Waterloo City Hall

Mathew McCarthy,Record file photo

WATERLOO — Proposed new zoning rules in Waterloo would more strictly control development in low density residential neighbourhoods.

Trevor Hawkins, manager of applications and implementation at the city, said the proposed rules give existing residents more certainty about the types of development they might see in their neighbourhoods.

“This way council will have a bit more control over where they could focus the more intense low density uses … and put them in specific areas,” he said.

Conflict between existing traditional residential neighbourhoods and new development has been a recurring issue in Waterloo as some residents and politicians push back against dense projects that seem out of place.

Coun. Mark Whaley said the new bylaw could give officials more flexibility to look at whether a development fits with the existing neighbourhood.

“A stacked townhouse might just not fit into the neighbourhood and council, under the new bylaw … there’ll be one-off discretionary decisions,” Whaley said.

Waterloo’s comprehensive zoning bylaw review will bring together its outdated zoning documents and align them with the city’s Official Plan.

A key change would allow the city to cap the number of units in higher density projects in low density areas.

As part of the city’s Official Plan, which regulates where and how much development occurs, developers are permitted 150 bedrooms per hectare.

Developers have being coming in with applications for projects with 150 one-bedroom units, Hawkins said.

That hasn’t been well received by some politicians and residents who feel the scale of the developments doesn’t fit.

New rules would require developers to adhere to the more restrictive of either a cap of 50 units per hectare or 150 bedrooms per hectare in three of nine low-rise residential zones.

“If someone did all one bedroom units they would be caught by the 50 unit limit,” Hawkins said. “Really it would encourage somebody to mix up their building a bit more with a variety of bedrooms so we wouldn’t see these huge yields.”

That rule would apply to three of nine new zones that would allow the highest density development.

The nine would be consolidated from an existing 25 low-residential zones and each would have different allowances, ranging from single-family homes to 12-metre high apartment buildings.

A specific category has been introduced that specifically applies to townhomes.

Residential nine, the highest density zone, allows apartment buildings up to 12 metres in height, triplexes, seniors housing and buildings for spiritual use.

Between now and June 27, discussion papers on aspects of the proposed zoning bylaw will be released. Each will be discussed at public meetings of council and residents can register to speak at those meetings to give feedback.

Coun. Jeff Henry said now is the time for the community to get involved.

“This is about a land use plan for the whole community and everybody in it, not for one sector or one group,” he said. “It allows us to really build the kind of city that we want.”

Several drop-in sessions are also planned at Waterloo City Hall, 101 Regina St. S., in the Neufeld Room on the second floor.

Those sessions are scheduled to run 3:30-5:30 p.m. on March 22, April 5, April 19, May 3, June 7 and June 21.

More details on the proposed bylaw are available at http://www.waterloo.ca/en/business/zoningreview.asp

Source: Waterloo Record

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Posted in: General.
Last Modified: March 17, 2016