Response on proposal to remove character provisions from Plains Road South.
I am against the proposed plan to remove character and density restrictions from the
zoning of Plains Road South (Cooke to Filmandale Road) at this time.
- Street is less green than ever.
- Street has less to do in it than ever.
- Street has more congestion than ever.
Though the Province has mandated population density increases they certainly
did not mandate the transformation of Aldershot into a high density mess. Aldershot
is not just an “intensification dumping ground.” Placing an endless number of small
inflexible living spaces in Aldershot with no other amenities meets intensification
density targets at the expense of our community. This proposed change is nothing,
but an attempt to rezone an area for the sole purpose of jamming more people in the
area in a totally miserable way. Preserving the “character” of the greenbelt can not
be used as a rationalization to pave over the character and liveability of our community.
One of the purposes of the character provisions and zoning regulation is to
prevent people from doing things that will profit them, but adversely impact others.
The direct statement of the those in favour of this proposal is to sell to developers
and move away. Let's acknowledge this situation represents a failure of the city
planning department. Residents should not be subject to surrounding changes so
negative that they wish to abandon their homes. We need to stop this trend of slum
formation from accelerating.
Totally missing at the meeting was any type of metrics that would assure
residents the city is monitoring the impacts of development on the community.
At 5:15 how long does it take on average for a car to travel the length of Plain Road?
How may sports fields per resident do we have? How many local businesses are
open at 7:00 pm? What is the waste water capacity per house hold? How many
large trees per resident? What do think are reasonable values for these numbers?
How close are we to those targets? Either the city has no idea or is failing to
communicate you understand the negative impacts of recent developments.
I propose the following prerequisites for rezoning the area:
1) Transportation plan.
What exactly is the transportation plan for this area? Has the planning department
left space for rapid bus transit, street car line, additional lanes of traffic, a large
pedestrian walkway, a safe bike path? No. There is no transportation plan other than
assuming gridlock will drive people to alternatives - which the city has no idea on how
to implement. This is completely unacceptable we need mathematical assurances
that new residents in the area and surrounding will not degrade our ability to get
around in any way we choose. This issue is exacerbated by the fact that most of
the local services available in the west of Aldershot are now just housing. We
are more dependent on cars to get around than ever before.
2) Strict zoning requirements for high quality ground floor commercial space.
Currently developers are just “putting one over” on city planners and residents. They
just make a mock up of buildings with banks, cafes and a vibrant looking street scape;
then build buildings than can not possibly support the activities they have depicted. It’s
becoming obvious that any commercial building can just stop maintaing it's facade or
try and fetch vastly inflated rents then claim “there is no one to rent here” for the purpose
of selling to developers. City staff seem very easy to manipulate on this point.
Intensification has setup an artificial inflation in housing prices that is transforming
everything into housing. Commercial leases take decades to turn a profit while selling
houses is an immediate return. Massive areas of high density housing connected by roads
to massive commercial blocks is exactly the wrong direction.
3) Enforced greening strategy.
Large green trees give Aldershot a distinctive character, give birds a place to live and
keep our community cool. Developments seem to be removing this signature of our
community and replacing them with shrubs. Since large numbers of people will be
living with no green space on their property a large expansion in public green space
is required. Until planners can mandate that developments increase the amount of
public green space and large trees in an area - no zoning changes or additional
developments should be considered.
Recommendations for zoning changes:
1) Modify the zoning rules so that when redevelopment occurs the zoning stipulates
that amenities come in with the development. Building height should normally be limited
to 3 floors by default - this is the traditional plains road development. All developments
need high quality flexible commercial space. 45% maximum lot coverage, 40% high
quality parking, 10% green. Must have commercial venting and transport truck accesses.
If the buildings are 3-4 floors the ground floor should be entirely commercial. Flexible high
quality commercial space - not the junk we have been getting. Buildings of 5-6 floors
should have a floor of commercial space and a floor of office space above grade. This
rule is designed to prevent the area from being mono-cultured into housing by giving
developers another floor of living space to sell off only if they bring in other things our
2) A percentage of development fees must go into a fund for new park land - local to
the area of development. This will enforce localized parks and new localized greenery
as redevelopment occurs. The developers don't need to be directly charged - we just
need to see the funds accumulating into an account that will fund a defined project.
Citizens for Responsible Development