DCA Sept Meeting

DCA meeting, September 7, 2011

Present: Don McMaster, Craig Haynes, David Seaborn, Ida Henderson, Michael Hatfield, Maija Kagis, Archie Campbell, Eric Darwin, Charles Akben-Marchand, Mike Powel, Zsofia Orosz

Guests: Mark Barszjewski, Connie Brian, Pat Deacon, Pamela Connolly, Stephanie Strudwick, Pat Shair, Diane Holmes

Minutes of July meeting. Motion to adopt moved by Archie, seconded by Eric. It was noted that some Word documents circulated could not be opened by all.

New agenda items

1) Cousin Edy's Garage; 2) update from safety committee (under public safety); 3) proposed change to City policy on court fees; 4) 62 Bell St (illegal rooming house)

Transportation committee

In June, committee members met with staff about Bronson related to the trial of a road diet. No feedback has been received from traffic dept. manager Mr. Manconi, the pilot is for 2012 summer unless they start reconstructing before. There is a PAC meting on September 22 at 6:30 at Bronson Centre. There is now an artist, Adrian Gollner, in charge of identifying possible locations for art, he would like to meet with the DCA.

O-Train station at Gladstone: council is proceeding with a study of doubling the frequency of the train so more passing tracks are needed at a location close to the planned Gladstone station. At Councilor Hobb’s motion, Council's Transportation Cte will look at the option of actually constructing the station now.

O-Train bikepass and tunnel: the tunnel is in under Somerset, it will be closed up till next year when we are hoping to have the path put in. The preference is for a longer path rather than having extra staircases.

New configuration of Bayview lightrail station: the new alignment of train changed, now it will go under Queen. They also shrunk some of the stations to save money and fit alignment. Diane is organising a meeting with planners to ensure that there is better bike and pedestrian access to downtown around where the train goes underground around Lebreton Flats.

Development committee

Balsam/Rochester: Fanto is proposing 23 3&4 storey townhouses, with rooftop decks, garages. Most of them will face a crescent, 2 will face Balsam. It is advertised as family living but the fear is that kids will end up playing on the crescent. Another concern is that all the townhouses have windows on two ends, they go up to 4 feet from the property line and thus they overlook the neighbour. City is studying the plans, they are disagreeing with the proponent about some elements. The plans are going to Committee of Adjustment next week. DCA has sent a letter already, will resend to planner to reiterate concerns. Moved by David, seconded by Archie.

Booth/Somerset condo: the site is zoned for 5 storeys, they are proposing 7 as it had to be moved back from Booth Street side. They are also seeking reduced setbacks. The units are now smaller and more numerous. There is not enough parking (11 spaces for 55 units, all surface in the back, 2 for Virtucar) so cash in lieu payment will be made. Concerns were raised about the impact of this on local streets. Only surface parking. Site plan application is to be looked at by DCA development cte to get together comments for cte of adjustment which will be circulated electronically.

Chinese Alliance Church expansion on Bell Street: a group of neighbours learned about the plans only via the posted sign – until then they had not heard about this development from the City or the Church. Others further down Bell had received a notice in their mailbox and there were neighbours in attendance at the community meeting organised by the church. Current plans include only underground parking with access to parking off church's parking lot, there are newly added residential units on Bell as part of the recreational centre (another church hall). The neighbours are concerned about the project, particularly the shadowing from the apartment units. It was the DCA that requested that they include residential elements to maintain the
feel of the street, but the proposed 2 3-storey b 34 feet tall buildings (2 apartments on each floor) is not in keeping with the spaceous feeling of the street. The neighbour's preference would be to have a narrower building, pushed back and green space instead of apartments. However it is not clear whether the pedestrian entrance (and consequently the drop off) will be on Bell or if the door in the new building would be only a fire-exit.

This expansion can be viewed as desirable since new recreational space is being built. If the plans are not going ahead, the church might move (would this affect Somerset small businesses?), another church might buy the building or there could be more residential redevelopments. Ultimately, the neighbours and the DCA want the expansion to fit in with the style and architecture of the street. While it is appreciated that revised plans incorporate residential units, the resulting resulting massing of the building overwhelms the street and not in keeping with the neighbouring residents. In addition, it was noted that the developer's rendering did not correctly reflect the height of the proposal so the city should stop the application till the correction has been made. Both the DCA (to be drafted by the development cte) and the residents will share comments before sending it in to the planners.

Soho Italia: nothing new to report, they have applied for rezoning,

Establishing regular meeting dates for development cte: last Wednesday, 5:30, Raw Sugar Cafe

Somerset reconstruction update: West from Preston is advancing well, though it would not meet the target date of September 8. The Chinatown BIA now wants underground wiring for lights, though the price will probably prove prohibitive.

Cousin Eddy's garage

The Safety cte raised concerns (kids sneaking in, old tires, semi-burnt out house), bylaw and Dianes office are now involved. The site has been cleared up, trees cut down, graffiti was removed. They claim that next year they are building on the site.

62-64 Bell Street

The building was destroyed in a 2010 fire. While it had been owner occupied it was reasonable, later it was turned into a rooming house. There are currently people living in upper units illegally, the owner has no permit to run a rooming house. Diane has sent info to staff. Neighbours have to continue to call in complaints to 311 as there had been only a few in the last 3 months. Number of calls were higher prior to the fire. This will be discussed at next problem address meeting, Neighbours should also contact community police officer Andrew Milton

City policy change

The DCA will send a letter to all councilors to oppose the reversal of the city policy that prevents the city from reclaiming legal fees from community groups that take the city to court. Moved by Ida, seconded by David. Ida will circulate the draft.

Councillor's update

Piazza Dante reconstruction is going well, there will be more money for parks: Primrose Park (meeting in mid-October with neighbours), Chaudiere park (separate meeting) and also land to be bought for new parks.

Below grade clearance is on the way from Hydro for the Bambino statues on the corner of Gladstone/Preston, they may go up next year.

Provincial elections

There will be an all candidates' meeting on Sept 21, 7-9:30, at Kent and Florence Chinese Community Service Centre.

The meeting adjourned at 9.