A proposal by Jay Patry Enterprises Inc. to construct a 303-unit residential development at 820-830 Gardiners Road cleared a major hurdle on Thursday, Jun. 29, 2023, as the City’s Planning Committee voted to approve the necessary zoning bylaw amendments for the project. In a unanimous vote, the Committee approved a request from the applicant to rezone the land as Urban Multi-Residential Zone 2 (URM2).
According to a staff report distributed in advance of the meeting, the proposed development would include a six-storey, 209-unit apartment building, as well as a number of double-stacked and triple-stacked townhouses that would bring an additional 94 units to the project. While the majority of the property currently sits unused, the site does house several businesses, including a bowling alley and a furniture store.
During Thursday night’s meeting, the Committee heard a presentation from Riccardo Peggi, an intermediate planner with the City of Kingston, who outlined the applicant’s proposal. “The subject property is 2.4 hectares in size within the urban boundary. It’s currently developed with two commercial buildings… It is located along Gardiners Road, which is designated as an arterial road with access to transit and shopping opportunities within walking distance,” he noted.
Peggi went on to discuss some of the aspects of the proposal that have generated feedback from members of the public, including the potential loss of the Limestone Lanes bowling alley (formerly Prost Bowling) and the plan to offer one parking stall per unit on the site. “For the bowling alley, there are concerns from residents about removing that [business]. The applicant has elected not to retain the bowling alley, but it is my understanding that they intend to leave it open as long as possible before commencing construction,” he said.
In an email to Kingstonist, Latoya Powder, Director of Planning and Development for the Patry Group of Companies (Patry Inc.), confirmed that the developer has been working to allow the bowling alley to remain on site for the maximum length of time feasible.
“We’ve renewed a one year lease with them and we want to continue working with the alley to stay for as long as it is feasible,” she wrote, noting that the company is aiming to have the proposal for this project come before City Council at its next meeting, which takes place on Tuesday, Jul. 11, 2023.
Peggi then addressed concerns about the development itself.
“We’ve heard some concerns from residents [about] an excess of parking as well as a lack of parking,” he said. “Staff consider that the site has struck a balance with the amount of parking proposed for residents: the rate is just over 0.8 spaces per [dwelling] unit, which does comply with zoning [regulations]. There are also three car-share spaces and 12 visitor spaces provided.”
Another area of concern from members of the public related to the applicant’s plan to build an underground parking garage, which would require blasting at the site. Peggi said, “Blasting is regulated by the Ontario provincial standard and, as part of the specification, a qualified blasting firm must complete the work. They’re also required to conduct a pre-blast survey, and communications are also required.”
Following the presentation, Peggi and representatives from Patry Inc. fielded questions from members of the Committee. Countryside District Councillor and Committee Vice Chair Gary Oosterhof inquired about the possibility of adding an additional traffic light to Gardiners Road at the entrance to the property.
“The signalization adjacent to the property would be too close to the intersection at Taylor Kidd [Boulevard] and Gardiners [Road],” Peggi replied, noting that a traffic impact study included in the application noted the surrounding roadways “have [the] capacity for future residents [of the] proposed development.”
While the City’s Official Plan calls for 25 per cent of new housing developments to be deemed “affordable,” the applicant has yet to confirm how many units within the development will fit the definition of affordable housing. In response to a question from Sydenham District Councillor Conny Glenn regarding the placement of affordable units, Latoya Powder indicated such options would be provided through a mix of unit types.
“Because of the different range of units and different types of units, that’s kind of where the affordability comes in,” she said.
On Thursday night, members of the public also had an opportunity to speak to the proposal, with some voicing concerns over the increased traffic the proposed development may bring to the surrounding neighbourhoods.
“I have a lot of concerns about the impact of increased traffic to Davis Drive,” said Emily Hammond, a Davis Drive resident whose property is in close proximity to the proposed development. “Although you say that traffic assessments were done on Gardiners Road, anyone who has tried to turn onto Gardiners Road out of any of the businesses there knows that, regardless of what the numbers say, it’s a pain.”
Hammond added, “If I were living in any of these new units, I would use Davis Drive… [where] there’s [already] lots of traffic [and] a lot of parking on the side of the road… What I see with this… is even more risk and danger to the residents that live there.”
Following the public portion of the meeting, Committee members discussed the staff report. Glenn remarked on the need for staff and the applicant to further address the concerns of area residents. “It’s a significant development. I think it’s really important that we try and get this moved forward, but I also don’t want to see a negative impact on the surrounding community, and I want to make sure that we’re getting that oversight,” she said.
Williamsville District Councillor Vincent Cinanni praised the variety of housing options the development would offer prospective residents. “I support this kind of development of mixed types of housing… because it appeals to a variety of different people. People want to start out; people want to downsize. It’s that missing middle part [the development] addresses,” Cinanni stated.
With the Planning Committee approving the zoning bylaw amendments, the application will now be brought forward to City Council, which will have the final say as to whether or not it proceeds.
Like all City committee meetings, further details on the agenda at hand on Thursday evening can be read on the City of Kingston website, and the full meeting can be viewed on the Kingston City Council YouTube page.