Here’s an update from Kitchissipi Ward candidate Jeff Leiper on the matter of Mizrahi Developments seeking a zoning exemption to allow them to build a 12-storey tower on “brownfield” land in Wellington West:
On May 6, Councillor Katherine Hobbs will bring to the City’s finance committee her motion to pay 100% of the cleanup costs for Toronto developer Mizrahi’s proposed Island Park/Richmond building (report attached below). The developer already has the Councillor’s enthusiastic support to exceed the height limit on the property that was recently established in the West Wellington Community Design Plan. Now, she’s asking Ottawa taxpayers to sweeten the pot for no particularly good reason.
Looking past the (perhaps valid) electioneering, Mr. Leiper highlights a potentially distrubing development. The properties upon which Mizrahi is looking to build are contaminated. Under the current brownfields policy, the city will pay 50% of cost of the clean up (and Mizrahi will get an exemption to exceed the Community Design Plan limit of six storeys, allowing them to build up to nine storeys).
Mr. Leiper notes that Ms. Hobbes’s motion does not stipulate that Mizrahi will have to adhere to the CDP. This would appear to be a giant give-away; the city would pay for all the clean up, and Mizrahi would build an undesirably tall building (according to the CDP).
Thankfully, when asked, Ms. Hobbes clarified:
There is confusion about my motion for brownfield clean-up at 1451Wellington; it’s solely to ensure CDP is followed! http://t.co/Ue0m7XgL8L
— Katherine Hobbs (@Katherine_Hobbs) April 30, 2014
This doesn’t make it a good idea–and it’s not a good precedent to set, changing zoning laws during the application process–but it might turn out to be a reasonable compromise.