Mid-Rise and Tall Building Policy

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Density by Design Banner


What is Density by Design?

Density by Design is the City of Kingston's project to develop mid-rise and tall building design policies. These policies will guide the future development of buildings of more than four storeys in Kingston to ensure compatibility with existing development. They will also outline specific architectural design requirements for mid-rise and tall buildings City-wide.

This project will complement other work the City is doing to support intensification and will provide clear direction on the design of mid-rise and tall buildings in the City. It will result in the preparation of draft policies for inclusion in the Official Plan.


Why does design matter?

Design matters because it shapes how residents interact with their City. Effective mid-rise and tall building design policies present an opportunity to support Kingston’s goal of providing more affordable housing options to residents while encouraging environmental sustainability and creating vibrant hubs of activity within the City. Furthermore, effective policies can work to conserve and enrich built heritage in the City.

Issues & Options Report

The Issues & Options Report presents the first phase of the drafting/creation of new policy for the City of Kingston that will guide the design of future proposed mid-rise and tall buildings across the city. The eventual new policy report will be entitled "Density by Design: Kingston Mid-rise and Tall Building Policy."

The purpose of the report, which has been prepared after a first round of public consultation and the review of tall building design guidelines and policy approaches in various cities across Canada, is intended to stimulate continued discussion between and among Council, key stakeholders and the wider community about related current or emerging issues. Defining and further discussing these issues will help the project team, made up of City Planning Department Staff and planning and urban design consultant Brent Toderian of TODERIAN UrbanWORKS, to work out what needs to be addressed in the policies. It will also help to shape a clear vision for the future development of mid-rise and tall buildings in the City.


Density by Design Banner


What is Density by Design?

Density by Design is the City of Kingston's project to develop mid-rise and tall building design policies. These policies will guide the future development of buildings of more than four storeys in Kingston to ensure compatibility with existing development. They will also outline specific architectural design requirements for mid-rise and tall buildings City-wide.

This project will complement other work the City is doing to support intensification and will provide clear direction on the design of mid-rise and tall buildings in the City. It will result in the preparation of draft policies for inclusion in the Official Plan.


Why does design matter?

Design matters because it shapes how residents interact with their City. Effective mid-rise and tall building design policies present an opportunity to support Kingston’s goal of providing more affordable housing options to residents while encouraging environmental sustainability and creating vibrant hubs of activity within the City. Furthermore, effective policies can work to conserve and enrich built heritage in the City.

Issues & Options Report

The Issues & Options Report presents the first phase of the drafting/creation of new policy for the City of Kingston that will guide the design of future proposed mid-rise and tall buildings across the city. The eventual new policy report will be entitled "Density by Design: Kingston Mid-rise and Tall Building Policy."

The purpose of the report, which has been prepared after a first round of public consultation and the review of tall building design guidelines and policy approaches in various cities across Canada, is intended to stimulate continued discussion between and among Council, key stakeholders and the wider community about related current or emerging issues. Defining and further discussing these issues will help the project team, made up of City Planning Department Staff and planning and urban design consultant Brent Toderian of TODERIAN UrbanWORKS, to work out what needs to be addressed in the policies. It will also help to shape a clear vision for the future development of mid-rise and tall buildings in the City.


We are asking for your input in the Issues & Options Report. Please submit your questions about this report below. Q&A closes January 31 at 4 p.m.

Q&A

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    Study on the future of Kingston Penitentiary proposed up to 3 building of up to 25 floors each. Since then there has been silence! Could you explain why? Is there any hope for anything happening on that property other than just crumble and decay?

    TimIrwin asked 8 months ago

    Hello! Unfortunately we haven't heard any updates either - since KP is owned by the federal government the plan was being administered by the Canada Lands Company. In my experience sometimes things move a little slower at the higher levels of government. We'll be reaching out to the community when we hear that things are moving again.

    Thanks!

    Andrea

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    I agree with several comments below about the need to be very skeptical about flooding the central downtown and waterfront area with high-rises. People visit Kingston because they appreciate the heritage buildings and the human scale of the downtown area. Multiple buildings of 16-20 stories in the downtown core are likely to significantly detract from Kingston's charms as a tourist destination. We have already lost much of our waterfront to high-rises - it is time to protect what is left. And let's not kid ourselves that high-rise condos will do anything to solve the critical shortage of affordable housing. If the experiences of London, England and Vancouver are anything to go by, a lot of these units will be bought be overseas investors and may never even be occupied.

    Nakaduck asked 6 months ago

    Hello! Thanks for your comments. We haven't seen any evidence of unoccupied units as experienced in London and Vancouver, luckily!

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    I have many reservations regarding high rise buildings, but one that I would like to mention here is the concern regarding architectural details and street wall design. As outlined in the Report, the city can regulate more easily quantifiable aspects of design, but it finds itself limited in what it can control and require regarding the enhancement of a building. This is an enormous problem, as we have seen. As one of the aims of new construction is to take a "made in Kingston" approach, could the city provide incentives for developers/architects to make use of the incredible artisanal wealth here in Kingston? We have people working in wood, metal, stone, paint, ceramics, glass, and more. Buildings could display--particularly on that street level--some of the talents of our own makers, and satisfy some important aesthetic needs: visual interest, the human scale, and a sense of place.

    Katherine Romba asked 6 months ago

    Thank you for the excellent suggestion!

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    I agree with others that have said that there should not be any hi-rises in the downtown. In addition I believe any construction in the downtown should be limestone in order to keep the downtown attractive. I understand Bath England has this by-law and it is a beautiful city. In my opinion there have been opportunities in the townships to build hi-rises that would have little impact on others. For example, the area behind the Cineplex Theater where the old Nortel building was should have been the new school and hi-rises along the retail strip with a green buffer between the existing houses, as there is hydro towers there anyway. The new hi-rise buildings near the via station would have been perfect if it wasn't for the few houses that where built there first. As you know hi-rise building require a large amount of infrastructure therefore these projects are much more practical when they can be planned for in the township areas. Thank you for all of the thought and consultation put into this ! Jason

    J.Bulch asked 6 months ago

    Hi Jason! Thanks for your comments. One of the most important considerations for high density development, which includes taller buildings, is that it is in areas that are not car dependent. Concentrating higher densities in areas with existing infrastructure is much more efficient, especially over the long term when these services need to be replaced.

    Thanks!

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    I've sent a full letter to the contact provided, but for the public, I think we need to (a) make sure we do our best to learn from global best practices and not repeat the same mistakes that other towns have made as they grow to become cities and (b) try to integrate populations of different interests and needs (eg. elderly, working-class, students) in order to avoid the unintentional creation of 'pockets' of special interests. How will the Official Plan do this?

    KingstonBill asked 7 months ago

    Hi Bill! Great question, and something we think a lot about these days in planning. One example of how we tackle the problem of greater social integration is to work with developers to provide a range of unit sizes within a specific development or building. This can help result in a mixture of residents of different family sizes and stages of life, as well as providing a greater range when it comes to the cost of housing. We also ensure that buildings provide shared amenity space to allow residents to interact with one another.

    Another example that I know you'll appreciate - we require secure, convenient bicycle parking at a ratio of 1 space per unit in multiresidential developments. As much as possible, we are working to ensure that people have options other than cars to move around the city.

    Thanks!

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    I understand that Kingston needs more housing. Why does anyone think that allowing sky-scrapers of high-end condos and apartments for rich people will help people of middle and low incomes? Hi-rise should not overshadow mid-rise and mid-rise should not overshadow low-rise. I thought that this is what Official Plans and Zoning Bylaws are for. I have attended numerous appeal hearings of such inappropriate proposals because various planners and Kingston City Councils would not say no to apparently influential developers sniffing big profits. Why can’t WHAT IS ALREADY IN A NEIGHBOURHOOD BE STUDIED AND CONSIDERED BEFORE PLANS ARE ACCEPTED? That is what responsible architects like Bruce Downey do. I haven’t noticed Mr.Toderian or those working on appealed projects working this way. Kingdton should prioritize mid-rise and low-rise housing for middle-income and low-income people, and allow high-rise buildings only where these are not over-shadowed or neighborhoods not disrupted

    Jean Gower asked 8 months ago

    Hello! We agree that affordable housing needs to be supplied within our market, but also understand that some affordability improvements may result from a general increase in supply. You're quite right that the planning policy deals with "transition" - in other words, changes from one prevailing built form to another, such as from mid rise to low rise. The work of this project will further refine those policies.

    Generally speaking, what is already existing in a neighbourhood is extensively studied and considered when Official Plan and secondary plan policies are created. It also typically forms part of the planning rationale submitted in support of any development application under the Planning Act.

    Thanks!


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    I am not in favour of flooding every part of the waterfront with condos, I know for each condo that is built it is an incredible amount of taxes collected per unit for the city coffers, however, looking at what the downtown waterfront looks like now (with high priced real estate stealing the view), I think we should we should be leaving waterfront (what remains), for those who want to enjoy that public space. As for downtown intensification, only those with deep pockets can afford to live there, and there really aren't many services (e.g. grocery stores, other than NoFrills) in the lower part of downtown. Downtown should only have lower rise buildings and they should include services or better yet an publicly funded art gallery

    Toad asked 7 months ago

    Thanks for your comments!

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    Will the city act to protect our downtown core from being overwhelmed by projects such as the Capitol Condo? Tourists from all over the world stop here to shop, done, and walk around our (mostly) pedestrian scaled downtown core. Large buildings towering over our historic streetscapes threaten this very large tourist industry which has kept our downtown thriving while other cities battle downtown decline.

    3aw6 asked 8 months ago

    Hello! A major reason for this project is to provide clarity around what is permitted in the downtown core, and the heritage character is a main consideration for this area. We also understand that tourists and residents alike benefit from having people living in the downtown core - it's part of what makes it a vibrant, exciting place to be!

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    I think developers are too focussed on the "downtown" and a too-narrow definition of "downtown" . These days, "downtown" should include the old city before the townships were added. The problem is that a lot of what could be affordable housing in Calvin Park, Polson Park, etc. is being turned into student housing. This puts rents up because several students going together can pay higher rents than a low-income wage earner.

    DIANNE asked 8 months ago

    Hi! Thanks for your comments. In the planning department we tend to differentiate between the Central Business District (CBD) and other neighbourhoods. We're hopeful that as the supply of housing increases in the city over the next few years, there will be less pressure on surrounding neighbourhoods and also less upward pressure on rents.

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    I've read most of the report and like what I see. On the question of parking; sadly we are wedded to the automobile and I see no major divorces happening soon! The downtown will have/has an excellent public transportation system, so is it possible to build parking offsite with easy access to it? How would that be received by the public? I live in a highrise on Hwy 15 and the amount of real estate occupied by autos saddens me. John Morrison The Wellington

    skipperjohn asked 8 months ago

    Thank you for reading the report! That is a great question. We do currently contemplate off-site parking for residential developments, provided it is in good proximity. We know that many people make use of the Kingston Transit park and ride areas, but hope that in future even more do!

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    I have read the very detailed report. Thanks there is a lot of good consideration for good design in it. A lot of the recommendations are great and looks like a good plan for working on density and sustainability. I do have a few questions 1. Are we going to stop the unsustainable suburban expansion on the outskirts of the city? 2. I see the justification for intensifying areas that are already built up to save on service and transportation costs. The report also mentions problems adding residential density to suburban areas due to the increased car dependence. Why are we not looking at all the poorly planned suburban areas and trying to increase density in the residential, commercial, and retail areas together. If we did this we could have multiple neighbourhoods designed as well as downtown. Perhaps this could decrease our current car dependency by making existing suburban areas more self sporting communities that people don't want to use cars in.

    nclaan asked 8 months ago

    Thanks for reading the report! In response to your questions:

    1. There are areas of planned growth in a suburban format, at much higher densities than in the past, within the City's urban boundary. There is no plan to expand the urban boundary to accommodate additional growth beyond what has already been planned.

    2. We agree! Our current policy framework encourages this approach of having services near where people live, and we're working to further refine this direction through this project.

    Thanks!


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    A lot of emphasis is being placed on the CBD but what about buildings along public transit routes? Wouldn't it be more environmentally friendly to develop more dense housing solutions along, for example, current express routes? This could come in the form of apartment buildings or increasing the density of existing communities, for example, take a look at the laneway houses being built in the city of Vancouver.

    Currys asked 8 months ago

    Hello! In fact, that's exactly what this project is looking at doing! Although there has been a lot of interest in how these policies will impact the Central Business District, they will apply City-wide, and a big factor in where density should be located is proximity to transit routes.

    Thanks!

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    I would agree with others who have already stated that buildings in the historic downtown areas of Kingston should be no taller than 6-7 stories. I don't mind that the buildings are a little taller in areas like Williamsville, but why are they all allowed to come right to the sidewalk without any setback? The Planning Department has grossly failed us in approving the half-dozen buildings presently under construction: they have created a wind tunnel that people will be complaining about for years to come, plus the buildings are all very basic and unattractive. Yes, we need more housing, but not ugly housing. Everyone deserves to live in attractive buildings.

    NancyCutway asked 7 months ago

    Thanks for your feedback! This policy project is looking at all of the issues you've raised - height, particularly in the downtown, setbacks, potential for wind impacts, and the aesthetic considerations of design. Stay tuned for a mapping application where you can tell us in more detail where various heights should be permitted!

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    Hi, I'm afraid my question wasn't fully answered. Yes, I do understand blank walls in streets will be discouraged, but will other public property have the same privilege? Will blank walls be permitted against parks, for example?

    Derek asked 8 months ago

    Ah, gotcha! Thanks for the clarification. That is a great question. Our report does focus on the street in terms of public realm, but parks are an important part of that too. I will take your comment back to the project team for discussion.

    Thanks!

    Andrea

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    1. If a significant part of this plan is based on climate change, why isn’t there concern/ bans on how close to the water developments should be? 2 examples : the proposed development for the woollen mill area(design just released). Looks great but it seems very close to the water. Another example is the elevator bay proposal. That is a disaster waiting to happen with the winds and the increase in water levels this is a very bad idea. 2. If the low vacancy rate is as the report indicates significantly impacted by the increase in student enrolment at queens, SLC etc why aren’t these institutions more involved with finding solutions? 3. Developers who come and call Kingston the potential Manhattan north do nothing to I still confidence in the high rise process. Kingston citizens do not want to be Toronto or Manhattan. We want to maintain the smaller city flavour. People have also,lost confidence in the city’s ability to approve attractive buildings. For example the 3 buildings on Bath road at the bingo hall. These unattractive buildings have nothing but parking lot, bingo hall and a storage unit. That isn’t quality community building that is building cheaply and just to provide housing.

    Lynchd asked 8 months ago

    Hello! We rely on our colleagues at the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority for advice on flooding hazards, which could be exacerbated by rising water levels due to climate change. It's important to remember that when considering flooding hazards, horizontal distance from the water is actually not the main consideration - the vertical measurement is the important one.

    We are required by Provincial standards to have a horizontal "setback" for development from the water. This setback is to support water quality, and is 30 metres or 100 feet for new development. Existing development or development permissions can sometimes lead this setback to be decreased.

    Thanks for your comments!

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    I understand the final policy may have some wording around preventing blank walls facing the street. I wonder if this might apply to all public lands, especially parks?The proposed Chateau Laurier addition is a good example of how blank walls can affect all public space -- not just streetscapes.

    Derek asked 8 months ago

    Hello! Thanks for your comment. This work does propose discouraging blank walls facing the street, both because of the impact on the public realm, and for safety considerations. 

    Thanks!

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    I’m all for mid-rise (10-50) condos near downtown. Can I request that the architects who designed Princess Towers not be on the design team?

    Markcstanley asked 8 months ago

    Hello! Did you know that Princess Towers was designed by renowned modernist architect Irving Grossman? The City has no ability to direct applicants on the architects they retain.

    Thanks!

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    What role does the Official Plan for the City play in your considerations?

    burfoota asked 8 months ago

    Hello! Great question. This work builds on the direction in the Official Plan, and seeks to clarify some of its requirements. Official Plans are living documents that regularly undergo updates and refinement to ensure public interest outcomes for the communities they cover. This project will result in amendments to the Official Plan in spring 2020.

    Thanks!

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    Why can't buildings higher than 3 stories be built at least one kilometer away from the shorelines anywhere in the Kingston area. Higher density of population doesn't need to be in the immediate historical downtown area.

    Randy Emmons asked 8 months ago

    Hi Randy!

    There is good reason to increase density in the downtown core, including to provide more options for people who wish to live there. It makes more efficient use of infrastructure investments the City has already made (eg. water, sewer, roads and sidewalks). People living downtown are more likely to be able to walk, bike or use transit and that has benefits for public health and the environment (ie. lower greenhouse gas emissions). More people living downtown is also an important factor for the success of small businesses operating in the core.

    In our Issues & Options Report, we talk about limiting height in the downtown core. This is because of the heritage resources and character of the downtown that are protected and must be conserved. We're looking for input on what those height limits should be, and it sounds like you'd prefer to limit height to 3 storeys downtown.

    Thanks!


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    I have read the report and have not seen any discussion of infilling and changing bylaws to allow basement apartments and wider driveways. This would solve some of the housing problems for folks with less income. The residents of these units would feel more connected to the community and enable a backyard for the kids. This is better than living in a high rise where parents have to go down an elevator to allow their children to get fresh air. Overall I thought the report was a good discussion of the issues of high rise buildings, but it is not the only solution to the housing crises. In a perfect world, we would build 3 story buildings with no more than 20 units to a building. Young professionals on the top floors (they have the energy to do the stairs), young seniors on the second floor (they need to maintain their health by doing the stairs) and older seniors, disabled and families on the first floor with direct access outdoors. Multiple buildings would be built campus style around a small park and community building.

    Linda Jean asked 8 months ago

    Hello! Thanks so much for reading the report. You're quite right that this project is not the only solution to the current housing shortage. 

    This work focuses on buildings 4 storeys and up - but we are also doing lots of other work in the planning department to help. For example, we've recently completed work to allow secondary units (which can be basement apartments) and to adjust our requirements for driveways. If you're looking for more information, check out this link: https://www.cityofkingston.ca/residents/community-services/housing/programs/secondary-suites

    Thanks!

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    Please advise people they have to sign in before writing comment as I just lost mine! Anyway you asked a question below about the skyline. I would suggest you designate sight lines for important buildings so that new building do not block them. Also make sure that long term shadows are not case.

    crawforddh asked 8 months ago

    Sorry for your trouble using the platform! We do currently have designated views in the Official Plan - check out Schedule 9, available at this link: https://www.cityofkingston.ca/business/planning-and-development/official-plan

    Thanks!


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    Why should anyone believe that City Staff are listening to the public, when it's obvious that anyone who wants to build something that exceeds the limits of the City's Official Plan gets approved? When the City employs Brent Toderian, it is clear that it wants an excuse for NOT listening to people who are opposed to buildings that greatly exceed the height limits. This is nothing but a fraudulent consultation.

    Fortean asked 8 months ago

    Hello! City staff are listening to you right now! Please do keep talking to us. The Issues & Options Report for this project is specifically meant to get input from the public. We are checking in at this mid-way point for the project to show everyone the work we've done so far, and to get input on some of our preliminary recommendations. Please have a look at the report and feel free to reach out directly with any questions!

    Thanks

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    I support policies which encourage the development of tall buildings, to provide more affordable housing and as they’re better for the environment than lots of new single family homes in greenfield areas. If 5-9 storey buildings aren’t viable, we shouldn’t limit developers to that size of building. In my opinion the restrictions on tall buildings around shadowing and general ‘do they fit in with the neighbourhood’ questions are too stringent and could be rethought. Kingston needs to grow and accommodate all its people, not be held back by wanting to keep everything looking as it did years ago.

    Claire asked 8 months ago

    Hello! Thanks so much for your comments.

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    When will the buildings on Queen Street be built ? Residents need places to live. . As a senior I would like to have the opportunity to live in a high rise downtown that has all the latest amenities .

    Richard 51 asked 8 months ago

    Hello! Thanks for sharing your perspective. If you're referring to the buildings proposed on the "North Block", that application was denied by the Local Planning Appeals Tribunal (LPAT), the appeal body formerly known as the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). 

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    The city drastically needs more affordable accommodation. Unfortunately I don't see this being solved by building high-rise condos in the downtown core. We have seen how that works out: lots of expensive properties, many of which are bought by outsiders or rich retirees. If we want affordable housing it needs to be built where property values are lower. Sites need good transit connections and sufficient room for tenants parking. There are a number of sites in the North end where high-rise story apartment blocks could be built.

    Nakaduck asked 8 months ago

    Hello! Thanks for your comments.

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    Hello! I'm concerned that downtown density changes contemplated in the upcoming review could actually not be intense enough to gain the attention of the professional real estate development community. Unfortunately, many owners of small downtown properties don't have the skill, capital or risk appetite to move from simple property management of our existing housing stock into the substantially more complex business of real estate development. How shall as-of-right density in the forthcoming plan be evaluated in advance to ensure the new density changes are actually sufficient enough to prompt the development community to respond by buying sites, to pull building permits, to put their shovels in the ground, to their cranes in the air and gain occupancy permits?

    ajkeilty asked 8 months ago

    Hello! Great question. We've identified that potential issue and are having economic analysis done to answer some of the questions around viability. Stay tuned for more information, and feel free to get in touch if you have input in the meantime.

    Thanks!

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    I have been pleased to see the number of three story multi-unit apartment buildings replacing three or four homes that used to claim the same footprint. The City seems to be planning these in reasonable areas. Towers are not necessarily supporting low-income people, as rents are too steep and developers look for prime areas (waterfront, historic part of the City) because they want to charge premium rents or sell condominiums in the $500,000 and up range.

    DIANNE asked 8 months ago

    Thanks for your comment!

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    If away-from-the-downtown locations are opened up for mid-to-high-rise development with a view to addressing the City's chronic shortage of affordable housing stock for lower-income Kingstonians, will the extension of high frequency bus routes to such locations be part and parcel of any such plan?

    Ron Hartling asked 8 months ago

    Hi Ron! Great question. To be clear, mid and high density development is currently allowed City-wide, subject to locational and compatibility criteria. Through this project we are working to further refine the areas where high density development is permitted. 

    We are working closely with our colleagues in transportation and transit for this project. We are looking at current transit service as well as future plans for that service and aligning our recommendations with that work. As much as possible, we want to make sure that people living in future high density development can get around without having to rely on cars.

    Thanks!

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    This city is in dire need of affordable housing. No one receiving financial assistance will be getting a raise from Doug Ford. A single person on O.D.S.P. receives $1100. per month. That includes rent. Ontario Works recipients make less. Which is more important to this city? A picturesque waterfront, and single-family dwelling-neighborhoods remaining the cozy enclaves they've been since the War? Or a place where everyone has a sustainable roof over their heads, even though the landscsape is blotted by a high-rise. Are the "haves" going to make the rules again? (see: condo towers on Ontario St.)

    aairov asked 8 months ago

    Hello! Lots of big questions associated with this work. Affordability is a fundamental consideration as we as a city come together to discuss what's important to us. Please be sure to let us know what's important to you!

    Thanks

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    How will this affect the heritage area ?

    Linda Morgan asked 8 months ago

    Great question! As with all of our planning policy work in Kingston, heritage compatibility is a major consideration for this project. At this point, we're asking the public for feedback on options for the urban design issues discussed in the report (including height of buildings).Thanks!

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    With respect to issues and Options report, I trust they are using the provincial definitions: low rise = below 10 floors, midrise = 10 to 50 floors and high-rise is over 50 floors.

    johnparks asked 8 months ago

    The Issues and Options Report specifically discusses how to define mid-rise and tall buildings for the Kingston context! Check out page 25. And what provincial definitions are those? We did an in-depth survey of the way that Ontario municipalities define mid-rise and tall and found lots of variation, but nothing quite like those ranges.

    Thanks!

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    Has a study been done on the housing capacity of the downtown with different height restrictions? i.e. give a set number of possible building locations, what is the expected downtown growth as a function of building height maximum?

    buidheo asked 8 months ago

    Great question! This sounds like a height map, where permitted heights are mapped across an area. This level of detail has not been produced for Kingston, but is something we are considering in the future.

    Thanks!

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    What's more important, low height buildings to make the old downtowners happy or a home for many people?

    Camel cartile asked 8 months ago

    Great question! One of the hardest parts of land use planning is weighing the various public interests that emerge for any issue. Certainly as a land use planner I consider core housing needs being met to be of utmost importance, but am also hopeful we can achieve multiple public interest goals for each direction we take as a City!

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    Why can't mid rise and high rise buildings be built out of the downtown core? We have lots of derelict, or empty lots that are close to downtown but not in the downtown. We need the historic integrity to encourage visitors to come to Kingston..

    Elinor Rush asked 8 months ago

    Hi! Mid-rise and tall buildings can, and are, built outside of the downtown core. We are very conscious of the heritage character of the downtown core and are working towards policies that will reflect that.

    Thanks!

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    Kingston has a huge problem with little to no vacancy for not only affordable but any housing. It's time to rethink the downtown area and allow high-rise buildings to be built. They could be required to have x number of units for lower income, which would start to alleviate some of the vacancy problems. It will revitalize the downtown area bringing more shopping, dining, and tourists. Everyone talks about growing Kingston, but then starts throwing all kinds of limitations. Isn't it time to move forward and change the rules regarding high-speed in the downtown core?

    Christine Hunter asked 8 months ago

    Hello! A big part to of this project is making development in the "right" places faster, including the downtown core. Thanks!

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    When is the city going to put an environmentally responsible building code in place requiring older building building to be brought up to 2R code, especially the heritage buildings. It should require all single glazed windows to be replaced with a minimum of double glazed, all wall to have a vapour seal and 2 " of insulation and no open cracks to let the heat out. People should not be able to live in homes less than 2R.

    johnparks asked 8 months ago

    Hello! The Building Code is governed by the Province, but we do give them feedback on it from time to time. Thanks!

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    Hi - I wrote a comment and clicked submit, but then this website asked me to sign-in, which appears to have deleted my comment without submitting it. That is very frustrating. The report is valuable and mostly readable, however when I tried to use your link in the Chrome browser, I couldn't download or read it: I had to use Edge. Could you provide a direct link to the document, in case a significant number of residents cannot access it? Looking at the vacancy rates alone, densification seems highly desirable and urgent, and the recommendations in the report seem a reasonable way of achieving that. The report is highly technical in places, such as the discussion of Williamsville's "angular plane" requirements. Perhaps it's too much work for your busy staff to produce some diagrams that would make the issues simpler for laypeople to understand? - Jon Clarke

    jondclarke asked 8 months ago

    Hi Jon! Sorry you're having trouble with the website. The Issues and Options Report is available at this weblink:

    https://www.cityofkingston.ca/documents/10180/37723011/Planning_DensityByDesign_IssuesOptionsReport.pdf/69c55c6e-b5ac-49ac-a3b1-31e11c6f81d2

    Great point about the diagrams. We are working on them, and will be providing more for our next round of public consultation, when we release the draft policies. In the meantime if there's anything we can clarify, let us know!

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    Corners should not be cut in constructions that will disadvantage disabled and marginalized people just because they are not there on committee to advocate for themselves, justify and demonstrate the importance of specific equitable features in design. i.e not including aids such as ramps and accessible, affordable apts and homes for those most in need. instead creating highend condos and hoping the rest of housing "frees up" for those who actually need somewhere to live not just a nicer place. What does the city mean by this statement? > "Design policies shouldn’t add significantly or unreasonably to construction costs and housing cost levels without demonstrable and justifiable public interest advantages."

    Kingston00 asked 8 months ago

    Hello! This is a great point, thank you. Barrier-free accessibility is absolutely a "justifiable public interest advantage". As land use planners, our job is to make recommendations to decision makers based on what serves the public interest. This includes special consideration for marginalized groups, and ensuring that access standards are met. 

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    How does the plan/or future plan, protect the important city scape downtown? The historic downtown is critical to our attracting tourism. How does any plan protect the skyline, the important buildings ie St Gs cathedral, St Mary’s, City Hall etc?

    Morley Burwash asked 8 months ago

    Great question! The Official Plan has views it protects, including of important buildings like City Hall, but does not speak specifically to the skyline as a whole. What do you want our skyline to look like?

    Thanks!

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    How can zoning changes with respect to housing density help serve to address Kingston's chronic shortage of affordable housing?

    Ron Hartling asked 8 months ago

    Thanks for your question! Increasing density permissions can provide more affordable housing by creating efficiencies in land development and construction. Ideally these efficiencies are passed on to the consumer with lower prices. An increase in the supply of housing can also keep costs down, which often results from zoning changes to allow greater density.