A development proposal for waterfront condos on Pickering’s Liverpool Road South has been unanimously voted down by the city’s Planning and Development Committee.
The decision will be formalized at the upcoming council meeting on July 27.
Pickering Harbour Company Ltd. originally asked to build a pair of 23-storey buildings on the waterfront, with 498 residential units and 1,900 square metres of commercial space.
However, several concerns were raised by both local residents and city officials.
Critics spoke of increased traffic, reduced parking and more stress on the surrounding wetlands.
Others worry about how close the buildings would be to Pickering Nuclear, falling within the so-called “exclusion zone.”
Faced with opposition, the company scaled back their plans.
The proposal voted down on Monday would have seen two 15-storey buildings with 377 residential units and a smaller amount of commercial space.
Despite calls to reject the application outright back in February, city staff consulted with impacted agencies and the public to issue a professional recommendation.
“Our waterfront is one of our most treasured and irreplaceable assets. We have been consistent from the start stating that the bar was going to be very high,” said Deputy Mayor Kevin Ashe. “As a municipality, we are obligated to accept and process every application that comes through our doors. That should never be confused with endorsement. We rely on our professional staff, and the rigorous planning process they oversee, to guide these decisions. We rely on the public to provide input and participate in the process. We will have a successful city when we build it together.”
Developers have the right to appeal council decisions on planning applications to the provincial Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT).
Should this occur, staff are asking council to authorize them to defend the city’s position.
“Had the City rejected the proposal back in February, we would be ill-equipped to defend ourselves at the LPAT,” said Marisa Carpino, Interim CAO. “Instead, we gave staff the necessary time to review all of the information and generate a comprehensive report. As a result, we are prepared to defend our decision should the matter be appealed.”
In the end, staff decided that the proposal was too large, too dense and too tall for the area.
They also said the form wasn’t compatible or complementary with surrounding buildings and amenities.
Eight other, detailed reasons were given for rejecting the proposal– including that OPG is not in support of the application.
The city also says their Official Plan directs high-density development into certain areas and the proposed location doesn’t fall in one of these areas.
Staff also say they aren’t sure the existing road network would be sufficient to handle the increase in traffic brought on by the development.