Hamilton Committee of Adjustment for May 28, 2015

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Committee of Adjustment meets Thursday with a big agenda of 27 hearing. There are 3 rural applications, 17 Lower City and Dundas, and 7 Mountain and Suburbs.

I’ve reviewed all the public notices for the hearings and three are of newsworthy note: a hearing on the Beach Strip involving a request to build a basement (basements are not allowed due to flooding risk), an existing industrial building that requires a variance to allow light manufacturing because manufacturing is not a permitted use in industrial zoning (for some odd reason I have yet to understand), and the former Sandbar Tavern is seeking a variance for windows on the upper floor.

I’ll be at Committee of Adjustment and will update this story Thursday evening with the decision.

880 Beach Blvd

The issue of larger homes with basements along Hamilton’s flood vunerable Beach Strip is back in front of Committee of Adjustment as the owner of the property at 880 Beach Blvd is seeking a variance to allow the construction of a three storey home with a basement.

The zoning bylaw along the Beach Strip forbids basements due to the high water table and risk of flooding. Officially the basement is considered a storey of the building as well – meaning the proposal also requires a variance for three storeys where only two storeys is permitted.

Storm surge from heavy winds have flooded the Beach Strip repeatedly in the past, and newer homes which are proposing basements are often such that most of the “basement” level is above ground – which is still not permitted in the bylaw.

The CoA is not entirely consistent in these applications – having allowed some construction with basements in the past few years.

In December, CoA denied a similar request on the same block at 856 Beach Blvd on a 4-2 vote.

The Beach Strip is a Heritage District and the heritage approvals for the new home issued in 2012 expired in mid-2014. I’ve emailed City staff to determine if an extension or new permits are issued.

This hearing is scheduled for 1:35 p.m.

Montgomery Park (Pavilion Building)

The City’s zoning bylaw does not allow for the construction of buildings within parks except for utility and storage purposes.

The City requires a variance from their own zoning rules to rebuild the washroom and storage building at Montgomery Park in East Hamilton bordering the Queenston Traffic Circle.

The new building will include a concession stand.

This hearing is scheduled for 1:50pm.

461 Cumberland Avenue

Hamilton’s Zoning Bylaw does not allow for manufacturing in the existing industrial building on Cumberland near Gage on the west side of the CP rail track.

The owner of the building is seeking a variance to allow for wholesale and manufacturing of medical pillows and mattresses.

I’m interesting to hear from City staff why the Zoning Bylaw does not allow for an industrial building to contain light manufacturing.

193 King Street East – the former Sandbar Tavern

The new owner the former location of the infamous Sandbar Tavern is seeking a variance to allow for large windows on the upper floors of this International Village building.

The International Village is a Heritage Character Zone and windows are only allowed to be up to 40% of the upper floors – in keeping with the character of older mid-rise buildings.

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