Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Kanata School land zoning issue is deferred once again, set to return for March 21st session

Councillor Barry Cunningham perhaps has the best perception as to how the Kanata land zoning issue is being handled of late, noting for Council that he's growing weary of talking about the same things over and over again.

The Councillor's frustrations of Monday night showed through a number of times, particularly as he wondered why Council continues to talk process on the issue and basically spins its wheels on a topic that has now been delayed by over three months from the last time Council addressed the zoning debate.

"We've already had one meeting with the developer, I would suggest that between now and the next meeting we sit down with him and get this straightened out, so he knows where we're coming from and we know where he's coming from. I thought this had been cleared up but I guess it hasn't ... If the developer is still interested and wants to do this we sit down with him and have a discussion so that at the next meeting we're all on the same page" --- Councillor Barry Cunningham outlining his frustrations on the Kanata Land zoning issue of Monday night.

At Monday's meeting, Council reviewed its options one more time on a zoning bylaw for the land that the School District is anxious to see zoned so they can complete their deal with the Bryton Group for purchase of the large parcel of land in the Crestview neighbourhood.

However as Monday highlighted what Council desires for development and what the proponent of the housing development is offering, are clearly far apart and from that gap the prospect of a full rejection of the zoning plan still looms large.

After a short report (see here) from City Planner Zeno Krekic on the past history of the proposed development Council rambled through a one hour discussion of the topic, covering a lot of the same territory over and over again as they struggled to come to an agreement on the best course forward for the housing development.

While concerns over a proposed road through the development appear to have been resolved to the city's satisfaction, density issues are proving to be the major stumbling block. With many Council members expressing their concerns Monday over having too large a population base in place, mainly through the use of a number of blocks of apartments that could make up the development.

That was a theme that Councillor Thorkelson was particularly concerned about, expressing her hesitations over creating a ghetto effect for the area in question, noting that she agrees with the concept of densification but would prefer to see a mixed use neighbourhood developed.

"I agree with densification but I don't agree with having a Chicago, so I have stated my position that if we have some single family dwellings mixed with smaller apartments ... we would create some kind of a nice development"

"I think we should defeat this motion I think that would be cleanest and if the proponent wants to come back and put in another development then we could have another discussion then and see if we can come up with something that we can all support."

This area should have some development but we don't need to have this kind of dense development that is going to be dependent on how much LNG traffic we have and will probably leave us with a bunch of empty buildings" -- From a stream of observations by Councillor Joy Thorkelson on the Kanata land zoning issue from Monday evening.

By the time the topic had exhausted itself Council had decided to put any final decision off until the March 21st Council session, seeking to find some form of common ground with the developer on the outstanding issues of density.

To seek that common ground council will set up a meeting with the developer prior to the Council session of the 21st.

Councillor Cunningham's clear frustration at holding meeting after meeting on the issue without any sense of forward momentum should serve as the guiding hand for council on the topic, making sure that when they return to the issue on March 21st that some form of a final decision can be accomplished.

Councillor Mirau noted Monday that the issue is of some importance to the School District, and indeed it is a topic which the School District would clearly would like to be able to move forward on.

The lengthy delays in resolving the zoning issues have made for one of a number of irritants between to the two groups over the last year.

In January the School District expressed its frustration at the glacial pace of consideration on the issue by Council members.

It would seem that adding another couple of weeks to the deliberations along with the prospect of turning down the proposed development could be something that will be of significant concern to School District officials.

The issues related to the Kanata School lands have been one of the longer running topics for this Council, to review some of sessions of the past that reviewed the issue see our preview piece from Monday.

You can review the full discussion from the City's Video Archive it starts at 37 minute mark and carries on through to just after the one hour twenty seven minute mark.

For more items related to Housing see our archive page here, further background on Council developments can be reviewed on our Discussion page archive here.

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