Editor’s note: This article has been updated since it was originally published on Monday, Jan. 22, 2024, at 3:20 p.m. Please see bottom of article for most recently updated information.
A site that had been allocated for use by a lauded local lithium-ion battery recycling company is now the site of a proposed revocation of a Minister’s Zoning Order, and Kingston City Council must decide how to respond.
At its meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024, Council will receive a report from staff regarding the proposed revocation of a Minister’s Zoning Order (MZO) for the Clogg’s Road Business Park in the city’s west end.
Under Section 47 of the Planning Act, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing has the authority to control the use of any land in the province of Ontario by issuing an MZO. According to the staff report, an MZO was issued on March 4, 2022 for the Clogg’s Road Business Park — located south of Highway 401, west of Gardiners Road — “to facilitate industrial, commercial and open space uses.”
Staff note that the order was meant to help the City secure a company in the “green technology sector” for the proposed business park. The terms of the MZO allow for business park industrial use, open space use, and some commercial uses in the southeast portion of the parklands.
The report goes on to explain that, after the MZO was filed, a “site plan control application” was submitted by Li-Cycle Americas Corp. (Li-Cycle), a company that specializes in recycling lithium-ion batteries, for a “large portion” of the eastern parcel of the Business Park.
However, it appears plans for that project have fallen through; the report explains that Li-Cycle recently informed the City “they are scaling back in Kingston and have indefinitely deferred their development within the Clogg’s Road Business Park.” This comes after the company suddenly laid off the majority of its employees when it closed its Kingston location on November 1, 2023. Li-Cycle halted the development of its proposed site for Clogg’s Road at the same time.
Then, on December 13, 2023, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing posted a notice on the Environmental Registry of Ontario (ERO) that the minister was “consulting on a proposal to revoke” the MZO for the Clogg’s Road Business Park. The notice (listed as ERO 019-7979) cited a “lack of downstream implementation” as the reason for the proposed revocation.
The report from staff goes on to explain that as long as the MZO remains in effect, the land at the Clogg’s Road Business Park is exempt from the City’s existing Zoning Bylaw (2022-62). If the MZO is revoked, the lands would automatically revert to the municipal zoning bylaw. However, as staff explain, the municipal bylaw allows for the same industrial business park uses as the MZO permits, except for commercial use.
Staff explain that, if the MZO is revoked by the ministry, “future complementary uses” will require a “minor variance” or an amendment to the relevant municipal zoning bylaw. The report adds, “The complementary uses could be located on any parcel of land within the Clogg’s Road Business Park, subject to the approval of a minor variance or zoning bylaw amendment application, and would not be limited to the southeast portion of the business park lands as noted in the MZO.”
While an MZO is in effect, the City does not have the ability to amend any zoning of the relevant lands; variances or amendments must be approved by the minister. Staff explain that if the MZO for the Clogg’s Road Business Park is revoked, the municipality would regain the ability to make planning decisions for the relevant lands. Depending on the type of variance or amendment requested, the application would be directed either to the Committee of Adjustment or to City Council.
Given the fact that the business park is considered an “important component” of the City’s future employment land supply and that the existing municipal zoning bylaw allows for the same business park industrial use as the MZO, the report coming to Council on Tuesday night notes staff are “supportive” of the proposed revocation. The report will recommend that Council direct staff “to forward this report to the province as the City of Kingston comments on ERO Number 019-7979.”
Until Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024, members of the public have the opportunity to share their thoughts on the proposed revocation of the Clogg’s Road Business Park MZO. Comments can be submitted online through the link on the Environmental Registry of Ontario’s webpage.
The staff report will be presented to Council during its meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024, at 7 p.m. inside Council Chambers. Full meeting agendas are available on the City of Kingston website. Meetings are open to the public and can be streamed live (or viewed after) on the Kingston City Council YouTube page.
Update (Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024):
During a meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024, Kingston City Councillors voted to approve the recommendations of the staff report regarding the revocation of the Minster’s Zoning Order (MZO) for the Clogg’s Road Business Park. A copy of the staff report will now be sent to the province as the City’s official comment on the proposed MZO revocation. Members of the public have until Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024, to share their thoughts on the proposal, by visiting the Environmental Registry of Ontario’s website.
Members of the public can view the full agenda from the meeting on the City of Kingston’s City Council meetings webpage, and the meeting can be viewed in full on the Kingston City Council YouTube channel.