The Local Planning Appeal Tribunal is overturning the decision of Hamilton City Council to oppose a nine-story mixed used development at 600 James Street North.
In a 37-page ruling released today, the LPAT is approving a nine-storey mixed-use development at 600 James Street North on the northeast corner of the intersection at Burlington Street.
The planned development will have ground-level commercial with 55 residential units on the upper floors.
Ward 2 City Councillor Jason Farr opposed the development, saying it represents over-development at this location and is inappropriate for the neighbourhood.
In approving the development, the LPAT cites Council’s plans for more intensive development with greater height on lands it is selling at Pier 8 and the Jamesville CityHousing complex.
“On the contrary, the City has received and approved other intensification applications in the [West Harbour] Secondary Plan area, including one for 8 storeys on James”, LPAT Member Scott Tousaw writes in favour of the density.
Both the City and developer agreed the existing zoning allows for a five-storey building. The City stated it would have accepted a six-storey development.
The LPAT ruling states “the additional 3 storeys of the building will have a decreasing footprint with height, resulting in a massing and street appearance similar to a 6 or 7 storey building” in approving nine-storeys for the overall height.
In rejecting the application at City Council in September 2019, Farr stated the use of a parking stacker system will be inappropriate for this development. The City submitted to the LPAT that parking stackers are hard to use, unreliable, do not fit large vehicles, and residents will park on street instead of using the system because of the time it takes to retrieve vehicles from the stacker.
LPAT is approving the use of parking-stackers, noting “the City has approved the use of stackers at other developments and such systems will be regulated like elevators by the Technical Standards and Safety Authority”. Farr originally moved the City adopt parking stackers for new developments. He did so as part of the approval of a slender tall building on the Tivoli site at 108 James Street North in 2015.
The City argued at the hearing that even if the LPAT approved the use of a parking stacker, 32 parking spaces for 55 units was not enough parking for the site.
600 James Street North is within walking distance of the West Harbour GO Station, on existing HSR bus routes, and along the planned A-Line rapid transit route.
“This site is a model example involving transit, with the existing City bus service at this intersection, the existing GO Station on James within walking distance, and the City’s intent to enhance the James corridor in future with a rapid transit line from the harbour in the north to the airport in the south”, Tousaw writes.
In response to the City’s position that a parking ratio of 0.58 units per space is too low, Tousaw rules the “rate is comparable to similar sites studied, is similar or higher than recent City approvals, including in this neighbourhood, and reflects the incidence of automobile ownership of apartment dwellers”.
The City of Hamilton is now required to implement the zoning bylaw. The developer must submit their Site Plan Application for review by the City’s planning staff.