Developers 2021 Render of a proposed 16-storey building at 651 Queenston Road in Hamilton. The OLT approved 17 stories, with stronger step downs in the design. Credit: HANDOUT / LJM Developments

Image of conceptual rendering for LJM condo development at Nash and Queenston in Hamilton

At Council

Francis Supports Tall Building at Nash & Queenston

Ward 5 Clr Matt Francis is concise when he speaks at Council.

He was very concise when he spoke in favour of a 16-storey 316-unit proposal planned for the northwest corner at Nash and Queenston, where there will an LRT stop.

“I just want to say this is, actually, an appropriate place to put this sort of development where we’ve got higher order transit, where this is an LRT corridor. This is exactly the type of development that should be happening in this location. So I’ve got no issues with this proposal.” [YouTube link]

With the ward councillor in favour of the height and density, what remains is negotiating water and sewage services.

City staff stated, “sanitary servicing is constrained and unable to accommodate the proposed increase in wastewater generation and the existing sanitary sewer system does not have sufficient capacity to accommodate the proposed development.”

I spoke with Francis after Wednesday’s Council meeting to learn more about his land-use planning philosophy.

Read more on TPR to learn why Francis’ does not support the present concept at Eastgate Square nor the proposal for two tall buildings at 2900 King Street East.

At Committee of Adjustment

CoA overrides White Church Road Upgrade Right of Way Allowance

Hamilton City Council plans to upgrade White Church Road in the coming years, but Hamilton’s Committee of Adjustment has other ideas, and is now overriding Council’s direction.

Why? It seems because they can.

The owner of 6105 White Church Road in Glanbrook asked for a severance to transfer land to a neighbouring property for a lot line adjustment.

This is as routine as routine can get.

City staff supported the transfer with the standard legal conditions and subject to a requirement for “approximately ±7.00 metres to be dedicated to the right-of-way on White Church Road, per the Council Approved Rural Official Plan: Schedule C-1 – Future Right-of-Way Dedications.”

The agent for the owner asked if the condition could only be applied to the severed portion of the property.

CoA Chair Dale Smith responded, “I think this is something we deal with on a regular basis whenever there’s additions made to lots and it’s the opportune time for the city to, in a few words, to say a land grab.”
The agent responded, “that would add significant cost” and Smith suggested the CoA take away the condition.

The CoA then voted to overrule Council’s Official Plan without providing any no planning rational. [YouTube link]

Due to the impending Christmas Break, City Council will not meet before the deadline for them to file an appeal to the Ontario Land Tribunal.

Mission Services Variances Approved, NIMBYism is Ugly

The relocation of social services into Ward 3 from Hamilton’s downtown core is sparking concern and opposition from some residents. There are some good faith concerns, and then there is just plain old NIMBYism.

I live in Downtown Hamilton. I see both the need for services and the challenges in our community.

Unfortunately for those with reasonable concerns, it is the NIMBYs who show up to public meetings to make embarrassing statements on behalf of the entire neighbourhood.

The move of the Mission Services men’s shelter to 400 King Street East triggered variances to permit the addition of a single story to a rear building to expand for the creation of transitional housing units.

A few residents attended CoA in opposition.

One asked if Mission Services has a license to provide transitional housing.

Another stated residential care facilities are contributing to Hamilton’s housing shortage.

“It’s no wonder there’s a housing program because so many of the regular homes are turning into social services.”

RCFs have more residents than a typical home does.

“There should be a moratorium on all social housing in Ward Three,” stated another resident.

Another resident suggested allowing a shelter to operate in Ward 3 violates their Section 7 Charter Rights.

Section 7 states, “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.”

I guess they weren’t paying attention in class because Section 7 ensures NIMBY politicians cannot outright ban emergency shelters and housing.

“Right to life” is right there in the text.

Emergency shelters prevent people from dying on the streets.

[The pending Charter challenge against the City’s ban prohibiting outdoor “camping” (encampments) argues the bylaw violates Section 7. We’ll learn and hear much more about this in the coming months.]

The variances were approved.

At the Ontario Land Tribunal

Developers render of the proposed redevelopment of LiUNA's Winona Gardens property at 526 Winona Road
LIUNA Gardens Redevelopment Hearing Set for September 2023

The Ontario Land Tribunal granted three nearby residents and one community group party status in the Fengate LIUNA non-decision appeal for its proposed redevelopment of the Winona LIUNA Gardens on Lake Ontario.

Fengate LIUNA filed non-decision appeals shortly after the 120-day deadline for Council to decide passed for this property and 186 Hunter Street in Downtown Hamilton.

The filing of the non-decision appeal meant there was no public hearing at Council’s Planning Committee for the public to submit comments.

A second Case Management Conference [formerly called pre-hearing] will be held on Friday, March 3, 2023, to confirm the issues list and procedure order.

The OLT is setting aside ten days for the contested hearing on the development beginning on September 18, 2023. The Tribunal will sit on each weekday for two weeks. The dates may be modified at the CMC in March.

Of note, one of the resident parties hired the law firm Turkstra Mazza as counsel. TMA is one of the GGH’s best planning law firms. More info in this story on TPR

SDUs Must Meet Requirements, OLT Says No To SDU Above Car Garage

The OLT agreed with City of Hamilton planning staff that a proposed two-storey structure with ground-level two car garage and a second level Secondary Dwelling Unit at 173 Homewood Avenue is not good planning and should not be approved.

The SDU was denied at Committee of Adjustment because of a lack of setbacks and too narrow of an access path between houses for emergency services response.

Files in Progress

Lime Ridge Mall Redevelopment

City staff are reviewing the Site Plan submission by Cadillac Fairview to “introduce new residential uses to the northern portion of the subject site” – the plan presented this past summer to the City’s Design Review Panel for two 12-storey residential rental buildings.

Staff met with CF and its agents on December 14 to discuss the submission.

1107 Main Street West

Site Plan submission review is underway, following Council’s zoning approval in spring to allow 15 storey mixed-use building containing 265 units, 563 sq. m. of commercial retail and 189 parking spaces. The tenure will be condo. City staff and the development met on December 7.

60 Caledon Avenue

Much-needed mixed-income and affordable units planned by Hamilton East Kiwanis Non-Profit Homes Inc. (HEK) and Victoria Park Community Homes are moving forward in the Site Plan approval process.

The staff review meeting with the developers occurred on November 23.

Now, the partners await the federal and provincial governments to sort out financing for the project.

The federal government a new $500-million funding round for its Rapid Housing Initiative on November 10.

On November 16, during her inaugural speech, Mayor Andrea Horwath said these funds “means resources to quickly build new units will be arriving soon.”

Mayor Horwath and regional federal cabinet Minister Filomena Tassi enjoy a good working relationship.

This project is a top candidate for quick funding.