Mt. Hope area construction update

Google Build

Perimeter is hoping to start cleaning up the side streets (Wellington and Moore)  this spring and are hoping for completion around the end of June but the timing will depend on the weather.

By the way, here is a video of the artwork installation from a few weeks back. Click here.

Electrohome Site

The house at 134 Shanley will be demolished and the excavation of both sites (134 and 152) and the installation of shoring and foundation walls will begin early April and last three or four months.  Above grade construction will begin following this and will last for 18 to 24 months. Some of the murals have been removed by the artists and others may find new homes, included alleys. Watch out around the area!

Development updates around MHBP and planning related meetings

On February 7, 2022 there was a meeting of the Planning & Strategic Initiatives Committee. Staff brought forward a recommendation on the 134-152 Shanley Street development in favour of the zoning changes requested by the developer. There were only two delegations who spoke and the proposals were approved unanimously by councillors. Although a vote at a regular council meeting is still required, this effectively allows Shannondale to begin the process of removing contamination so construction can begin.

152 Shanley has been written about many times on this Blog and searching that address will display all posts. For those interested in the Staff package, which includes comments by residents, click on this link.

The main part of the February 7th meeting was taken over by the proposed development in Belmont Village where many delegations were signed up to present. In fact, a second evening was set aside to hear all the delegations. The Record has reported on this development here and here.

Looking ahead:

March 7th at 6 pm

Planning and Strategic Initiatives Committee

Kitchener.ca/meetings – no need to pre-register

On the agenda are the following re-zoning/official plan amendments

  1. King/Pine Street – 25 storey mixed use building (retail/apartments).  In our neighbourhood.
  2. 30 Francis Street – 44 storey mixed use building
  3. 142 Fergus Avenue – 7 storey apartment building
  4. 1525 Bleams Road –  rezoning from agricultural to residential

Crozby:

How many times have you heard people say “I didn’t know that was permitted” in my residential neighbourhood?  The City is proceeding with the implementation of stage 2b of the Crozby review (rezoning changes).  Here is an overview of the changes:  (would apply to infills in Mt. Hope)

  • Allowing 3 units within a single detached house in Residential zones 1 to 5
  • Changes to minimum and maximum driveway and garage widths
  • Requiring new buildings to have similar setbacks/heights to adjacent properties in established residential neighbourhoods

Re Crozby – these changes (2b) were part of the original Crozby recommendation/ changes from December 2019 where Council passed 2a and deferred 2b.  The PSIC meeting on March 9th is a special meeting to formalize the re-zoning on residential zones – none of the items (3 units/minimum lot/driveway/height) should be a surprise.  Council increased the allowable height from 10.5 metres to 11 metres – in our neighbourhood the typical 2 storey with an attic is 10 metres.  So, infill houses, where they tear down and rebuild can be 11 metres … not significant but it will make them higher than the surrounding houses.  So, on March 9th, PSIC will approve them – they will go to Council a couple of weeks later and then be implemented on the bylaws for residential units.

Tuesday, February 22n

4 pm to 7 pm via zoom (staff presentation at 4 pm)

Open House to learn more about these changes

RSVP at crozby@kitchener.ca

 

Wednesday, March 9th at 6 pm

Planning and Strategic Committee Meeting to approve the zoning changes

Kitchener.ca/watch now – no need to pre-register

Development Committee New Year’s “round up”

The inaugural meeting of the 2022 MHBPNA Development Committee was held on January 6th at 7 pm via Zoom and included a review of some of the issues we have addressed throughout 2021.

  1. Ted Parkinson and Kate Pearce, the reps from the MHBPNA, are leaving the Committee.   New Members from the MHBPNA executive are Jorg Broschek and Linda Vandenakker.  Other members include Catherine Owens (Chair), Gordon Hatt, Scott Morris, Tom Hillier, Nik Schmidt, Mark Sisson and Sarah Marsh (ad hoc member).
  2. We have been meeting with City Planning Staff following the our submission outlining various neighbourhood issues including demo practices, building permit practices, RIENS, C of A amongst other issues.  The good news is that we are starting to see some increased attention by the City on a significant number of properties on our tracking list.    A few things of note
    1. Demolition permits – the houses at 91 Louisa and 50 Breithaupt have now been demolished.
    2. Unkempt vacant lots/demolished buildings.  A building permit for the vacant lot at King/Wellington was issued in early December.  The City is also reviewing the vacant site at Weber/Louisa (neighbours think its unsafe).
    3. We have again raised the issue of the boarded up McDonald’s building on King/Moore – Perimeter, who owns the Google site, has also approached the City about the site.
  3. King/Pine – 25 storey apartment build across from the hospital.   A public meeting was held in October and the application for re-zoning will go to the City for approval on Monday, January 10th.
  4. Shannondale has approval from the City to begin the remediation of the Electrohome site in January/February.  Remediation will entail removing all the trees and shoring up the perimeter of the site to ensure there is no impact to neighbouring properties when the soil is removed.
  5. Sacred Heart School.   Sarah Marsh is in discussions with the Polish Congress re future plans.  The intention is to retain the convent building and the historic portions of the school.  Plans are still under development and timing is still under discussion.
  6. Google Build – build is well underway.   Future plans are to include an additional building on the current parking lot.
  7. Station Park.  The first two buildings are well underway.   Three additional buildings are planned.
  8. Transit Hub
    1. The pedestrian passageways under Duke and Waterloo Streets are a go.  Building is expected to commence in late 2022 at which time Duke will be closed to traffic.
    2. Metrolinx has completed its traffic study of the surrounding area.  They have submitted the review to the City. Scott Morris has obtained a copy of the Metrolinx report and will report on it separately.
    3. Sarah Marsh, Scott, Gordon Hatt and Catherine have met with the City Traffic department a number of times to outline neighbourhood concerns re traffic not only due to the Transit Hub but the general increase in traffic due to development – Wellington St. is of particular concern.   Scott will update you separately.
  9. RIENS (Residential Intensification in Established Neighbourhoods). We have  been discussing our concerns with the City re the need to protect “stable neighbourhoods” and the need to raise the profile of RIENS neighbourhoods with the Committee of Adjustment (C of A) and the Building Department etc.  Residential Intensification in Existing Neighbourhoods (RIENS) outlines the specific guidelines for infill/builds/additions in our neighbourhood.
  10. Committee of Adjustment.   We have made a number of recommendations to the City re the composition of the committee and its mandate.   In the meantime Mark Sisson continues to attend C of A meetings and update you monthly.
  11. Cash in lieu of Parkland.   Tom Hillier is managing this on our behalf.  The City’s initiative known as Places and Spaces will be looking at the City’s current practices and evaluating how and where green space is allocated throughout the City.  Tom is encouraging everyone to complete the City’s survey www.engagewr.ca/placesandspaces or to appear before Council when the recommendations are presented for approval.
  12. The City Staff’s recommendations on the “Tree Canopy” project will be presented to the Planning and Strategic Initiatives Committee on Monday, January 10th
  13. Additional Dwelling Units.   Our process improvement suggestions including the need to notify neighbours beyond the current 30 metre radius were included in our memo to the City
  14. Nik Schmidt continues to diligently update our geomapping tool which maps all development in the neighbourhood.   Due to the increased number of large builds immediately adjacent to Mt. Hope/Breithaupt he has expanded the map to include these
  15. Other properties we are tracking

                                                       i.      306 St. Leger – infill

                                                             ii.      102 Waterloo – demolition and infill

                                                           iii.      81 Shanley – demolition and infill

                                        If you have any questions re the role of the Development Committee or any of the info above, feel free to email catherine_owens@sympatico.ca.

2020 AGM in November

The MHBPNA AGM was held on ZOOM on Sunday, November 7. Several members of our community attended in addition to our city councillor Sarah Marsh and Niall Lobley, Director of Parks & Cemeteries, City of Kitchener.

The meeting was chaired by Kate Pearce who also took notes (thanks so much!)

Councillor Marsh provided us with an update on City of Kitchener activities, the Breithaupt Centre (temporarily closed for maintenance)  and the city budget process.

Niall Lobley, Director of Parks & Cemeteries, City of Kitchener spoke about his role and talked about the city’s strategy regarding parkland. Naill was very passionate about his work and the importance of parkland. There were many questions so we had a very engaged discussion for almost an hour. The city’s key initiative right now is the Places and Spaces review. This will have an important role going forward and everyone is invited to fill out their thoughts on the “Engage” poll here:

 https://www.engagewr.ca/placesandspaces

We will be publishing more about that strategy and review on our Blog in the future.

Catherine Owens is chair of the MHBPNA Development Committee and talked about its activity over the past year. The committee has engaged with the City of Kitchener, various developers and many citizens to highlight and organize our concerns about “all things development” in our area.

For an overview of the committee and some of the work they have done, please see our website:   http://www.mhbpna.org/development-committee/

Kate Pearce talked about our engagement with the Downtown Neighbourhood Alliance (DNA) which meets regularly and would like input on programming (ideas, activities, leaders).

A Year in Review was provided by Kate and Ted Parkinson.

These pandemic times have stopped many of our typical activities like the soccer program and the Duke St. West Music Fest.

– Photo contest. We had several entries and some winners were given $25 gift cards for neighbourhood food businesses. We will be using the photos for our Blog and elsewhere

–Play Music on Your Porch Day. MHBPNA advertised this event on our Facebook page and website and we have a blog article about it here: http://www.mhbpna.org/2021/09/14/international-play-music-on-a-porch-day-2021/

Financial update: We still have plenty of money in the bank for small events like our “mini grant” program. In fact, our Mini Grant program is ongoing and you can read about it here:

http://www.mhbpna.org/grants/

Board Of Directors

We had people move on and new folks join our board. As a reminder, anyone living in the MHBP area is welcome to attend any of our meetings and we post them on Facebook and our website.

Our current board is:

Ted Parkinson (Communications)

Emily Slofstra (Treasurer)

Members: Erin Nespoli, ​​Jörg Broschek, Linda Vandenakker, Katie Lefler, Kimberley Gauld and Levi Oakey.

If you have any ideas about what we could be doing, please contact us at mhbpna@gmail.com

If you have ideas we can publicize what you are doing and can even supply a “mini grant” to help you buy food and/or supplies.

2021 Annual General Meeting, Nov. 7 2-4 pm

We are one week away from our Annual General Meeting
(Sunday November 7, 2:00-4:00pm) online.
Send MHBPNA@gmail.com a note to receive the Zoom link.
This year we will be joined by City of Kitchener Staff who will share a presentation about the Spaces & Places review. If you are interested in learning more about this and its connection to our parks and green spaces, join us!
Other items on the Agenda:
– Treasurer’s Report
– Year in Summary
– Call for Board Nominations
Available Board Positions:
Co-Chairs
Partnerships
Programming
Secretary
Special Events
Member-at-Large
Send MHBPNA@gmail.com a note to receive the Zoom link.

Music, Porches, Aug 28th, 2021

NEWS FLASH!

MHBPNA is looking forward to Saturday, Aug 28th. If you are in our neighbourhood, let us put your event on the schedule. And on Saturday, take a photo of a performance and send it to mhbpna@gmail.com, we will give you a $25 gift card from a local food business. Music and Food!

Saturday, August 28 is international Play Music on a Porch Day!

It’s simple: get out an instrument, or some friends to sing along, and play some music!

MHBPNA is going to make a schedule of everyone playing in our neighbourhood! We will post it on our website and advertise where the good times will be taking place.

If you would like to participate, please contact us. Our email is mhbpna@gmail.com or send us a message on our Facebook page.

Walkabout, Aug 17, check out the site for “The Shanley”

Join us for a Walkabout of the Electrohome development site – August 17th

You are invited to join Sarah Marsh, some of the Shannondale crew (the developer) and City Staff for a Walkabout of the Electrohome site.

Time – anytime between 10 and 11:30 am

Date – Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Location – 134-152 Shanley Street

NB – Covid guidelines apply

It’s a great opportunity to get an update on the current status of the plans following the initial public meeting a number of months ago.   We understand that Shannondale has prepared some “storey boards” with additional information on the build in response to some of the questions the neighbours raised at the public meeting.

If you are unable to attend the August 17th “open house”/walkabout, you can email Craig Dumart (the City Planner assigned to the project) – he is more than willing to answer your questions or set up a meeting to discuss the build.   Craig’s contact details are below.

Craig Dumart, BES, MCIP, RPP

Planner | Planning Division | City of Kitchener
(519) 741-2200 ext 7073 | TTY 1-866-969-9994 | craig.dumart@kitchener.ca

152 Shanley Update: are we there yet?

As many neighbours know, the story of 152 Shanley has been long and winding. 

You can read a short history of Electrohome in Kitchener and area, through this website

For decades the site had been vacant and was contaminated by a paint company that had dumped industrial solvent trichloroethylene into the ground.

On this Blog we posted a history of the property in 2013 in two parts. For some helpful background on various efforts to move the development of this site forward (along with cleaning up the contamination), please read Update 1 and Update 2. There are links in those articles to stories that were published in the Record regarding citizens who were actively trying to find resolutions to a building that had been sitting vacant for decades. The building’s reputation was not helped when a few bricks fell off. Along the way, the former owner attempted to run a few businesses out of the site which were illegal given the condition of the building.

The City of Kitchener initiated two tax sales and the rules of each were determined by the Municipal Act which has strict requirements about which bids could be accepted and the price. The price was related to the taxes owing which were over 1 million dollars. In the first sale, none of the bids was high enough and in the second sale the owner paid $455.000 in back taxes to retain control of the building

After the first (failed) tax sale, and in response to constant and growing pressure from residents, MHBPNA and our city councillors (first, Dan Glenn-Graham and then Sarah Marsh) the city of Kitchener organized a design charrette for the property. Over 60 residents attended the charette (held in the main atrium at Kitchener City Hall) and were divided into a number of groups to discuss several questions including what they would like for the site, what they thought would suit the neighbourhood, various design ideas etc. The city had a list of speakers with presentations who talked about the property, the health of the building (and whether or not it would have to be torn down). The size of the lot was also compared with the midtown lofts in an effort to show the number of units that might be required for a profitable development. 

After receiving all the input from the charette, the city created a Vision Statement. It was hoped that creating this “vision” would inspire more interest in the second tax sale and the city did have a number of companies asking questions and requesting information about zoning etc. However, as stated above, the property owner wound up paying a portion of the taxes owing which legally allowed him to retain ownership. But eventually, the property was sold to Shannondale Developments who have engaged the community with public meetings and have sponsored the murals that currently adorn their wooden fence around the site. After sitting idle, and contaminated, for over 30 years, 152 Shanley was demolished and the company is moving ahead with development plans.

The City of Kitchener’s Vision Statement is worth reading since Shannondale’s Planning Justification and Urban Design report contains a two and a half page section on how their development will “implement the vision statement”. 

There is a full set of documents related to Shannondale’s application here

In the past year our neighbourhood, city and communities have been challenged by growth pressures and constant development projects. To understand why many of the large development projects are happening in MHBPNA, we need to consider Official Plans, density targets and the LRT. 

Each region or municipality in Ontario is required to produce an Official Plan. Official plans are intended to establish policies on how land in the community should be used (think of it as what, where, how and when things will grow or be built). Since Waterloo Region is two tiered (Region of Waterloo: upper tier) and the cities of Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo plus the townships (lower tiers) the Region of Waterloo establishes the Regional Official Plan (ROP) from Provincial guidelines and then each lower-tier municipality sets their own Official Plan following these guidelines. You can learn more about the exciting world of Regional Official Plans and associated provincial policies, including the Ontario Planning Act and Places to Grow for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, here. These long term strategies guide decisions impacting our social, economic, heritage and natural environments. “Long term” means that most are asking for 20-30 year timeline. 

We have a history of some remarkable directives being established in our ROP including the Countryside Line. Hold the Line WR describes it as ‘a boundary that protects the cultural, economic and environmental of our rural lands from the pressures of urban sprawl’. The Countryside Line directs development to remain contained within established growth boundaries instead of sprawling endlessly outward consuming all available land. It is important to remember that our governing municipalities (upper and lower) are required to develop Official Plans to guide how our communities grow and develop. By maintaining the Countryside Line we are challenged us to grow Up instead Out. This means that areas of our city have been designated for intensification efforts especially where there are transit systems to support a denser population.

What this means in our MHBP neighbourhood is that we see intensification around the LRT corridor. This is both exciting and challenging for the residents living next door to this growth. Exploring what kinds of intensification are best suited for each site or land plot are important conversations for our residents to engage. We have seen some willingness from developers to include the requests and vision of neighbours into their plans. The development at 152 Shanley demonstrates the challenge of balancing these often conflicting elements.

Official City of Kitchener Stuff:

The City has received an application from a private property owner (Shannondale) who is asking to change the City’s Official Plan and Zoning By-law for the property at 134-152 Shanley Street. Part of the reason the city created the Vision Statement was to show they were flexible with these kinds of applications if the developer was adhering to it.

The application is requesting relief from setbacks, parking and density requirements to permit an 8 storey building, including an internal parking structure, rooftop amenity terrace and a total of 172 residential units.

The factory was 4 floors, but they were higher than a ‘typical’ condo/apartment building. Shannondale’s project (at its highest point) is three metres higher than that proposed in the city’s Vision Statement. However, the design of the building is an improvement from that statement because it ‘steps back’ from the street to appear less invasive and to have a better shade distribution (the documents linked above include extensive shade studies).

Interested residents are invited to attend a ‘virtual’ neighbourhood meeting to discuss the proposed Official Plan and Zoning By-law Amendment applications. The neighbourhood meeting will be held virtually (through Zoom):

Date: Thursday, June 17, 2021

Time: 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

(Presentation to begin at 7:00 pm and will be followed by a question and comment period. Please join the meeting approximately 5 minutes in advance to get set up.)

You can register by the end of day Tuesday, June 15th, 2021 by emailing tara.zhang@kitchener.ca. The city would like you to include your name, email and mailing address with your registration request so that they can confirm attendance. A confirmation email will be sent when you register, and a Zoom link will be sent within 24 hours of the meeting.

Residents can also send comments directly to juliane.vonwesterholt@kitchener.ca 

The original letter says to send comments “hopefully by June 11” but we know the city will accept feedback at any point.