After all my talk about the future of infilling in St. Catharines, it looks like the city is hitting the pause button on new infill developments to review its intensification and infilling policies.
On Monday night, St. Catharines City Council passed an interim control bylaw that will temporarily stop intensification with multi-unit developments and any new lot creation on all properties that are currently zoned for low density residential.
What’s wrong with infilling in St. Catharines?
The City has gotten complaints about what St. Andrew’s Coun. Joe Kushner has called “some very bad infilling examples.” And with the city receiving 25 severance applications this year alone, it’s time for the City to review current procedures to try to appease the upset residents who have complained about the high-density infills in their neighbourhoods.
What does this mean for the future of St. Catharines development?
You’ve seen lots of developments come up on my blog over the past year, so imagine the tens of millions of development dollars that are going to be frozen for at least six months, maybe up to two years.
The growth of residential development opportunities in St. Catharines directly affects the growth of our community and a positive impact on our local economy, and local builders and developers have expressed some concerns that this interim bylaw will put the brakes on the momentum of growth that we’ve been seeing.
There are some areas of the city that would still benefit from development, maybe a blanket bylaw over infill throughout the city isn’t the solution. While there has certainly been some bad design and uninspiring infill developments out there, stopping infilling dead in its tracks doesn’t seem to be the best answer. While I personally like the idea of revisiting the process of high-density development approval, design and build, maybe City officials could update their policies without halting development entirely.
Hopefully, while the city takes a break, it comes up with a process that will make sense for everyone, allowing beautiful developments to seamlessly integrate into existing neighbourhoods, making everyone happy.