Poplar Village gets a head start with ‘in principle’ support for MZO
‘An MZO is a sledgehammer. What we’re really looking for is a scissor,’ adviser says before voting alone against MZO’s approval in principle
After a conversation with Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark, Collingwood Councilors returned to meet on Thursday August 18, feeling more comfortable providing an approval of a Minister’s Zoning By-law (MZO ) for the Poplar Regional Health and Wellness Village. .
However, the approval is only “in principle” and comes with certain conditions.
During Thursday’s meeting, Con. Kathy Jeffery referred to a delegation that took place between the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and the City of Collingwood at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) conference in Ottawa last week, where the Poplar Village project was discussed.
“I can’t help but think how far we could have gone if our delegation had actually been a meeting with the developers, the ministry and the town of Collingwood,” Jeffery said. “Given the information we received, we could have done wonders if all three had been at the table.”
“That was our challenge,” she said.
As part of the approval passed Thursday, developer Live Work Learn Play Inc. and Di Poce Development Ltd. must work with city staff, the mayor and deputy mayor, and the ministry to prepare a final MZO for approval. The developer must also continue to bear all costs associated with processing the request.
“The Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing has agreed to make his staff available and they called this afternoon,” said Deputy Mayor Mariane McLeod.
“I think we need to get away from the hospital, this developer and as much as possible and signal that we’re working on it,” she said.
The Poplar Village Regional Health and Wellness Village proposal for 130 acres at the southeast corner of Poplar Sideroad and Raglan St. was first presented to Collingwood Council in March 2022.
The developers intend to apply for an MZO – a controversial provincial tool to expedite a rezoning on land with a provincial authority bypassing the municipal zoning process – to rezone the property from industrial to mixed-use to allow for community center style development. To apply, the developer needs a resolution passed by Collingwood Council in support of the zoning change.
According to the initial vision for the project presented to council, seven key areas will be incorporated into the design of the village, including a regional health and wellness campus, a market district, long-term care and assisted living facilities, biosciences and medical research facilities, an eco-wellness center, a regional transit hub, student and workforce housing, and sports medicine clinics.
Some of the recent changes to the vision to incorporate feedback from public consultations include banning uses on the site such as financial institutions, short-term accommodation, hotels, motels and single-family homes. A maximum height of 30 meters, or six stories, is now included for all mixed-use buildings.
According to the most recent version of the MZO draft, the land to be developed must include a minimum of 10% accessible/affordable housing and 60,000 square meters of employment in the form of offices, institutions and light industry.
Other new additions to the overall plan include a master plan and phasing plan must be submitted before any building permits are granted for the project, and a five-kilometre all-weather multi-modal trail network must also be submitted. be built on the land.
Earlier this month, seven options were being considered by advisers as to whether an MZO would support the project.
Options recommended by staff that would have included assigning the site a “deferred development zone” category were not considered at Thursday’s meeting.
Instead, the approved option was the one originally proposed at the August 11 Strategic Initiatives Standing Committee meeting by Jeffery, which included approving the revised MZO as is while arranging meetings between the province, municipality and the promoter as a condition of approval.
“It’s a unique opportunity. It is broad in scope and it is transformational,” said Mayor Keith Hull.
Com. Deb Doherty raised concerns about Jeffery’s motion during Thursday’s meeting.
“I have no argument with the vision or the benefits to the community, I think the wording of the original motion is problematic. There are issues with the final delivery. There is nothing in this motion or the amendments that talks about protecting those 30 acres for the hospital,” Doherty said. “I don’t think it goes far enough to protect our community from the ways that this development might go south.”
“An MZO is a sledgehammer. What we’re really looking for is a scissor,” she said. “I will not be able to support this resolution as stated.”
Approval in principle passed by a 6-1 vote with the board. Deb Doherty opposed it. Com. Chris Carrier declared a conflict due to a personal relationship with the developer.