Staircase Minor Variance Application to Waive Parking Requirement

By RTH Staff
Published May 08, 2013

The following article has been posted on The Staircase website and is republished here with permission.

Dear Staircase Supporters,

We need your help to convince the Committee of Adjustments that The Staircase is worthy of being forgiven a few parking spaces so that we can continue to operate as usual.

The Issue

We need to increase the occupancy in The Staircase building, and there is not enough on site parking (according to the city).

The Background

The Staircase has been a responsible member of the Strathcona and Hamilton communities for 15 years. We have operated with a liquor license for ten years.

Recently the AGCO (liquor regulators) informed us that the way we have been calculating occupancy for the last 15 years is no longer allowed. Because of this decision, we need to apply for a change in occupancy so that we can continue to operate the way we have been operating for more than a decade.

Yes, it seems odd, but rules change to make world a safer and healthier place. So while we previously could host a party of 100 in the cafe, the new (to us) interpretation would limit us to 30.

This would put an end to our financial life blood of parties, weddings, funerals (yes, really), product launches, receptions, and so on. We have never had a complaint against us and our patrons have always been thoughtful and considerate to the neighbourhood. As we have said, we have been hosting 100-person parties in the cafe for more than a decade.

We need to change the occupancy to reflect how things have always been. The way we will be using the building will not change. Once this is cleared up, we will again be allowed to use the building the way we have always been using it.

Is your head spinning yet?

The Process

The process is both an AGCO process and Hamilton City process. We have passed our detailed health inspection. We have passed all but the occupancy part of the fire inspection. We are waiting on a letter from the city that tells the AGCO that our occupancy (calculated the new way) is okay.

Once these three parts (fire, health, and building department) are in place, the AGCO will amend our license for occupancy. Our liquor license remains in GOOD standing.

According the calculations, we are short about ten parking spaces. To be forgiven these missing parking spaces, we need to get a minor variance to a bylaw. However, there is no change in the way we use the building, so these missing spots are hypothetical.

How Can You Help?

  1. Sign the petition below.

  2. Write a letter/email ASAP hearing is June 4th, 2013).

  3. Do both 1. and 2.

  4. Help spread the word!

The Letter

In your letter, please take the time to describe how The Staircase is a good thing for Strathcona and Hamilton. Please let them know what you personally have experienced at The Staircase.

Also, let them know how you get to The Staircase. Do you drive solo? Carpool? Get dropped off? Bus? Bike? Walk?

Please include your full name, address, contact information and role in the community.

To our more passionate Staircase supporters, please be polite. :) The variance is a reasonable process to protect the community from being exploited. We have to go through it.

Address it to:

Committee of Adjustment
c/o Scott Baldry
RE: The Staircase Cafe Theatre Minor Variance Application (HM-A-13:75)
71 Main St. West 5th Floor
Hamilton ON L8P 4Y5
Phone 905.546.2424 x4144
Facsimile 905.546.4202
please cc to

The Petition

Go to The Staircase Minor Variance Application page and scroll down to fill in the petition.

Please confirm your email. Only confirmed emails will be counted on this petition.


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[ - ]

By -Hammer- (registered) | Posted May 09, 2013 at 00:55:27


This is the kind of activism I'd like see happen more often on this website. A specific change we want the city to make, for the benefit of the community and using this site to organize such a mailing.

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[ - ]

By Baldry Fan (anonymous) | Posted May 17, 2013 at 01:45:56

Scott Baldry is the smartest civil servant at the city.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted May 17, 2013 at 07:36:49 in reply to Comment 88794

Well we'll see, won't we?

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[ - ]

By Shempatolla (registered) - website | Posted May 17, 2013 at 14:37:35

Sent just now.

To whom it may concern.

My name is Gregory J Galante I am a lifelong Hamilton resident, home owner, business owner and taxpayer. The Staircase Theater is a gem in Hamilton's cultural scene and has been for some time. Granting the variance applied for will show the city's support for entrepreneurism, culture, and livable, walkable neighborhoods. Our city is becoming more urban not less, such a variance is merely cognizant of this fact. Not granting the variance will demonstrate a lack of understanding by the city of what is happening organically in our community, and would cling to an outdated and unrealistic policy in urban planning.

Grant the variance, allow Staircase to continue to flourish and be a part of it, not a deterrence to it.


GJ Galante


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