Character Project Report Update

As many Duranders will recall, we have been working on implementing a Character zoning overlay in the Durand neighbourhood.  We began the process a couple of years ago, and many of our residents helped last fall by filling out a survey and conducting street audits to inform the final report.  The final report is available for viewing here at www.durandcharacter.com (under “Report”).

On September 5, Janice Brown, with assistance from Yonatan Rozenszjan presented the report to the Planning Committee.  Councillor Jason Farr put forward a motion for staff to receive the study and report back on the possibility of including a zoning overlay.  The text of Janice’s remarks to the Planning Committee were as follows:

Good morning Planning Committee members.

My name is Janice Brown.  I am appearing on behalf of the Durand Neighbourhood Association.

Thank you very much for allowing us to appear on such short notice, and thank you Councillor Farr for facilitating our delegation.

I am here today to present to you an exhaustive and detailed planning study prepared by Civic Plan on the character of the Durand Neighbourhood. This has been two years in the making.  This process involved DNA Board Members and over 40 Duranders who volunteered their time to assist Civic Plan.

The Durand Neighbourhood Character Study’s purpose was to understand the neighbourhood context and make recommendations for future policy to help maintain neighbourhood character though periods of change.

This is an important study that was financed by our association along with the gracious support of the city through the Ward 2 Area Rating Fund.  It was at the suggestion of planning staff that we research data based on the experience from the City of Ottawa.

The key recommendations in the report are on pages 78- 79. Specific mention is to recommendation number 2, which refers to the implementation of a Zoning Overlay Pilot Project using a Streetscape Character Analysis that could assist in maintaining Durand’s neighbourhood character. We believe it is important for the city and for Durand to actually explore how we can protect the character of an established downtown neighbourhood. This is not a new approach. Ottawa has a similar system which has been approved by the OMB. We believe that Hamilton will benefit by exploring how the experience in Ottawa can apply to Hamilton.

We therefore ask that you receive this report and refer it to staff for further study and action.

Janice’s work on this file is much appreciated.  Appearing before a city committee is not always straight-forward because delegates have to ensure attendance at the meeting no matter how long it takes.  In this case, Janice attended City Hall at 9:30 a.m. to be called to address the Committee at 1:45 p.m.!

Also, a sincere thank you to all Duranders who came out to support this very important delegation.

The motion put forward by Councillor Farr was worded as follows:

MOTION – Character Study

 The presentation by the Durand Neighbourhood Association be received;

 The Durand Neighbourhood Character Study prepared for the Durand Neighbourhood Association be received and referred to Planning staff to review and inclusion as a resource associated with the pending Durand Neighbourhood Association Secondary Plan work plan; and

 That after consultation with the Ward Councillor on the results of Planning staff’s review of the study, if immediate changes to zoning by-law 6593 applicable to the Durand Neighbourhood are warranted to create a zoning overlay to maintain neighbourhood character, then Planning staff be directed and authorized to schedule a Public Meeting of the Planning Committee ‎no later than Q1/2018 to consider proposed zoning by-law changes.

The good news is today Council ratified the decision of the Planning Committee to receive the study.  We are on our way!  It’s a long process, but we are hoping the principles of Character zoning (i.e. “the street gives you your rules”) will assist in maintaining the character of our historic neighbourhood.

Stay tuned.

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