On the Agenda for the Monday May 25, 2020 second electronic Council meeting: 42 public Reports, 8 closed Reports, 5 Notices of Motion, including the following:
1) Correspondence concerning the BIA,
2) approval of rezoning of 133 Ritson Rd. N. from commercial to residential;
3) approval of the Short Term Rental (Airbnb) new regulations;
4) allowing participation of delegations to Council's electronic public meetings;
5) Timetable for 2021 Budget meetings;
6) Licensing for pay-day loan establishment locations in the City;
7) Traffic calming on Britannia Rd. E. between bridge and Ritson Rd.;
8) approval of rezoning of lands on Wilson Rd. N. for Menkes subdivision (added potential for future fenced in leash-free dog park).
more details below:
1. letters from Oshawa Downtown Business Improvement Area (BIA) members requesting to suspend or return the BIA levy to the 2019 rate. A controversial issue, the motion which I voted to support and which passed (after several starts and shifts, much discussion and time spent consulting the City lawyer about the process) was for Council not to unilaterally made a decision without the Board first having a meeting with its members.
Imo in order to have a strong and healthy downtown it is imperative that respect, transparency and open communication must be worked on between the Board of Management and its members. City Council can rule to increase or decrease the Board's budget and fyi the BIA tax levy is calculated "by dividing the property's realty assessment by the total realty assessment of the commercial and industrial properties within the boundaries of the BIA and multiplying by the total annual BIA budget.“
That quote is from the Ontario BIA website and following it is imo an important statement: "IT TAKES A LOT OF EFFORT AND DEDICATION TO MAKE A BIA WORK". I am hopeful cool heads will save the day, there is a need to be forward thinking, and prepare for recovery and balance this with support for the struggle so many downtown businesses are going through.
In the meeting and it was confirmed in the answers to my questions to the Treasurer and Acting Council Chair Councillor Chapman that there can be a Special Council meeting called anytime in the next two weeks should the Board and its members not come to some compromise.
A battling board and its membership takes energy and time from too many, and negatively impacts not only individuals but the whole city.
I wish them best and hope their focus on the IMPROVEMENT of the downtown will prevail, after all it's why they are all together in the first place....their goal, not only individually and collaboratively for their own good, but for the good of the City...what the I in the BIA stands for makes them strong.
2. 133 Ritson Rd. N. The application to amend the Official Plan and Zoning By-law to permit the Winstone Development was approved. I had some pretty strong words about it and made a motion I hoped would find support. Oddest thing was the comment by another member of Council to my comment...we should go with the professionals with letters after their name. Sorry, I am not elevating my opinion over anyone else's but what I believe I was elected to do was to have oversight, and Council imo needs to take its oversight role seriously
My motion was: "The Site Plan for 133 Ritson Rd. N. shall come back to Council for review and oversight with a Report from Staff before the Holding is lifted." I know some members of Council supported it, but not enough. Obviously, we all have differences of opinion on the various contentious, complicated and sensitive issues before us. But thinking over yesterday's 11 hour meeting, I would really sincerely like to thank my colleagues for their yes vote on this one.
The only bit of real good news I learned on this Report (CNCL-20-33) was that the developers will be responsible for paying for any of the required road improvements at Ritson and Adelaide, not taxpayers. Oddly, I also learned the 3 storey townhouses will be 32.5 ft. in height...not much different from the 2 storey towns that will be 29.5 ft (seems the 3 storey ones will have flat roofs and the 2 storey one's pitched gable roofs
3. Short Term Rentals (aka Airbnb) will have new regulations and licensing in Oshawa. REPORT CNCL-20-59 has the details. I voted against one part of the staff report (concerning enforcement and imo the overreach of the city entering into a contract with a 3rd parting monitoring service, even though the initial cost is low it seems to me excessive to go beyond a complaint based approach) However, the 4 recommendations in the report were approved.
The number of rooms rented to 'guests' is limited to two with no more than 2 occupants in each...and to address 'party houses' the STR operators will be licensed on an annual basis and the license requires the owner occupied principal residences.
The STR license holder must comply with several stipulations related to fire safety, insurance and emergency contact requirements. There will be a 6 month period to raise awareness with the public on the new regulations and enforcement. http://app.oshawa.ca/agendas/city_council/2020/05-25/REPORT_CNCL-20-59.pdf
4. Electronic Participation at Council & Committee meetings
(I made this motion last year, and at the last Council meeting Apr 27 asked staff to implement this as soon as possible), Report CNCL-20-85 was approved, http://app.oshawa.ca/agendas/City_Council/2020/05-25/REPORT_CNCL-20-85.pdf so now delegations will be able to participate electronically in open Council and committee meetings. The regular monthly Standing Committee meetings which were all cancelled March 13 will resume starting June 8th. I attempted to have the City's Committee of Adjustment and Asscessibility Advisory Built Subcommittee meetings resume too, but the Mayor and Council voted down the 2/3rds requirement to bring it forward. Not sure why, as these are two Committees even actually could physically meet in person with social distancing, as they fall within the Province's 5 person limit.
5. Report CNCL-20-49 contains the schedule for the City's 2021 Budget meetings - Nov 13 for staff presentations; and Nov 27, Dec 4 & Dec 11, 2020 for deliberations and approval. But it does not include a time for an evening public participation budget meeting. It was the practice to have an evening budget meeting every year in the past, except for last year.
I pulled this Budget Timetable Report from the Consent Agenda and made an amendment to add an evening Public Budget meeting in November to the 2020 Budget timetable. However, the Mayor and 5 Councillors voted my amendment down..
6. The proposed changes to the business licences for payday loan establishments, contained in Report CNCL-20-76 were approved. Currently there are 18 in the City. There will be 'grandfather' provisions, However, the goal of the new business licencing for payday loan operations in future will restrict them to 2 per Ward and a total of 10 in the City.
7. Council approved two new stop signs and a radar board to be installed on Britannia Rd, East, just west of Ritson, at Stornoway and at Reke.
8. The Menkes subdivision plan for Wilson Rd. N. (north of Britannia) (CNCL-20-77 ) was passed. The plan includes:
185 single detached dwellings, 135 street townhouse dwellings, 499 apartment, block townhouse and/or back-to-back townhouse dwellings, one medium density block to accommodate up to 39 block townhouse and/or back-to-back townhouse dwellings, a Public Elementary School block, a Separate Elementary School block, a parkette block, and a neighbourhood park block
The amendment I put forward, that the proposed 4 acre park may include a fenced-in leash free dog park, was approved. Good because it is much easier to complete one in a new development than retrofit one in an existing built area. http://app.oshawa.ca/.../2020/05-25/REPORT_CNCL-20-77.pdf