Engagement Summary - Questions & Responses

The following summarizes the responses to verbal and written questions received during the virtual and in-person Open House and Workshop events, held on June 12 and 13, 2023, respectfully. There were approximately 40 participants during the virtual Zoom event and approximately 35 participants during the in-person event, which was held at The Broom Factory, 305 Rideau Street. This document also includes responses to questions sent to NKTplan@cityofkingston.ca following the virtual and in-person events.

Virtual Event Questions

Will the final plan go to Planning Committee before it goes to Council?

Yes, the final technical studies will be presented to Planning Committee before being presented to Council for endorsement. It is important to note that the formal Official Plan Amendment process to adopt the North King’s Town Secondary Plan will be initiated after Council endorsement of the technical studies and will require formal public notification and statutory public meeting at Planning Committee before returning to Council for a decision. The formal Official Plan Amendment adoption process will occur later in 2024.

How will this plan ensure high-quality architectural design for new developments within the character areas? The More Homes Built Faster Act has changed a lot of the planning framework since 2017-19, how will this plan account for the changes while protecting high-quality building design?

Secondary Plans can help describe and define the character of the areas in which new development would be situated and urban design guidelines can be included within a secondary plan to provide guidance on each application. The changes to the Site Plan Control with respect to regulating exterior design make implementing these guidelines more difficult. Built form policies and zoning provisions, in terms of building heights, stepbacks and massing, can also help to implement design.

Concerning narrowing of Site Plan Control, has the City explored alternative approaches to design policy, such as Form-Based Codes or Community Development Permits?

At this time, the City has not explored other alternatives as the provincial planning process and legislation continues to evolve. However, the City is exploring how zoning can help ensure good design through tower/podium designs, maximum building heights, stepbacks, setbacks, etc.

What impact has the opening of the Waaban Crossing had on traffic patterns in the study area?

The Waaban Crossing was included in the 2019 modelling and will be carried forward into the revised modelling. The modelling in 2019 showed that the opening of the Waaban Crossing would result in elevated traffic through the study area. Staff are currently conducting traffic counts at intersections in the area and will integrate any additional findings into the work moving forward.

What is the justification for removing the Environmental Protection Area designation on the 30 m "ribbon of life" and replacing this with an Open Space designation?

This mapping change is being proposed to be consistent with Official Plan Amendment Number 82 adopted in conjunction with the recently approved Kingston Zoning By-Law 2022-62. The lands within 30 metres of a waterbody are referred to as ‘riparian areas’. The amendment removed these lands from the mapping associated with the Environmental Protection Area designation, in favour of enhanced text-based policies relating to environmental protection in Sections 3.9 and 6.1 of the Official Plan. The amendment changes the method of protection, from a map-based approach to a text-based approach, but not the extent of protection for these features.

As a dual residential owner in the neighbourhood, will there be a preferred developer? Also, what is the anticipated impact on the unhoused community?

The properties identified on the draft Intensification Areas Map are owned by a wide variety of property owners and have not been identified because a specific developer owns them. The lands were largely identified because of their characteristics such as size, redevelopment potential, proximity to transit routes and active transportation infrastructure and potential to create a node or hub.

The NKT Secondary Plan seeks to create a wide variety of housing options within the study area, primarily by creating opportunities for a significant number of new units of varying sizes, forms and tenures. Housing and Social Services staff are actively involved with housing services and programs in the community and if there are specific questions related to members of the unhoused community, residents are requested to contact housing@cityofkingston.ca.

The City's Official Plan on Schedule 9 shows an existing Heritage Character Area referenced as the St. Lawrence Ward. Is the thought that this area would be recognized and perhaps expanded given how many unprotected properties there are across the secondary plan area?

The character areas identified in the draft Cultural Heritage Study would incorporate the St Lawrence Ward, with a slightly different boundary. The character areas identify concentrations of properties that deserve conservation.

Does the new provincial legislation allow municipalities to have urban design guidelines?

Municipalities are able to develop urban design guidelines, however the recent changes to the Planning Act have impacted their implementation. The intent is to bring some aspects into policy or zoning regulation while leaving other details as guidelines or recommendations. Staff will continue to ensure development applications conform to requirements and provide recommendations for improvements where appropriate.

The slides relating to transportation did not include the current environmental assessment for the cycling/pedestrian route to over John Counter Boulevard and Division Street. Is this not a factor for transportation for NKT?

The John Counter Boulevard Pedestrian Bridge study is a site-specific Environmental Assessment process separate from the work being undertaken as part of the NKT Secondary Plan. A project page for the Pedestrian Bridge is available on Get Involved Kingston where residents can sign up for updates and provide feedback along the way.

Are the City's properties in NKT available to see on a map? Could this map be provided?

Staff can produce a map showing city-owned lands. This map was not included in the presentation deck, but city-owned lands are public information. Residents are requested to reach out to NKTplan@cityofkingston.ca if they are interested in receiving this information.

Will there be any 'green building' design principles incorporated in the new plan?

This is a topic that can be further incorporated into policy development moving forward to encourage future development applications to include. Staff cannot direct what building materials or methods a development must utilize, but can work with applicants to encourage ‘greener’ elements and designs.

Do you agree that your intensification areas clearly show that there is lots of potential for intensification without clearcutting wooded areas?

Many of the proposed intensification areas are vacant or underutilized lands that were previously cleared of vegetation. This is not to say that redevelopment within NKT will not require any tree removals, as portions of some intensification areas have started to re-vegetate due to lack of activity. Tree removals may be required within these areas, especially to comply with requirements to remediate potential contamination. This being said, the City will work with development applications to protect existing vegetation, where possible, and provide replacement trees in areas suitable for their long-term retention.

Two related questions: (1) In the early phase of this project, I believe that Belle Park was not included in the study area. Could you explain the reasoning for now including the park in the study area? (2) Given the extensive and important shoreline in the study area and the massive green space of Belle Park, in what ways can the planning process address the potential for development to enhance or diminish biodiversity in the city? Is it possible to attend explicitly to ecological factors as a key element of development, including mitigation of the effects of climate change.

Belle Park and Belle Island were both initially included in the early work associated with Phase 1 of NKT, but Belle Island was later removed from the study area to reinforce that Belle Island is “Not available for development or other changes that are not in keeping with the Belle Island Accord”. Phase 2 of NKT continues this approach. NKT identifies Belle Park as being part of the Open Space network and is not proposing any development within the park. The open space and natural heritage policies and environmental protection mechanisms would continue to apply to those lands. NKT recognizes that Belle Park has its own master plan endorsed by Council, and would defer to the master plan for any improvements or programming changes. For more information about the Belle Park Master Plan, please contact Engineering@cityofkingston.ca.

As an owner of a property that have been identified as having intensification potential will I be forced to sell my property?

No, residents would not be forced to sell their property. If residents received a notice as a property owner within one of the proposed intensifications areas, they are requested to email NKTplan@cityofkingston.ca to arrange a time to discuss any questions or concerns with staff.

Is the proposed development at 275 Queen St. included within the study area for NKT?

The portion of the property located at 275 Queen Street that abuts Colborne Street was previously located within the NKT study area boundary. The study area boundary has been revised to follow property lines to provide clearer policy direction for development applications and avoid situations where a portion of the property is subject to one set of policies while the balance of the lands is subject to a different set of policies. As the majority of the lands were previously excluded from the study area boundary the decision was made to exclude the entire landholding to minimize policy conflict. As such, the property known as 275 Queen Street is no longer included within NKT.

In Person Questions

Why was there no land acknowledgement before the presentation?

Moving forward, the NKT project team will undertake a land acknowledgement before all future public consultation events.

The presentation material associated with the Cultural Heritage Study did not include content on indigenous ways of knowing, traditions or treaty rights, and mentions of indigenous culture were associated with “intangible heritage”. The ‘character areas’ and neighbourhoods are linked to commercial aspects and not aligned with indigenous principles. Who is providing an indigenous perspective for this project?

The previous project team held Talking Circles with members of the local indigenous community to understand important issues and to gather ideas on how indigenous perspectives could be incorporated into NKT. It was noted that ceremony spaces, regeneration of natural systems, public access to the waterfront and fostering a sense of stewardship were all important elements. It was further noted that access to water and understanding how the landscape has changed over time was also important. Additional indigenous consultation will be held to incorporate indigenous perspectives to the project.

How will the North King’s Town Secondary Plan address the immense unhoused population within the study area?

NKT will be creating opportunities for a wide variety of housing options to be established within the study area, from low rise residential buildings such as single detached dwellings to mid- and high-rise residential buildings. NKT will be encouraging rental and private ownership forms of housing. From a land use perspective, affordable dwelling units are the same as other dwelling units, being a residential use. NKT can review additional incentives to include affordable units within development applications, building on the parking reduction incentive already incorporated into the recently approved Kingston Zoning By-Law Number 2022-62. Staff in Housing and Social Services are actively working with the encampment and unhoused communities and are involved in the delivery of a variety of housing programs and services. Any specific questions relating to the creation of affordable housing units or the encampments should be directed to housing@cityofkingston.ca.

There have been rumors within the neighbourhood that the Integrated Care Hub will be relocating and potentially expanding. What information can the City share on this topic?

The NKT project team does not have any information to share on the operation or future plans of the Integrated Care Hub. The focus of NKT is on broader land use, transportation and servicing issues, rather than the operation of a specific facility. Specific questions relating to the Integrated Care Hub would be best directed to staff in Housing and Social Services at housing@cityofkingston.ca.

Several community members who participated in the policy development of the Williamsville Main Street Study felt that their concerns and feedback was ignored in the final document. Why should residents in North King’s Town trust that the City will listen to their concerns and feedback for this planning study?

The update to the Williamsville Main Street Study incorporated community comments and concerns relating to maximum building heights, location of taller buildings, increased setbacks from Princess Street to enhance the pedestrian realm, increased opportunity for parks and parkettes within Williamsville and revisions to ensure functional ground floor commercial uses. The NKT Open Houses that were organized on June 12 and 13, 2023, are an indication of early consultation with the community on the updated documents. Staff are actively seeking comments and feedback for consideration as the project moves forward.

What will NKT do to ensure the study area is accessible for all users, including those in motorized wheelchairs? Motorized wheelchairs who are not welcome on the sidewalk by pedestrians and sidewalks are not designed for wheelchairs as they often are missing ramps and connections. Wheelchair users are often fined for utilizing on-street bicycle lanes. Where are wheelchair users supposed to go?

The transportation technical study being carried out as part of the NKT Secondary Plan will consider and evaluate recommended improvements for all users, including personal mobility device users. These recommendations will consider pedestrian network improvements such as new or widened sidewalks, walkways, and multi-use pathways, as well as intersection upgrades to improve accessibility.

Persons using mobility devices including motorized wheelchairs and scooters are considered pedestrians under the Highway Traffic Act. If available, the sidewalk or multi-use pathway should be the first choice for persons using a personal mobility device.

The City has identified future plans for a detailed review of our active transportation-related by-laws, including consideration and clarification for where various modes of travel may be permitted in the city. There are no committed timelines for this work at this time, but we have noted and included your feedback for consideration as part of this review.

Has the project team considered hiring an indigenous consultant to ensure the project adequately consults and incorporates indigenous perspectives? The project team has hired consultants for other aspects of the project, it seems appropriate to hire a consultant for this important aspect of the project as well.

The Community Working Group associated with the project has a representative from the local indigenous community, which the project team went to great efforts to ensure was filled. Staff do plan for additional consultations with the local indigenous community and would be interested to receive contacts of individuals who could help facilitate those consultations.

Written Comments from In-Person

The City and local institutions work in tandem to keep “The Swamp” down! There are 2 churches north of Princess and 13 south of Princess. The City has traffic blasting through the commercial corridor on Montreal at Ragland Road. Nothing has been done to improve the neighbourhood.

Places of worship are identified as permitted uses in a variety of zones already in place within the study area. The City is reviewing traffic patterns and mitigation strategies, including active transportation improvements, through the transportation study associated with NKT. The City has received comments on various aspects that the Community would like to see improved within the study area that will be taken into consideration.

Environmental and social equity need to be prioritized in this neighbourhood, as well as accessible, active mobility options for everyone, of all ages and abilities.

With respect to social equity, NKT will be identifying a wide variety of housing options within the study area and providing guidance on where institutional and community facilities can be located. The transportation study will be evaluating various improvements with an emphasis on active transportation and transit options for all ages and abilities. Many of the proposed intensification areas are proposed for former industrial lands and will require remediation, resulting in an improved environmental condition. Further, the redevelopment of previously disturbed sites reduces the pressure on ‘greenfield’ lands and surrounding environmental features.

Email Questions

When was the public consulted on the six and 12 story urban village hub proposed at the intersection of Montreal and Railway? Is the zoning change basically already a done deal? How much of these lands are zoned for six storey vs 12 storey?

The Open Houses held on June 12 and 13, 2023 were part of the consultation process associated with NKT. The events were intended to re-introduce the NKT project to the public and to collect feedback on the updated land use plan, intensification areas, and building heights for further refinement. The materials presented are in ‘draft’ format and are not being recommended for approval and should not be considered as ‘final’. The majority of the lands at the Montreal Street and Rideau Street intersection are proposed to have maximum building heights of 6 storeys, with a limited number of 12 storey towers focused around the intersection to increase density within the node. Comments can be emailed to NKTplan@cityofkingston.ca

Is there a report I can look at from Phase One?

This document was removed from the City’s website as it was prepared prior to current accessibility standards. An electronic copy of the Phase 1 “Visioning Report and Preliminary Market Analysis” can be requested by emailing NKTplan@cityofkingston.ca.

Could you please re-load the digital materials from the Belle Park Master Plan onto the city website (they are currently by request only), and maybe add a link from the NKT project page? I understand this is a separate project, however, these two projects are deeply interconnected.

Similar to the response above, this document was removed from the City’s website as it was prepared prior to current accessibility standards. Please use the ‘Submit Request’ button that appears when trying to open the document to receive a copy of the Belle Park Master Plan. Staff would prefer to keep the two projects separate to avoid confusion; residents are asked to send specific questions or comments relating to Belle Park Master Plan to Engineering@cityofkingston.ca.

Looking at the maps and listening to the discussion about developing "corridors" helped me to articulate something that I have felt about the neighborhood: It feels like a corridor. Outside of the Skeleton Park area, most of NKT feels and functions as a path from the 401 to downtown and I'm concerned that intense development along the current corridors, along with increased traffic from the Waaban Crossing, without some sort of design considerations will only intensify this feeling.

The intensification areas have been proposed to create nodes of development within the study area. The proposed building heights within these nodes are generally a maximum of 6 storeys with a 4 storey street wall, which is intended to create buildings that are more pedestrian-scale in nature. Future NKT work will include consideration of setback requirements along street frontages to ensure sufficient space can be provided for pedestrians, street trees and street furniture to help contribute to placemaking. The requirement for ground floor commercial uses is further intended to create a more vibrant pedestrian experience and to provide services and amenities to residents.

I would like to see in the plan some suggested locations or acknowledgment of a need for one or more "Village Square" type areas. Since this is a long corridor from downtown to Highway 401 / Waaban Crossing, there is a sense, even among residents, that this is a place to pass through. A village square is different from a park or greenspace, it is like a public patio and less like a yard and contributes to connections between people. Perhaps this could be considered at the old train station? I could see a small museum, library branch, and public space combined with a few tall residential developments to raise capital, such as the Distillery District or Evergreen Brickworks in Toronto.

This comment will be taken into consideration as the project team moves into policy development. This comment has been shared with staff in Parks for their awareness.

It was noted during the presentation that the Environmental Protection Area (EPA) designation along the waterfront would be changed to Open Space. The City’s Parkland Dedication By-law states that EPA areas cannot be given as parkland for developments. Does the Parkland Dedication By-Law allow Open Space areas to be accepted as parkland?

The City’s Parkland Dedication By-Law does not accept Environmental Protection Area (EPA) lands as parkland dedication contributions, but would accept lands designated Open Space provided the lands are suitable for recreational purposes. The Parkland Dedication By-Law differentiates between EPA and ‘Buffer Lands’, with the latter being sensitive lands that are not well suited for development but could support low-impact recreational uses such as appropriately designed trails and pathways. Shoreline wetland areas would be considered EPA and not accepted as parkland, whereas more upland areas that are within 30 metres of the high water mark have typically been interpreted to be ‘Buffer Lands’ and accepted as parkland dedication to help fulfill the long-standing municipal goal of enhancing public access to the waterfront.

Is the City planning on doing any traffic counts (vehicles and cyclists) on Montreal Street and the Waaban Crossing? I see a number of cyclists riding on Montreal Street and the Waaban Crossing, using both the multi-use path on the bridge and the on-street bike lanes. The City would be making a disappointing mistake not including cycling lanes on Montreal Street.

Yes, staff are currently conducting traffic counts at intersections in the area and will integrate any additional findings into the work moving forward. On-road cycling lanes are currently in place on Montreal from Ordnance Street north to Highway 401. An additional off-road pathway connection has been identified to connect the K&P trail to the Waaban Crossing and Montreal Street bicycle lanes near the Railway Street and Montreal Street intersection.

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