Ontario Construction News staff writer
Kingston’s planning services department will provide key updates on the Central Kingston Growth Strategy, as the project enters its next phase. Facilitated by project consultants from WSP, staff will be post a pre-recorded video presentation on May 25, followed by a two-week online Q&A period.
The presentation will include preliminary recommendations for proposed changes to the city’s official plan and zoning bylaw, and urban design guidelines, based on proposed intensification and infill areas.
“We recognize that this is a unique time for Kingston’s residents, and we want to emphasize that this public engagement approach is a temporary solution, intended to keep residents up-to-date on the project,” says Andrea Gummo, manager of policy planning.
“While this is a different approach, we also want to emphasize that the project team is committed to ensuring that residents understand the proposed Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw recommendations and urban design guidelines.”
The Central Kingston growth strategy aims to create a policy and regulatory framework to guide infill and intensification in the central area of the city. The goal of the strategy is to facilitate a long-term vision for the residential areas of central Kingston by “preserving what is valued in Kingston’s communities and identifying the appropriate locations and forms for accommodating future growth.”
The study area for the strategy includes the residential areas of central Kingston except for the area covered by the North King’s Town Secondary Plan, the Kingston Provincial Campus Secondary Plan, and the downtown core and the Princess Street corridor, including Williamsville Main Street.
Kingston’s chief planner would support a new building policy that builds up to create housing options for a rapidly growing population.
“This is about developing a strategy for how we’re managing our growth, and how tall and mid-rise buildings need to function to be successful in the city,” Paige Agnew told CBC Ottawa.
Currently, most buildings in the central part of the city are no taller than three or four storeys and the city will need to build more than 13,000 additional housing units over the next 30 years to handle projected growth.
The new policy would set out specific criteria for evaluating development applications for buildings taller than four storeys, focusing on what’s known in planning circles as “smart growth” — development with a focus on density, access to public transit and environmental sustainability in a city that declared a climate emergency in March.
A discussion paper titled Density by Design presents the a “green light” strategy that would divide Kingston into several sections, making it easier for builders to obtain approvals in areas deemed ripe for development, according to smart growth principles.
Agnew says she expects there to be robust discussion over where taller buildings should be allowed.