Today's Council meeting will give councillors the chance to ratify a number of important decisions made by committees this week.
By Ryan McGreal
Published August 15, 2014
This has been a busy week for City of Hamilton committees, whose decisions will drop on Council this morning for final approval. You will also be able to watch a live video feed of the meeting, courtesy of Joey Coleman.
Tuesday's Planning Committee meeting was jam-packed with both issues and residents.
Planning Committee accepted the staff recommendation to approve a zoning variance for 467 Charlton Avenue East to build three new apartment buildings on the former site of a bowling alley and taxi depot.
Latest rendering of 467 Charlton development (Image Credit: Lintack Architects)
The plan faces resistence from some local residents in Stinson neighbourhood, who fear the project will impact their view of the Escarpment "green wall" and result in the loss of mature trees and damage to the Escarpment Trail.
However, the newest renderings of the plan, which are based on surveys of the site and measurements of tree heights, indicate that the impact on escarpment views will be subtle and minimal. The report itself maintains that only four trees will be removed and the buildings will not impact the sloped land south of the Trail.
At the same meeting, Councillors agreed with the staff recommendation to reject a plan by Shoppers Drug Mart to build a new suburban-style store at King and Dundurn behind a large off-street parking lot.
Overhead site concept (Image Source: City of Hamilton)
The plan is being driven by property tenant Tim Hortons, which insists on top visibility at the front of the site with a two-lane drive-thru behind it.
Planning Committee agreed that the plan does not meet the city's policy on creating a dense, urban, mixed-use development that supports active transportation and transit.
Planning committee also approved a Heritage permit application by the Hamilton Conservation Authority (HCA) to remove unstable parts of The Hermitage ruins on Sulphur Springs Road.
The HCA still needs to submit a detailed methodology for removing and stabilizing the remains of the for approval by the Director of Planning.
The manor was built in in 1855 by George Gordon Browne Leith but destroyed in 1934 when a fire broke out during a party. Its last owner, Leith's daughter Alma Dick-Lauder, lived in a small wooden house built on the ruins until her death in 1942.
The ruins have stood ever since, and were acquired by the HCA in 1972 as part of the purchase of 120 acres of land in Dundas Valley. They were designated under the Heritage Act in 1990.
They have become progressively more unstable and HCA says it may soon collapse if the remaining walls are not lowered to a "stable height" of 1.5 - 2.5 metres.
Planning committee also voted to approve Ward 2 Councillor Jason Farr's motion to direct planning and economic development staff to work with the Durand Neighbourhood on a Secondary Plan. With a Secondary Plan in place, the City and community can direct new growth to ensure that it supports healthy neighbourhood development.
The Public Works committee also had a busy agenda at its meeting on Thursday.
The City maintains Red Light Cameras at 13 locations. Red Light Cameras automatically photograph cars that enter a signalized intersection after the light has turned red and mail the owner of the car a $325 fine. Last year, the program generated a little over $5 million in revenue after sending out 15,569 tickets.
Public Works committee voted to approve another six locations:
Some of the money from the Red Light Camera fund will go to re-establishing a Strategic Road Safety Program with the goal of reducing the number of fatalities and serious injuries from automobile collisions.
The program will include improving existing pedestrian crossings and adding new ones, reviewing the City's speed limit policy and other initiatives to improve safety.
Hamilton's rate of collisions, injuries and deaths has remained steady for the past decade, and an earlier iteration of the Strategic Road Safety Program was disbanded before it had a chance to make any improvements.
Public Works committee approved a motion to prioritize the two-way conversion of Wentworth Street and Sanford Avenue between Delaware Avenue and King Street, a distance of 500 metres and two blocks.
Wentworth Street, looking north from Delaware
Sanford Avenue, looking north from Main
Committee also aproved prioritizing the two-way conversion of Victoria Avenue from Burlington Street to Barton Street, a distance of one kilometre.
Any two-way conversion is a step in the right direction, but there is no good reason not to convert these streets all the way rather than a couple of blocks at a time.
Public Works committee also approved a motion to close James Street North between King Street and Barton Street and York Boulevard between Bay Street and James Street from Friday, September 12 at 10:00 AM to Monday, September 15 at 1:00 AM.
Map of Supercrawl street closures
It was such a busy week, I'm sure we missed some important issues. Please add them in the comments below.
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