Downtown Guelph flats, beforehand rejected for being too tall, returning to metropolis corridor
A proposed residential development rejected nearly three years ago because it would obscure views of a downtown landmark is returning to city hall later this month.
At its May 26 meeting, the committee of adjustment is due to hear a variance request from Michael and Maria Finoro for 9 and 11 Cork St. W., where the property owner is looking to build a four-storey, 10-unit building. The variance being sought calls for fewer parking spots than are required under city bylaws.
There are also plans for eight bicycle parking spots on the property.
Should the project get the go ahead, the building at 11 Cork would be demolished. The application for the variance indicates construction could begin this summer.
The Finoros will be looking for a committee vote more in their favour than what they saw nearly three years ago.
In August 2019, the committee voted 4-1 against a variance request for the building height on the same property. At the time, the Finoros were looking to construct a building that would be 346 metres above sea level, when the bylaw stipulated it could be no more than 343.511.
The reason behind that bylaw is to prevent views of the Basilica of Our Lady Immaculate from being obscured.
According to an elevation sketch included with the new application, the Finoros’ updated project would sit just below that at 343.510 metres above sea level.
The original application first appeared in front of the committee of adjustment two months prior in June 2019, with the committee voting to defer it in part to receive feedback from Heritage Guelph, the committee tasked with advising city council on all things related to Guelph’s heritage.
The matter did not appear on the agenda for Heritage Guelph’s next meeting, with member Brian Skerrett saying at the time he had not even been made aware of the project until it first appeared in front of the committee of adjustment.
“Calling the impact on the protected view corridors a minor variance worried me, not simply because it was possibly inaccurate,” he said at the August meeting.
“But because it meant that a decision that would have profound and protracted consequences for the city was being made with minimal notice, minimal input, and minimal scrutiny.”
The May 26 meeting of the committee of adjustment is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. and will be streamed live online at guelph.ca/live.