Kingston council votes to defer development for environment study

Article content

KINGSTON — City council voted to defer a housing development near Collins Creek so an environmental assessment can be conducted.

Advertisement 2

Article content

But council was cautioned that doing so could spark an appeal to the province’s land tribunal.

Article content

The development proposal from developers Armitage Homes Ltd. and Arcadis and property owners Frances H. Day, Clark Day and Robert R. Kennedy would include 41 single detached houses, 66 double-stacked townhouses and 120 triple-stacked townhouses, along with private roads, surface parking areas, private open space and a protected naturalized buffer adjacent to the creek.

The planning committee two weeks ago voted 3-2 in support of zoning bylaw and official plan amendments for the development.

But city council voted 9-4 to have the project undergo a scaled environmental assessment.

Chief among the concerns raised around the council table was the need to cut down more than 750 trees to build what Sydenham District Coun. Connie Glenn called a “sprawling development, not affordable housing.”

Article content

Advertisement 3

Article content

“I’m a pragmatist. I understand that as we build there is going to be the occasional tree that we are going to have to cut down. But this just seems to be a step too far,” said Glenn, who was one of two planning committee members to vote against the project. “We’re not just talking about trees that provide a canopy, we’re talking about an entire forest.”

“I think it is our due diligence as city council to ensure that cutting down this forest is the right thing to do,” added Collins-Bayridge District Coun. Lisa Osanic, who put forward the motion calling for the project approval to be deferred. “I think this is in the name of public interest.”

Opponents of the deferral argued that council has already taken more than the allowed 180 days to make a decision about the approvals, so the developer could file an appeal to the land tribunal that would take much of the control and decision-making power away from council.

Advertisement 4

Article content

The environmental study is to be funded with up to $20,000 from reserves and take between four and eight months to complete.

“That is totally unreasonable,” Mayor Bryan Paterson said. “Four to eight months. This is the sort of thing that gives municipalities a bad name when it comes to housing.”

In response to a question from Paterson, city staff noted that 93 building permits have been issued since the start of 2024.

“Ninety-three. We need 1,400,” Paterson said, referring to the housing strategy adopted last year.

But staff also said that between 700 and 800 units have been approved by planning committee or council and await final approval, including more than 300 approved earlier in the meeting.

“That is a big difference between 93 and 700,” Loyalist-Cataraqui District Coun. Paul Chaves said.

Article content

Related posts