Engagement Summary - Development Community and Landowner Interviews

Following the Open Houses and Workshops held on June 12 and 13, 2023, the Project Team met with various members of the local development community and property owners within the proposed Intensification Areas to discuss land uses, building heights, density, and opportunities and constraints to redevelopment within the study area. The comments received through those interviews have been summarized in the following themes and will be considered by the Project Team in conjunction with other consultation comments when preparing revised materials.

Proposed Building Height and Density

  • 12-16 storey building heights, and potentially up to 20 storeys, is appropriate at intersections of Montreal Street and John Counter Boulevard and Montreal Street and Rideau Street due to existing development and limited shadow impacts in this area.

  • Height and density shown at the intersection of Montreal Street and Railway Street generally makes sense.
  • Building heights up to 12 storeys will be required to financially support redevelopment of Outer Station.
  • NKT will need to incorporate flexibility for height and location of towers, especially for Outer Station site due to easements, heritage considerations, servicing and access requirements, etc.
  • There are several examples of 8 storey buildings within the study area that do not impact the surrounding properties. A height of at least 8 storeys is appropriate for many of the intensification areas as there would be minimal shadow or overlook impacts on surrounding residential properties.
  • Additional height should be considered above 6 and 12 storeys, especially at the intersection of Montreal Street and Rideau Street.
  • 3 storey height limits for intensification areas within the Residential designation should be increased to at least 4 storeys. The surrounding context around these sites, combined with the site of the parcel, can support building heights in excess of 3 storeys.
  • NKT does not currently have an established streetwall height of 4 storeys, so policies should not require this. The policies should speak to a maximum streetwall height of 4 storeys, but enable lower streetwall heights as well.
  • Floor Space Index (FSI) should be brought back as a density limit, without use of height restrictions, as this provides for greater flexibility for development and more variety of built forms across the area. If the City required greater certainty, FSI could be combined with minimum and maximum lot coverage regulations in the zoning by-law to influence building height without over regulation.

Land Use / Intensification Areas Mapping

  • Some additional properties were noted as being appropriate for inclusion in the Intensification Areas map, based on potential to redevelop, larger parcel size, limited lot consolidation, etc.
  • Landowners want long-term flexibility from this Plan, rather than being constrained by lack of permissions.
  • The Intensification Areas map provides clarity on where the Plan intends for redevelopment to occur, but there are redevelopment opportunities that have not been mapped. The Plan needs to include policies to acknowledge potential development applications outside of the identified intensification areas.
  • There could be challenges with lot consolidation due to perception of increased property value and constraints of existing lot fabric, especially for lands within intensification areas and designated as Urban Village.
  • Public road connections or pathways shown on private land are problematic as it can encumber the land unnecessarily. The Plan should speak to conceptual connections and be flexible on how those connections are implemented.
  • More clarity is needed on the future of the Wellington Street Extension. If the southern portion is not being constructed as a roadway, people should know the plan for those lands so that adjacent development can properly address the planned function and include appropriate connections.
  • To secure a new large format grocery store or other anchor commercial tenant as part of a redevelopment, the Plan will need to contain policies that permit large, urban format retail at appropriate locations in ground floor of mixed-use buildings. The policies will need to provide certainty upfront, as larger format retail uses need to be designed for up front. The policies need to be very clear to reduce risk or there will be no interest.
  • Aside from trying to attract a larger format grocery or anchor store, commercial developments should generally contemplate smaller retail spaces.
  • Commercial uses are easier to achieve than residential on contaminated lands, as the requirements for soil remediation are less cumbersome. Increased density on contaminated lands is important to make a project feasible.
  • Commercial uses should be permitted within areas of ‘Active Frontage’ but not required. The Plan could implement increased floor-to-ceiling heights in these areas, but not necessarily require a commercial use. The commercial market is difficult, especially post-pandemic, and these spaces could sit vacant for an extended period.

Building Typology and Tenure

  • Alternatives to the tower/podium design need to be considered in different parts of the study area. The tower/podium design is more commonly used in condominium developments rather than purpose built rental buildings. A simpler “slab” or larger floorplate rectangular built form is more conducive to purpose-built rental construction.
  • Buildings heights of up to 12 storeys should generally work for a “slab” or larger floorplate rectangular built form for purpose-built rental construction.
  • Eliminate requirements for excessive stepbacks as they complicate construction, increase construction costs and increase operation and maintenance costs. The simpler the building, the cheaper it is to construct and maintain, which could translate to lower rents or unit costs.
  • The 750 square metres tower floor plate needs to be expanded as this size floorplate is not economically viable in the study area. Enlarging the floorplate size will help ensure buildings are constructed and help ensure rents / unit costs are kept to a minimum.
  • The tower/podium design increases costs for construction and operation and maintenance, while also reducing energy efficiency.
  • Amenity area requirements outlined in the new Kingston Zoning By-Law 2022-62 are too high to be feasible, especially for purpose-built rental buildings. It was suggested that they be reduced to less than 10 square metres / unit.
  • Stacked townhouses are a good option to encourage larger units commonly requested by families, as they offer outdoor amenity space and economical construction such as wood frame with no elevators. There appears to be demand for larger units / family options in stacked townhouse form with building heights up to 4 storeys. The City should be considering back-to-back townhomes as well.
  • Proposed permissions or zoning regulations should be tied to Ontario Building Code (OBC) requirements, which regulates things like access requirements and construction materials.


  • Underground parking is more common with tower/podium buildings and is often not viable for purpose-built rental buildings. Surface parking will need to be considered by the Plan.
  • There may be below grade restrictions imposed on developments as part of the Record of Site Condition (RSC) approval issued by the Province of Ontario, which may prohibit underground parking. The Plan will need to take environmental conditions and restrictions into account.
  • Consider allowing parking podiums/above-grade parking structures and surface lots with design requirements and not just underground parking structures.
  • Consider reduced parking rates for purpose-built rental buildings, which generally require less parking than condominium buildings.
  • Consider allowing the developer to set parking based on demand from market, rather than zoning regulations.
  • On-site parking can be tucked away in smaller lots with appropriate screening and landscaping and does not always need to be underground or contained within parking structures. These can be privately owned and operated, which then removes most of the enforcement responsibilities from the City.
  • Reduced parking rates should be considered for areas with good transit service, good active transportation infrastructure and close proximity to downtown core. Parking rates of 0.75 spaces / unit or lower should be considered.

Development Feasibility

  • Many of the intensification areas are not economically viable in the current market as the rents/ unit prices that could be supported by the market would not provide an acceptable rate of return for the development community. Increasing the project density may not improve this situation in the near-term and financial subsidies may be required to close the gap.
  • The City should hire a cost consultant to understand the delta between the current market and point of market viability, then target strategies to close the gap.
  • Overall, the Plan is positive, but will require a long implementation timeframe.
  • City should explore other funding/grant options to facilitate additional residential units, with fewer restrictions than the current grant offered for affordable units.
  • Community Improvement Plans (CIPs) and incentives should be considered beyond the current Brownfield CIP. These expanded CIPs could focus on reducing costs for purpose-built rental housing, which cannot compete with condominium buildings due to longer-term debt loads. Other jurisdictions have experienced success with these types of CIPs facilitating more purpose-built rental buildings in their communities.
  • There is much greater risk for the initial few redevelopment projects before the market has been confirmed and financial incentives may be required to overcome the initial risk. Once successful developments have been demonstrated, other intensification areas within NKT will follow.
  • City should consider partnering with a ‘developer-for-hire’ model, where the City shares development responsibility for a period of ten years and then gets a portion of the proceeds at that point.
  • Construction costs are always shifting with market trends and new technologies. The City should not be formulating recommendations based on construction costs or techniques, but rather focus on what makes sense for building height, density, massing, etc. The City should let the developer focus on how to construct the building.
  • Encampments and Integrated Care Hub have large off-site impacts on the surrounding neighbourhood such as market, development potential and feasibility. These off-site impacts need to be addressed before redevelopment is to occur within the neighbourhood.
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