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We are the solicitors for Clear Global Capital Limited (“Clear Global”), the owner of lands municipally known as 220 Simcoe Street and the beneficial owner of lands municipally known as 470 Water Street in the City of Peterborough.

We are writing to advise you of our client’s concerns regarding the City of Peterborough draft Official Plan (the “Official Plan”), which was adopted by Council on November 29, 2021 and forwarded to the Ministry for approval. Our client’s concerns are further detailed in the attached submissions of Ecovue Consulting Services Inc., our client’s expert planning consultants.

By way of background, Clear Global submitted a zoning by-law amendment application to permit the development of a residential apartment and mixed-use complex at 470 Water Street (the “Subject Lands”) prior to the adoption of the Official Plan. While the Official Plan provides a number of policy improvements, it is our opinion that the policies specifically related to the Central Area designation do not provide the flexibility needed to accommodate intensification and higher densities that are necessary to address the Province’s goal of increased housing supply, which is required under A Place to Grow: Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (the “Growth Plan”) and encouraged throughout the balance of the Official Plan.

Rather, despite the significant need for housing supply, the Official Plan imposes new restrictions on building heights in the Central Area, which severely limits densities within the Downtown, where growth should be directed, and significantly impacts the ability to develop the Subject Lands. Clear Global raised its concerns during the City’s consultation process and the City has failed to address same.
It is clear from the policy direction from the Province, and reiterated in much of the Official Plan, that the highest densities in the City of Peterborough are expected to occur within the Central Area, and in particular, the Urban Growth Centre.

Despite this clear policy direction, the Official Plan imposes a maximum building height within the Downtown Core Area sub-designation, which comprises nearly the entirety of the Urban Growth Centre, of only 8 storeys, subject to the application of step backs and/or a 45 degree angular plane. This is in stark contrast to the current Official Plan policies which encourage High Rise development with the Urban Growth Centre without any height limitations or restrictions.

It is our opinion that limiting height within the Central Area in this manner will only serve to restrict intensification and potentially prevent the City from achieving conformity with the policies and density targets provided in the Growth Plan. In addition, restricting intensification opportunities within the Urban Growth Centre runs contrary to one of the Province’s most pressing priorities: addressing Ontario’s housing supply crisis.

In addition, the Official Plan has failed to include any policies related to development within a Major Transit Station Area (“MTSA”). Policies related to density, land uses and reduced parking standards should be included in the Official Plan in order to fulfill the directions of the Growth Plan. The requirements for development within MTSA’s and the direction in the Growth Plan that growth occur within MTSA’s and other strategic growth areas, further reinforces the need to remove the height restrictions within the Urban Growth Centre.

Lastly, the Official Plan has failed to include appropriate transition provisions to address existing applications. We respectfully request that the Official Plan be revised to include the following transition provision to provide clear direction that the new Official Plan cannot be used to frustrate existing applications:

“The City of Peterborough Official Plan, adopted by Council on December 7, 1981 and approved by the former Ontario Municipal Board on February 23, 1987, as it read the day before approval of this Plan, continues to apply to applications for official plan amendments, zoning by-law amendments and draft plans of subdivision or condominium approvals made prior to the approval by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing of this Plan.”

Based on the foregoing, should the Minister proceed with the approval of the Official Plan, we request that the Official Plan be revised to remove the height limitations within the Central Area, and in particular, the Downtown Core, include additional policies related to MTSA’s and add appropriate transition provisions to address existing applications.

We are grateful for the opportunity to provide you with our comments and would be pleased to discuss in more detail.