Newmarket Mayor John Taylor has abandoned plans to allow a fourth storey on buildings in the Town’s downtown Heritage Conservation District.
He planned to allow these so long as the additions were set back 15 feet from the street.
Taylor signalled the change of heart at Monday's Committee of the Whole after a short debate on the unlawful demolition of the Simpson building and the negotiated settlement with Bob Forrest’s Main Street Clock Inc. The recommendation will go up to Council for approval next Monday (10 February 2020.)
Taylor told councillors he floated the four storeys proposal years ago as a response to Forrest’s condo plans:
“The (Heritage) Conservation District Plan allows a maximum, I believe, of three storeys and this came about at the time of the Clock Tower application for first nine storeys and then seven storeys. This was I believe actually moved by myself but as a way of suggesting that we would not consider seven storeys but perhaps one more storey for the set-back – and if it was appropriate.”
Main Street "thriving"
Taylor now says four storeys are no longer needed.
“The street is thriving. There’s people investing in it. There’s new building and renovations, extensive ones going on all the time and it (the Heritage Conservation District Plan) is doing exactly what it should do.”
Taylor’s decision draws a line under one of the most tumultuous and chaotic periods in the recent history of Newmarket’s historic Main Street.
In November 2019 the Heritage Advisory Committee considered a report on Little Brew Hops at 209 Main Street South which proposes a change to the facade of the building and an additional floor at the back of the building. Concerns were raised about whether the rubble stone foundations could carry the weight of the proposed additional storey.
Height and Heritage. This is how the City of Toronto wants to protect the area around Queen Street West.
Committee of the Whole Monday 3 February 2020 Agenda item on Outstanding Business
Mayor John Taylor:
“I just want to pull this off to suggest to Council that we might want to remove one item at least and it is not unrelated – though largely unrelated to the topic (of the Clock Tower) but not totally unrelated. It is item 17. The recommendation was:
That in 120 days – this is going back quite a way – staff be directed to bring back an amendment to the Heritage Conservation District Plan and By-law for consideration of Council that would outline the criteria which would need to be met by applicants in order to be considered for approval for a fourth storey set back from the street by a minimum of 15 feet.
So I’ll just give a little bit of background for new members of Council.
The Conservation District Plan allows a maximum, I believe, of three storeys and this came about at the time of the Clock Tower application for first nine storeys and then seven storeys. This was I believe actually moved by myself but as a way of suggesting that we would not consider seven storeys but perhaps one more storey for the set-back – and if it was appropriate.
And of course the thinking then was that we should treat the entire district equally.
And then it was kinda put on hold because there was the OMB Hearing and there was a lot to be discovered and we really didn’t know the ground was moving beneath us perhaps so that’s still sitting out there.
It is my feeling that our Heritage Conservation District Plan is an excellent plan and in the absence of, perhaps, needing to compromise a little, that there is really no need (for this change). The street is thriving. There’s people investing in it. There’s new building and renovations, extensive ones going on all the time and that it (the HCD Plan) is doing exactly what it should do. So I suggest we move a recommendation to remove this item from the pending list.
Councillor Bob Kwapis (Ward 5): Yes. Item 17 was put in place way before anything has been set and it is no longer relevant. Therefore I will move this to be removed."
(Seconded Victor Woodhouse and carried unanimously)
21 November 2016: Regional Councillor John Taylor blogs:
"As many of you know it is unlikely for a development or seven or nine storeys to proceed at this location without the acquisition of Town-owned land (underground rights) for parking. This effectively should mean that the Town will have the final say on the proposed development without OMB intervention. Although one never knows for sure."
"I will not and cannot support the current proposal for a seven storey development. It is simply too large for the site and for the Heritage Conservation District".
"I will be proposing at the appropriate time that we, as a Council, take a formal position to support a maximum of four storeys at this site and throughout the entire Heritage Conservation District with a four storey subject to certain conditions."
He says four storeys would be allowed providing the development is not directly fronting Main Street. He says a set-back or development on a side street would be allowable.
Taylor says the amendment to the Heritage Conservation District Plan that he is proposing would require a staff report and public consultation.
(extracted from the Clock Tower Chronology)