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The Walter | 24m | 5 fl | U/C
#1
100, 104, 108 Walter Street
Developer: Vanguard Developments Corporation
Architect: ABA Architect
Project: 31 multiple dwelling unit building that is five stories at street elevation and six stories at the rear of the site (1 level of structured parking) is proposed

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location:
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before:

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#2
Walter Street proposal deferred until after election

The development at 108 Walter Street in Kitchener stirred up a lot of discussion at last night's City of Kitchener council meeting.

Amongst opposition from residents, councillors have decided to defer the decision until the November 17 council meeting.

For Councillor Kelly Galloway, the timing of the deferral was not a coincidence.  She seemed to think some members of council were fearful of upsetting residents so close to an election.

Galloway was in favour of the development stating “these are the types of developments we need going forward.”  Mayor Carl Zehr supported her stating that the density is appropriate.

Zyg Janecki and Frank Etherington supported the deferral stating height was the issues.   Janecki implied he would support the project if it was reduced by one floor.

While the height of the project was an issue, the design got positive reviews from both Bill Ioannidis and Paul Singh.  Both supported waiting until November to make a decision.
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#3
So if one floor got chopped off this project, is it still a good one?
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#4
I don't generally like that kind of building specific tinkering, but given the step-back of the design, I suppose it might mollify the neighbours. The project is next door to an ugly three storey building with a pitched roof.
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#5
Council balks at plans to build big
September 18, 2014 | Catherine Thompson | Waterloo Region Record | Link
Quote:KITCHENER — Plans to encourage higher-density development along the planned LRT route are running into snags at Kitchener council.

This week, after earlier postponements, council delayed decisions on two projects that seem tailor-made for the city's new planning policies: high-quality developments that bring more residents in areas close to the future transit line, within walking distance of shops, offices and other amenities.

But nearby landowners say the developments are too much and will have too large an impact on the surrounding neighbourhood. Councillors agreed, and put off decisions until mid-November.

The Momentum development would replace four commercial buildings at 100 Victoria St. S., very close to the planned transit hub at King and Victoria streets, with two residential towers, one 14 storeys and the other 18, atop a three-storey podium of offices and retail shops. The Vanguard development on Walter Street, beside King Edward School, would see a residential building, rising from four storeys on Walter to six storeys on the back of the lot toward King Street.

Planning staff recommended approval for both projects, saying they are compatible with nearby existing buildings.

"They're very different developments — one is much larger in scale than the other — but we feel they are appropriate for both respective contexts, and they both add value to the community that's around them," said Alain Pinard, the city's director of planning.

"They're both high-quality developments, they're well thought out, and they will achieve a lot of things that intensification is supposed to achieve," attracting more residents, who will in turn provide greater demand for nearby businesses and inner city schools.

But residents from adjacent streets came out in droves to city council to object to both projects, which they say are too large and don't respect the existing buildings nearby.

Owen Allerton owns five properties on Arthur Place, the street next to the Momentum project. He and about two dozen supporters wearing red "Stop the Tower" T-shirts showed up at planning and council meetings in the past couple of weeks.

Allerton argues that the Momentum tower nearest Arthur Place is less than three metres from the property line, and will limit the potential for future development of his properties, which now contain rented single-family homes but are zoned for greater density.

Residents in the Walter Street neighbourhood also came out in droves to recent meetings, saying the six-storey Vanguard building would look massive on a street with mainly two-storey homes, and arguing that current zoning allows for only a three-storey building.

"Our neighbourhood is 100 years old," Alan Kocher, who lives on Gruhn Street just behind Walter, told council. "I find the size of the building is not in tune with the character or feel of our neighbourhood. I fear that if this proposal is passed, what precedent will this set for all the other properties along Walter Street?"

Planners and the province promote intensification because it has several benefits.

• It doesn't pave over greenfield land.

• Research shows that when density increases beyond a certain level, car use declines in favour of transit, walking and cycling.

• It makes more efficient use of infrastructure such as water and sewer pipes, as well as "soft" infrastructure such as public schools and social services.

Pinard stressed that his staff aren't supporting just any high-density projects. "We are not saying that all intensification projects are good projects. It has to be well-designed and appropriate."

Like most of the councillors around the horseshoe, Coun. Frank Etherington said he liked the design of the Walter Street building, and believes it's been done with care and attention to detail. But says he's seen several recent instances where developments are proceeding apace in older areas, despite the commitments in the Official Plan to protect established neighbourhoods.

"I'm very concerned about the impact such development is having on mature neighbourhoods," Etherington said. "I'm not against intensification, but it has to dovetail and be compatible with our existing older communities."

Council's hesitation over the projects suggests the city needs to have clearer guidelines for building in established areas, and for how close two adjacent high-rises can be in high-density areas, said Coun. Berry Vrbanovic, who chairs the planning committee.

But Coun. Kelly Galloway-Sealock suggested that politics may be at play, in the lead-up up to the Oct. 27 municipal vote. "This development is coming forward at election time, and no-one want to alienate the electorate."

In both projects, council urged developers to continue talking to all parties and refining their projects, which they'll consider again on Nov. 17.
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#6
"But Coun. Kelly Galloway-Sealock suggested that politics may be at play, in the lead-up up to the Oct. 27 municipal vote. "This development is coming forward at election time, and no-one want to alienate the electorate." "

Better to alienate the voters after they've voted....
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#7
I really wonder, when someone has an issue with a development like 100-108 Walter or 100 Victoria, whether that person can be mollified. The owner of the properties on Arthur Place, for instance, is there a setback at which he would be happy? Would five meters satisfy him, or six-point-five?

It seems problematic to me for councillors to tweak specific projects after planning staff have recommended them (taking into account public comments). The Region and the municipalities have committed to encouraging intensification, and we are collectively investing hundreds of millions of dollars in a transit system to allow for that- and then we’re going to disallow midrise development within walking distance of that transit system because it is not (in some people’s opinion) in tune with a hundred-year-old neighbourhood?
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#8
MidTowner Wrote:I really wonder, when someone has an issue with a development like 100-108 Walter or 100 Victoria, whether that person can be mollified. The owner of the properties on Arthur Place, for instance, is there a setback at which he would be happy? Would five meters satisfy him, or six-point-five?

I suppose it's in his financial interest to push as much as the city will let him.
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#9
This was deferred to be talked about to the Nov 17 meeting.  I've got to think that they'll defer again to let the new council decide on it.  Sad since that means the new council (even though it's 90% old) will say they need time to get new councillors up to speed on it.  I'm guessing no decision until the new year.

100 Victoria is probably in the same boat
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#10
(10-28-2014, 01:36 PM)Spokes Wrote: This was deferred to be talked about to the Nov 17 meeting.  I've got to think that they'll defer again to let the new council decide on it.  Sad since that means the new council (even though it's 90% old) will say they need time to get new councillors up to speed on it.  I'm guessing no decision until the new year.

100 Victoria is probably in the same boat

Groan. 100 Victoria in particular, but also this project, is a no-brainer. This kind of intensification is exactly the reason we're spending hundreds of millions of dollars on rapid transit, and the more projects like these that are developed in advance of 2017, the more successful Ion will be.
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#11
Ugh, the people in this neighbourhood need to grow up or GTFO. Snobby NIMBYism is all this is... don't let more people move into my beautiful neighbourhood. Cities change, especially when you're only a block away from the main drag. They built the Iron Horse towers right beside a few blocks of big beautiful Victorian mansions and guess what, that area is a lot better for it.

I can understand worries about traffic but the best solution to that is to cut the parking and let car-free people rent those units. But no one seems to be complaining about anything specific just that it looks too big-city.
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#12
(10-29-2014, 07:53 AM)clasher Wrote: Ugh, the people in this neighbourhood need to grow up or GTFO. Snobby NIMBYism is all this is...

On the other hand, they were there first.  Asking people to "GTFO" if they don't like it is not the right way to build community.
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#13
I know, but thankfully I'm not in any sort of position to do anything about much of anything.
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#14
(10-29-2014, 02:57 PM)nms Wrote:
(10-29-2014, 07:53 AM)clasher Wrote: Ugh, the people in this neighbourhood need to grow up or GTFO. Snobby NIMBYism is all this is...

On the other hand, they were there first.  Asking people to "GTFO" if they don't like it is not the right way to build community.

It's obviously a delicate balance in every case, accommodating new development while respecting the existing neighbourhood. In this case, though, we are talking about a mid-rise building in a neighbourhood that already has multi-unit residential, and is one block from King Street. Developments like these are how we fully leverage Ion.
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#15
(10-30-2014, 07:27 AM)MidTowner Wrote:
(10-29-2014, 02:57 PM)nms Wrote: On the other hand, they were there first.  Asking people to "GTFO" if they don't like it is not the right way to build community.

It's obviously a delicate balance in every case, accommodating new development while respecting the existing neighbourhood. In this case, though, we are talking about a mid-rise building in a neighbourhood that already has multi-unit residential, and is one block from King Street. Developments like these are how we fully leverage Ion.

Balance is a tricky question. Is it balanced to go into a place like beechwood or laurelwood and expect to pop in a development the size of the barrel yards? Is it balanced for a bunch of bungalows, a retirement home, a funeral home, to set up right next to the busiest street in the region at the busiest point in the city, and expect that nothing larger/busier/different than them should be allowed? Context is important. If respecting the existing means that next to a two-storey building you can only have a 2 or 1 storey building, irrespective of context, you will quickly have a monoculture, descent into bungalows and 1 storey only. Not the real case example, but it is important to remember the context of these changes, developments, through the lens of a growing region.
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