Activa has proposed two six-storey buildings with a total of 234 units connected through a glass common room for the vacant lot at 30-40 Margaret Avenue.
A Neighbourhood Information Meeting was held Thursday, May 9th, with approximately 60 people in attendance. Resident concerns could be broadly grouped into two categories:
|Site Plan Concerns||Heritage Concerns|
|Preservation of trees |
Storm water and salt run off to Ellen houses
Space for snow accumulation
Loss of on-street parking and increased traffic
Preservation of backyard leisure for Ellen St homes
| Maintaining the cadence and character of the street, and single-family nature of neighbourhood |
Ensuring natural light and reducing the perception of a height difference
Maintaining the existing boulevards and streetscape
Isolation of 54 Margaret
When neighbours met with Activa and MHBC (Activa’s consultant) to discuss some of these concerns, they were told of plans to reduce water run-off from the property below current levels and a fence and tree-replanting plan to create privacy screens.
MHBC was retained by Activa to prepare a Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA). The HIA is an evaluation of the adherence of the development proposal to the Heritage District Plan and the impact on the heritage resources. Heritage Kitchener reviewed the HIA and heard seven neighbourhood submissions at a public meeting on June 4th. MHBC submitted an updated HIA on June 26th and submitted a Heritage Permit Application (HPA), the next step in the process.
The Heritage Planning Staff Report recommends that the HPA be approved and notes three design changes in the revised HIA: a shift of the building three metres away from 54 Margaret (to reduce shadowing and isolating of 54 Margaret), providing operable gates from the “private patios of the ground floor units facing Margaret” to improve the “‘front door’ relationship to the street”, and that the fence along Margaret is to “be composed of a two foot [masonry] base and two foot wrought iron top”. The fence was initially proposed to be five feet high. The Staff Report acknowledges that stepbacks are not proposed, citing that the Heritage District Plan encourages but does not require stepbacks.
The Heritage Kitchener Committee will review the HPA on August 6th and will then make recommendations to Council on whether the Heritage Permit Application should be approved. City Council is scheduled to vote on the approval of the Heritage Permit Application on August 26th.
Activa’s request for an additional 24 units (a maximum of 210 are permitted) and a reduction of 27 parking spaces (a minimum of 266 would be required) is scheduled to be decided at the Committee of Adjustment on August 20th.
The public is welcome to submit new information for Heritage Kitchener’s consideration and to make submissions to the Committee of Adjustment.
Several neighbours were surprised that a building of such height and massing could be contemplated under the Heritage District Plan. The zoning of 30-40 Margaret predates the creation of the Heritage District Plan and was part of a previous vision for the neighbourhood. The extensive heritage district policies and specific guidelines for 30-40 Margaret were created “to ensure that new development maintains the heritage character of the District.”
Thank you to all the neighbours who made submissions and attended meetings to discuss site plan and heritage district plan matters and to the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario for guidance and support. Thank you to Activa and MHBC for the care put into the proposal and for reaching out to the neighbours so generously. It takes a community to protect a community.
More posts on the subject are available here.