By Pauline Kerr
“This has been a long time coming,” said Coun. Maureen Couture, regarding the zoning bylaw amendment application for Smart Centres.
The rezoning will facilitate a mixed-use development consisting of a business park, as well as commercial and residential uses including a retirement home, in several phases. A public meeting was held for this application in July. This is a follow-up meeting, to address some lingering questions regarding transportation. Comments from the Ministry of Transportation were received in November. The MTO did request a holding designation to allow monitoring of future phases.
The rezoning changes from business park special holding and environmental protection zones to expand the range of commercial and residential uses on the land.
The first phase of the development would be a three-storey apartment building containing 45 units. While they are unlikely to be considered “affordable,” the 45 units would add to Kincardine’s overall supply of rental units. As stated in the report presented to council, it is challenging for new apartment developments to offer affordable rental rates without subsidies.
The proposed date of construction remains unknown at this point, but the owners have expressed interest in beginning as soon as possible.
The location of the apartment building is adjacent to Millennium Way, a private street between Sobeys and the Marriott Hotel. Millennium Way will be further extended.
A substantial portion of the entire site is earmarked for medium- and high-density housing.
The master concept plan for the site is approximately 54.7 acres including a commercial area fronting Highway 21, 11 multi-unit residential buildings in the middle of the site and a retirement home on the eastern portion of the site. County planner Daniel Kingsbury said the new mixed-use designation does permit stand-alone residential uses.
The proposed zoning bylaw amendment implements the objectives of the mixed-use policies of the business park designation in the municipality’s new Official Plan. The designation permits a mix of commercial, residential and office use in an integrated and cohesive manner.
There was some discussion on the capacity of municipal services for the development. The trunk sewer and watermain are already in place.
Couture commented, “I can’t believe how long this has taken – I’m very glad to see it brought forward.”
“With the announcement of the MTO upgrades at Highway 21 intersections earlier this fall, council was pleased to approve the Smart Centres zoning amendment, as this will open up additional lands for development east of Highway 21,” said Mayor Gerry Glover.
“The municipality has invested heavily in water and sewer infrastructure upgrades over the past few years to service these lands, so it’s exciting to see development proposals moving ahead.”