City seeks ideas for community benefits of development at 223 Princess St

223 Princess Street

The City’s Planning Services Department is asking for resident input on potential community benefits for the development proposal for 223 Princess Street, the site of the former Capitol Theatre. City staff will be collecting resident feedback for three weeks, from Thursday, Aug. 20 to Thursday, Sept. 10. The input will be compiled into a report to be presented to Planning Committee on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020. 

“In exchange for height or density that exceeds a property’s zoning permission, municipalities can negotiate community benefits as part of a project’s approvals process,” says Tim Park, Manager of Development of Approvals for the City of Kingston. “Community benefits are an opportunity for residents to help determine how densification can have a positive impact on the immediate area experiencing the increased height or density.”

According to a statement from the City, the proposed project at 223 Princess Street has yet to be approved by the City and must meet the tests of good planning for a community benefit agreement to be established.

Share your ideas for community benefits

The City is inviting residents to share their ideas for possible community benefits for 223 Princess Street on Get Involved Kingston until Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020.

The dollar value of the community benefit contribution for this development is estimated to be in the range of $100,0000 to $150,000, according to the release. The City will be asking for suggestions under the following categories:

  • Providing public art – for example, including art as part of the development or within the general vicinity of the development site that have some significance or relation to the area and its history
  • Providing parkland dedication beyond what is already required – for example, allocating additional funding for existing parkland capital improvement projects in nearby parks
  • Providing/contributing to community and open space facilities – for example, day care centres, community centres, recreation facilities or cultural facilities
  • Providing improvements to streetscapes and public realm – for example, providing street furniture and/or enhanced landscaping

This is the first in a multi-step process:

  1. Staff will collect and assess all suggestions, and will present them to Planning Committee, while making recommendations based on feasibility. Council is the approval authority.
  2. Should Council approve community benefits for 223 Princess Street, the specific design details are expected to undergo additional community engagement with residents, the district councillor and interested community groups.

About community benefits

The Ontario Planning Act and the City’s Official Plan provide the parameters for how municipalities may negotiate community benefits.

On July 21, 2020, Bill 197 provided several changes to community benefits, re-naming them as Community Benefit Charges. It also included transitional clauses that result in the preceding provisions of Section 37 of the Planning Act being applicable to how community benefits would be determined for 223 Princess St.

Community benefits are finalized through a Council-approved, site-specific amending zoning bylaw that implements a proposed development and a community benefits agreement.

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