Staff are recommending the follow Community Benefits be approved, arising from extra height and density granted by council (6-1) for the 22-storey building at Brock and Ontario. Community benefits may be in the form of a financial contribution (direct benefit) or indirect benefits (facilities, services, or installations built or provided by the developer, at their expense, which are accessible by and/or beneficial to the general community):
- $600,000: financial contribution to the Region of Halton for use against purchasing up to 6 dwelling units in the subject building. Alternatively, should the Region opt not to purchase units in the subject building, or should the building tenure change to a corporate ownership (i.e. for rental purposes) the applicant would provide the Region with a $600,000 financial contribution to be held in trust until such time the Region attributes it towards affordable, assisted, and/or supportive housing opportunities within the Urban Growth Centre.
- $140,000: financial contribution to be held in reserve funds and allocated to: downtown Transit Terminal improvements ($25,000), active transportation, cycling and pedestrian improvements at the Elgin promenade or hydro corridor ($20,000), Brock Park or Spencer Smith Park improvements ($45,000); park facility improvements, including fitness stations, pedestrian furniture, etc. for the future bicycle walking path along the hydro corridor ($50,000).
- $10,000: financial contribution to be gifted to the Friends of the Freeman Station;
- $300,000: indirect community benefits in which the developer agrees to implement green technology and sustainable architecture elements in accordance with either LEED certification standards and/or compliance with the City’s Sustainable Building and Development guidelines.
The combined total of the proposed community benefits as outlined above is $1,050,000.00.
The proposal heads to committee Sept. 11, with a final recommendation heading to council Sept. 24.
About Section 37 Community Benefits
Section 2.3.2 of the in-effect existing Official Plan sets out that “community benefit provisions pursuant to Section 37 of the Planning Act may be used by the City in the Zoning By-law to allow increases in height and density of development beyond those permitted by the Zoning By-law in exchange for facilities, services, or matters of public benefit as are set out in the Community Benefits section of the implementing Zoning By-law.” The city follows a protocol for securing benefits, outlined below.
Protocol for securing Section 37 Community Benefits under the Planning Act
On April 10, 2012, Council approved a Protocol for the Provision of Community Benefits in association with approvals for developments that seek to increase height and/or density as permitted by section 37 of the Planning Act. The Protocol contains the following policies, among others:
- The City will consider the provision of community benefits associated with increases in height and/or density pursuant to Section 37 in the urban area with special regard for areas that are deemed to be suitable candidates for intensification (1.1).
- The normal tests of good planning practice must be met in all applications approved by Council for Official Plan and Zoning By-law amendments, including those involving the provision of community benefits (2.1).
- The community benefits are to be secured in an agreement registered on title pursuant to Section 37 of the Planning Act (2.2).
- There is a location or functional connection between the development proposed and the facilities, services, or other benefit being required under the Section 37 Agreement (2.3).
- Under no circumstances will a community benefits provision be considered where an application or any particular elements of an application has not been determined to be acceptable in terms of good planning practice (2.4).
- In accordance with Section 37, eligible community benefits will be identified in the Official Plan (2.5).
- The increased value of the land resulting from the height and/or density increase will be determined through the appraisal of increased value, prepared by the City or on the City’s behalf and to its satisfaction (4.3).
- Prior to the approval of the Official Plan and/or Zoning By-law amendment, the owner shall execute the Section 37 Agreement securing the community benefits in consultation with City staff. The Agreement shall be registered against the title of the subject lands (5.1).
- The Ward Councillor be consulted by staff prior to any negotiations with the applicant (5.9).
My Take: I did not support the mayor’s motion for extra height and density granted for the Brock/Ontario building Regarding the specific items negotiated as Section 37, I support the affordable housing components and the contributions to area parks, trails, transit and Freeman Station. I would convert the $300,000 indirect contribution for LEED certification into a direct benefit toward additional affordable housing. We should not have to negotiate for sustainable building measures; they should be a given, based on our sustainable building guidelines in the Official Plan.