Ten years after it did its last comprehensive review of Guelph’s commercial scene, city hall is gearing up to do another as it also considers a proposed expansion of the commercial floor-space limit for the west end’s main shopping area.
“I think it’s fair to say the retail landscape has changed in Guelph since 2006,” when the city’s last comprehensive commercial review was done, Coun. Cathy Downer said at Monday’s council meeting.
Senior development planned Lindsay Sulatycki responded that the city’s planning department is preparing to do another review soon.
Downer said she doesn’t like “ad hoc” changes to the city’s commercial space limits.
She was speaking at a statutory public meeting Monday where Armel Corp., a major west end land owner and developer, was seeking Official Plan and zoning changes to allow for development of the final phase of the West Hills Plaza, which is anchored by Zehrs. This phase would be at the north end of the plaza, not far from the West End Community Centre.
The mixed-use node of which this property is a part is one of the mixed-use nodes set out in the city’s 2006 commercial policy. The south end’s node near Clair Road and Gordon Street and the north end node of which Walmart is a part are both doing well, while the proposed east end node hasn’t developed as envisioned in 2006.
The west end node includes five parcels of land separated by Elmira Road, with a parcel west of Elmira containing a Costco store.
“We are working diligently on bringing Lowe’s” to land south of Costco, which has already been rezoned to allow the U.S.-based chain of home improvement stores to build a big outlet there, said Wendy Nott, a planning consultant hired by Armel.
The five parcels of land in the Imperial-Elmira node currently have a combined limit of 52,600 square metres (566,000 square feet) of permitted gross floor area, and Armel is seeking a 4,400-square-metre (47,300-sq.-ft.) increase in this limit. All of it would be in the West Hills Plaza, which currently has a limit of 20,851 square metres (224,400 square feet).
Nott called the proposed increase a “relatively minor” change, and she said it was the only change being requested “at this time.”
A study done by Armel, which will be studied by city planning staff, indicates the change wouldn’t adversely affect retailers elsewhere in the city, such as downtown, Nott told council.
Source: Guelph Tribune
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