It is no secret to anyone who has spent time at City Hall lately that the UDP panel this term is barely functioning. Currently the UDP has only filled 70% of the available slots, with half of the slots for architects sitting empty. In short, most meetings are just barely reaching quorum. This was bound to cause problems, and finally a project, fell victim to this lack of volunteers. While there were 6 of 13 members in attendance, 2 individuals had to recuse themselves due to conflict of interest. At only 4 members, the panel fell out of quorum, losing the ability to render a decision. There was a debate on whether the panel should even provide commentary on the project or move on to the next proposal. The applicant team expressed their interest in the remaining members’ views, as their team had already committed their time to this meeting, and would like to see at least something result from it.
The applicant made a short introduction about the project, commenting that they felt the site presented a good opportunity as it had two angles of opening. They highlighted how the project used townhomes to transition to the nearby single family homes, and as the project falls under the City’s new environmental guidelines, it will be using triple glazing for their windows.
Comments from the four panel members were fairly in sync with each other. The panel expressed their approval of the building’s composition of rental homes, retail use on on Kingsway, and transition to the nearby single family homes. While the main criticism was that the narrow courtyard space (20 feet) is on the small side. However the panel was split on whether the space was adequate, or if it needed more focus to become the central point or gem of the building. One member commented that more could be done to help the the townhomes and courtyard live together. It was expressed that the stairs were a missed opportunity and questioned if a privacy screen was needed. The last to weigh in remarked that the commercial space on Kingsway should be broken into smaller units.
Personally, given the commentary, I feel this project would have easily passed with a couple recommendations. Unfortunately, because of the lack of quorum, the applicant may be forced to repeat this process. Imagine that, in a city with a major rental home shortage, 40 homes might be delayed several months due to red tape, and a lack of people incentivized to volunteer their time.
The proposal is for a 6-storey mixed-use building with a 3-storey townhouse development at the lane, consisting of commercial use at grade;
- 40 secured market rental residential units;
- A floor area of 3,293 sq. m (35,447 sq. ft.);
- A floor space ratio (FSR) of 3.27;
- A height of approximately 18.3 m (60 ft.); and
- 24 parking spaces.
This application is being considered under the Secured Market Rental Housing (Rental 100) Policy.