In my commentary on Bob Forrest’s “Project Landscape” I talked about the zoning magic that apparently allows the Clock Tower development to rise to seven storeys.
It is all smoke and mirrors.
All Bob Forrest’s buildings are within UC-D1 which restricts any new developments to three storeys. However, the property line at 190 Main Street South (owned by Forrest) extends into the Market Square parking lot and into the UC-D2 zone allowing Forrest to claim in his Planning Justification Report that
“a portion of the property (ie the land that he owns) and the lands to the west zoned UC-D2 permit six storeys as of right.”
In fact, a tiny portion of the land he owns falls into UC-D2. He could not build anything on such a postage stamp sized piece of land.
Instead he uses it in a land swap to get the land he needs for his underground car park which is owned by the Town.
The map below shows the zone boundaries delineated by a heavy black line while the darker purple lines are property lines.
Forrest explains all this in his “Project Landscape” in his answer to Q16:
“Market Square is a public parking lot, located west and south of the proposed building. Part of the lot is on land that is owned by the applicant (Bob Forrest). The applicant proposes to convey surface rights to its portion of Market Square to the municipality while retaining below grade rights for its underground parking structure. In return, the applicant is seeking underground rights to a small area of Market Square which belongs to the Town. This constitutes the so-called “Land Swap”.”
Forrest says he will exchange the surface rights to his little portion of Market Square if he gets underground rights
“to a small area of Market Square which belongs to the Town”. (My underlining)
In fact, the exchange is not remotely equivalent.
The land swap is a seriously bad deal.
The drawings below (parking levels 1 and 2) show Forrest’s property line and the huge amount of underground parking space that comes from the Town. (And, of course, there are no public spaces. The spaces are all reserved for Clock Tower residents and their visitors.) The drawing for parking level 3 does not show the property line and is not reproduced here.
The bottom line is this:
The Clock Tower development cannot proceed without the land swap.
And the land swap gives nothing to the Town – except surface rights to a small portion of Market Square.
Update on 4 October 2016: I should have mentioned that a closed session of the Committee of the Whole in June 2013 gave "approval in principle" to the land swap. This is, of course, not binding.
Underground Parking at the Clock Tower. Level 1 (note the property line. Everything to its right is land owned by Forrest and, to the left, owned by the Town)
Underground Parking at the Clock Tower. Level 2. (Again, note the property line)