with a 40 foot high, 146 foot long building 5 feet from the edge of the park. It would be a good thing to have infill development on this site, but this project is too big. The Developer has asked for very, very significant exemptions to almost every measure the city has to regulate the massing of a large building on a small piece of land. For example, the maximum density for building in the R3A zone (the request for this site) is 37.5 units per hectare. This proposal comes in at 70 units per hectare. The bylaws mandate a minimum landscaped open space of 40% on an R3A lot; this project comes in at 17%. The bylaws protect public space by restricting development on the edge of a public park to an angular plane of 40 degrees rising from the edge of the property. The proposed angular plan for this development is 82 degrees measured from the boundary with Marianne’s Park. In addition, Council is being asked to approve an amendment to the City’s Official Plan so that this development can encroach very significantly on the 30 m buffer at the edge of the Speed River. Establishing that buffer was one of the great achievements of city planning in the last twenty years, and now that is at risk. Elsewhere in the city, Council has directed Developers to have meaningful mediation with concerned citizens in the case of such a controversial development; this developer has refused to respond meaningfully to the concerns raised, or to consider alternatives for development on this site that would mitigate problems such as those listed here. If you are concerned, let Leanne, Lise and the other councillors know before the decision meeting on Monday. You can find their email addresses on the city council website.

    Karen Balcom, Albert Street

  2. Last night’s Council decision approving the 180 Gordon Street development is very unfortunate. With this decision, Council said yes to a Developer who asked for major givebacks on every measure the city has to regulate the massing of a large building on a small and sensitive piece of land. In so doing, Council effectively eviscerated one of the most important measures we have to protect public space. The angular plane bylaw states that development on the edge of a public park is not to rise at an angle of greater than 40 degrees from the edge of a park. For this Development, the City said yes to an angular plane of 82 degrees, and now a four storey building will literally and figuratively overshadow Marianne’s Park. Further, the city is allowing the Developer to encroach on the crucial 30 m vegetative buffer on the edge of the Speed River. The large residential tower downtown that was also discussed at last night’s council meeting is without doubt contentious, but it is worth noting that citizens and business people spoke out on both in favour of and against that Project. In the case of 180 Gordon Street, there was an early (later, on reflection, strongly reversed) positive comment from the Old University Resident’s Association, but since that time all of the delegations and comments to Council – and there have been many — have been in opposition. That opposition spoke in a united voice indicating that while infill on this site was a positive good, this project was too intense and asked for so many exemptions to the bylaws as to make the planning process meaningless. Throughout the process, and continuing to last night’s Council meeting, genuine engagement from the local community was rebuffed by planning staff and by the Developer. A few Councilors — and I must underline that Councilor Piper was one of them — were willing to listen and open space for citizen concern, but this was a small minority position. Speaking as one of neighbourhood organizers, I can only say that for committed citizens the process here was deeply and profoundly alienating. The message I take away is that not one of a granola “Guelph Factor” but, rather, that citizens can speak in the effort to shape intensive development, but they will not be heard as projects move through the process and toward council decision. This is a terrible waste of the city’s greatest resource — the talent and commitment of an engaged citizenry.
    Karen Balcom

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