Our planning environment is increasingly complex, with multiple planning initiatives and revisions underway at both the Region and the City level. Further, the provincial planning context is frequently shifting. While development applications and planning reports contain much of this context, they can be challenging to work through and may not touch on every relevant aspect.
With the help of a recent School of Planning graduate, I’ve created this planning primer for the 134/152 Shanley development application. Many of the issues covered–most significantly the pending Major Transit Station Area designation and the status of the Cultural Heritage Landscape review–are relevant not only for this development, but for our neighbourhood and other core area neighbourhoods across the Region.
Here are the main points. These points and additional details are in a longer document with references, below. Please note this analysis does not constitute professional planning or legal advice.
Frequently asked planning questions:
- Are municipal official plans and zoning strictly legally binding? No, they are intended to be guiding documents and therefore can be amended as new considerations arise.
- Is the city planning department required to consider an official plan/zoning bylaw amendment by a property owner? Yes.
- Is the planning department required to recommend approval of the zoning change to council? No,but they are required to consider whether the proposed change conforms with the city and higher-level planning official plans and other relevant planning legislation.
- Is City Council required to approve a zoning change? No.
- Does the city presently have any affordable housing requirements? No
- Is the City of Kitchener, and the Region as a whole, meeting their intensification targets? Yes, both have not only met but exceeded their intensification targets.
What planning regulations/legislation are relevant for the proposed development at 134/152 Shanley?
|Policy||Current||Definite in Future||Maybe in Future||Never|
|Major Transit Station Area||N||Y|
|Cultural Heritage Landscape||N||Y|
|“Build to right”||Y||Y|
|PARTs planning area||N|
|Stable residential neighbourhood||Y||Y|
|Additional residential units||Y|
What are the key take-home points?
- The properties at 134/152 Shanley are not now in an MTSA, so LPAT (now OLT) appeals are possible.
- If the City does not issue a decision within 120 days of the original application date (April 30th, 2021, the developer can and may appeal to LPAT/OLT.
- If Council or LPAT approves rezoning of 134 Shanley to medium rise mixed use, the developer can build “to right” to the full height and mass of that zoning.
- Once the new, expanded MTSA boundaries are passed (interactive map), intensification projects in most of our neighbourhood cannot be appealed to LPAT in most circumstances.
- Although recognition as a cultural heritage landscape might provide some protection, our neighbourhood has not been recognized at this time in the Kitchener Official Plan update.
- Designation as a Protected Major Transit Station Area may have the potential to create additional protections, but we are unsure.