Tag Archives: CRCA

Casino Free Zone?

March 31, 2016 – Casino Free Zone?

 My name is Karen Pagratis and I report on the Planning Committee meetings of Kingston City Council.

 The Planning Committee consists of 6 City Councillors, one of whom acts as Chair.  Currently:  Liz Schell (Chair), Jim Neill (Vice-Chair), Richard Allen, Jeff McLaren, Lisa Osanic, Laura Turner. 

Meetings are held on the first and third Thursday of the month in Council Chambers commencing at 6:30 pm. and are open to the public to observe and address.

After an unusually long March Break and Easter recess it was business as usual with all Councillors in attendance at the Planning Committee this week.  Zoning by-law amendments were requested and generally accepted as feasible.  Thus 1575 Westbrook Road (north of the 401) will be expanding from its current business of firewood processing to include a contractor’s yard, transport and cartage yard, soil processing facility, and service garage etc.  169 Union St. (formerly known as Queen’s Day Care) will indeed be turning into a dental office with apartments above it, as previously reported here.  And the subdivision planned for 2939 Creekford Road – Phase 2 & 3 will go ahead increasing the density in Cataraqui West.

The only slightly unusual request at this Planning meeting was the application by the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority (CRCA) to sever 2.82 hectares of its land which is part of the overall Conservation Area and is designated Open Space in the Official Plan and re-designate it to Restricted Agricultural.  The reason here being that the CRCA wishes to sell this land which contains an existing dwelling, (currently rented) and barn.  Municipally known as 1572 Sunnyside Rd., the CRCA apparently considers it “surplus to their needs”.  Councillor Neill asked if this 19th century farmhouse was listed, (meaning if it has a heritage designation).  Director Paige Agnew answered the question herself, saying she would look into it. Curious.

However the really “big” issue presented was that of zoning amendments concerning Casino Gaming Facilities.  You will likely

recall that the “Casino within Kingston” issue appeared as a referendum question on the ballot of our last municipal election in October of 2014.  The result was that a resounding 67.09% of Kingston electors voted “No” to a casino.  (The groundswell of opposition came as a surprise to many of the previous Council members who had been in early support of the idea and gradually changed their minds throughout their election campaigns – including our current Mayor.)  After the referendum and election, the new Council directed staff to determine options or “measures that could be taken to not permit a Casino Gaming Facility in Kingston”.  One of the resulting options was to “Amend the Official Plan to prohibit a CGF anywhere within the City”.  However according to that same staff report, “the City is not able to use its Official Plan to put in place City-wide prohibitions, but can use the Official Plan and Zoning By-Laws to control land uses.   There doesn’t appear to be a clear explanation as to why the City is not able to prohibit a Casino, but Council chose to take the latter option.  Therefore, a casino “will not be listed as a permitted use in any of the zones in any of the by-laws” of Kingston.

But note, that should developers at some time in the future wish to build a casino, they may simply apply for an amendment to the Official Plan and (just like their residential counterparts) apply for an amendment to the Zoning By-Law.  Doesn’t sound like a permanent solution.  Let’s hope the casino question doesn’t raise its ugly head again in Kingston any time soon.

 

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Good Debate!

Jason here. All would be impressed by the quality of debate last evening. What is going on? First of all, the quieting of Councillor Neill has been impressive. Secondly, the mayor must have something to do with it! But what, Jason does not know. Maybe it is just a steadying influence. Maybe he spoke to Councillor Neill.

Third is the addition of Councillors Allen and McLaren- the latter between Neill and Hutchison. Maybe it makes a difference where one sits. So far we have not heard from Candon. Boehme is quiet, as is Turner. 

The much anticipated reform of non-statutory advisory committees happened last night. Gone is the near campus advisory committees as dysfunctional and the Memorial Centre advisory committee and the non-working Kingston Entitlement Access Committee, merged are the Municipal Heritage Committee and the Museums and Collections Advisory committee. This may have to be broken up again as ‘heritage’ is very important to Kingston. The Rural Advisory Committee made the cut as did the Housing and Homelessness Committee although the latter was advised to meet less often. All committees were advised to submit an annual report (they should have anyway) KEAF- drawing as it has on the experience and expertise of Queen’s, St. Lawrence and RMC and CRCA was the committee that Council hated to abandon, in fact it was saved by being thrown the carrot of climate change later in the meeting by McLaren and Allen. The environmental committee has been overwhelmed by in-house experts and the ‘environmental ‘ portion of Sustainability. Perhaps ‘ overwhelmed is not the word. In fact this committee is the last one -as staff grows- to appoint members with experience and expertise. So – over to them re climate change rather than the city’s staff.

Also under the gun was the City’s RFP procedure-. Councillor Hutchison’s amendment for future revisions to the Transportation Master plan which passed 7/5 was an example of the inadequacy of existing RFP procedure. Jason has thought for a long time that familiarity with Kingston should be worth at least 5 points