Comment 122590

By Wentworth (registered) | Posted March 19, 2018 at 08:53:35

The revised Downtown Secondary Plan (which is said to respond to comments relating to the Draft Downtown Hamilton Secondary Plan, Zoning By-law, and Tall Buildings Study and Guidelines released in Oct 2017) is slated to be released to the public today.

If you're interested in reviewing the latest iteration of the DSP in person, documents will be available for viewing on the 5th floor of City Hall.

https://www.hamilton.ca/city-planning/pl...

Because new high-density development is still a bit of a novelty in Hamilton (unlike in neighbouring Burlington), the City has not made use of the Planning Act's Section 37 provisions, but it would be inaccurate to suggest that s.37 is the way to ensure that a community is well-planned. It's an added-value item that includes a number of different options and outcomes, with community benefits most typically expressed as public art or parkettes, negotiated by the councillor on an à la carte basis. If increasing access to affordable housing is your goal, s.37 is a pale substitute for inclusionary zoning (which has its own limitations, in part because the definition of "affordable" is indexed to market rents for new development, which reflect increased real estate valuations).

On top of this, s.37 is an imperfect response to reining in density, if only because it is invoked in exchange for green-lit increases in height and density of a development beyond what is permitted under the applicable zoning by-law. In other words, even if you considered s.37 to be an ace up your sleeve, you would only get a chance to play it if a development wanted to blow past the zoning cap (e.g. 30 storeys). And best intentions can go awry. Last summer's OMB appeal of Burlington's Nautique condo showcased s.37 in action. The building's site was zoned for four storeys with an option of eight storeys if s.37 community benefits were included. Last month, the OMB approved it at 26 storeys.

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