How to prevent council from changing zoning in the episcopal district?
Thank you for your question. The
St. John’s Ecclesiastical District National Historic District of Canada was set a few years ago by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of
Canada and is overseen by Parks Canada. It is commemorative in
nature. The responsibility for administering land use and development in
any national historic district is the responsibility of the particular province
or municipality, as appropriate.
have three national historic districts in St. John’s:
- The Ecclesiastical District, which marks the various
downtown churches, convents, monasteries, schools and cemeteries that
helped shape the social and religious character of the community.
- The Water Street District, which extends from the
intersection of Water Street and George Street/Beck’s Cove westward to
encompass both sides of Water Street and the Murray Premises – this marks
the merchant history of the old seaport, our earliest commercial core
along the “Lower Path”.
- The Rennie’s Mill Road District, which runs along the
west side of Bannerman Park and marks the increasing wealth in the
community that could enable such an array of large, fine houses to be
of these districts is expected to remain static. They are still subject
to development applications, perhaps sometimes even rezoning applications, such
as the current application to rezone the Cathedral Parish Hall property at 68
Queen’s Road for redevelopment. Parks Canada wishes to ensure that its
Standards and Guidelines are followed in evaluating any proposed
developments. To that end, they have recently committed the City that
they would provide comment on any proposed developments that are referred to
appreciate the citizen interest in preserving and adapting our built heritage
to ensure that it endures, while providing opportunities for new activities and
developments that fit into our old neighbourhoods and which respect the
national historic districts.
1. Parking minima - I would like to see more types of land use that don't require a particular amount of parking. If there are businesses that are viable without providing dedicated parking for their customers, let them try it out! I am a transit user/pedestrian and parking requirements force buildings to be further apart than I'd prefer.
2. Townhouses, duplexes, and fourplexes are not qualitatively different from other types of dwelling and excluding them from the biggest residential zone (R1) is unnecessarily restrictive. There are five different types of apartment zone and eleven different types of residential zone. This is a very complicated regime, and (I think) excessively restrictive of people's ability to use their property.
parking minimums, we do have a provision for parking relief, where Council can
relieve some or all of the required parking if the applicant can show that it’s
not needed. We understand the concern that parking minimums mean
buildings have to provide off-street parking, on the property, within the
building, or nearby. The City has committed to reviewing all of its
parking standards in the St. John’s Development Regulations in the coming year.
housing types, different types of houses provide the same thing (a place to
live) in different designs and different densities. Some of our
residential zones such as R2 and R3 allow for a variety of house types.
However, past conversations over introducing more house types into the R1 Zone
(our most common zone) have not been well received.
We do have
the advantage of allowing subsidiary apartments in single houses in almost all
of our residential zones.
apartment zones have been created to help new development fit in to existing
neighbourhoods. A tall apartment building may be welcomed downtown but
opposed in a suburban neighbourhood.
thinking about the future of our city.
Hey folks - definitely many improvements from earlier drafts. A couple questions, and a couple comments (I know this is up for approval Monday, so not expecting changes, but maybe just flagging some things)
1) Section 4.8: Any particular reason for specifying a newspaper for notifications? Maybe mandated by the Act? Would be nice to include a mandate for distribution by electronic means etc. Unfortunately, given the current trends in the newspaper industry, these regulations may outlast the existence of a newspaper.
2) Building lines on arterial streets (Sec 7.2.2) - just curious as to the justification for such a huge right-of-way for Kenmount/Topsail/Torbay/Logy Bay Roads - all over 50 metres.
3) Comprehensive Development Area Zoning (P. 151) what's the rationale for these specific ones? Seems like a mix of greenfield and existing neighbourhoods, and doesn't match with the Intensification Areas from the Municipal Plan
1) Very nice to see that all development applications now require information on pedestrian/cycle/transit access. Big improvement. Same goes with the incorporation of tiny homes, and bike parking, and many other progressive moves. Well done on those.
2) Trees - it seems like section 7.6.1 would be the place to mandate trees for residential areas, but no mention there. In general, not very many mentions of tree requirements at all.
3) Downtown parking: I (and many others I'm sure) would be supportive of the removal of all parking minimums for downtown developments, or the waiving of cash-in-lieu :-)
4) Hardly any mention that I could find of the intensification areas marked out in the Municipal Plan - curious to see how that all plays out going forward.
Thanks Josh for your feedback. Responses to your specific questions/queries below:
4.8: Any particular reason for specifying a newspaper for notifications? You are correct that the
requirement of newspaper notice is written in the NL Urban and Rural Planning
Act. The City is free to use other means (and we use mailouts plus the
City’s website, Facebook page and Twitter feed), but newspapers are the minimum
- Building lines on arterial streets (Sec 7.2.2) - just curious as to the
justification for such a huge right-of-way for Kenmount/Topsail/Torbay/Logy Bay
Roads - all over 50 metres.
These numbers reflect the size of the rights-of-way on these roads.
- Comprehensive Development Area Zoning (P. 151) what's the rationale for these
specific ones? Seems like a mix of greenfield and existing neighbourhoods, and
doesn't match with the Intensification Areas from the Municipal Plan. Comprehensive development areas
or CDAs are different from intensification areas. The CDAs are areas
where conditions are not yet right for development, so they are in this holding
zone. In contrast, the intensification areas are already zoned and ready
for development; but if a developer is interested, the City is willing to
examine the area for opportunities to increased development density if it makes
- Trees -
it seems like section 7.6.1 would be the place to mandate trees for residential
areas, but no mention there. In general, not very many mentions of tree
requirements at all.
Tree requirements are regulated under a tree by-law moreso than under the
City’s Development Regulations.
- Downtown parking: I (and many others I'm sure) would be supportive of the
removal of all parking minimums for downtown developments, or the waiving of
cash-in-lieu :-) Council
is moving to restore the possibility of parking relief downtown – that is,
being able to reduce the amount of parking required for a specific application
if the applicant can show why the City’s standard is too high. That is
different, though, from removing parking minimums.
any mention that I could find of the intensification areas marked out in the
Municipal Plan - curious to see how that all plays out going forward. We will see how property owners
and developers move forward in those areas.
if you have additional questions or feedback, please send it along.
would it be possible to have this reviewed by the St. John's Food Policy Council or Food First NL to give feedback on the regulations?
The St. John’s Food Policy Council takes a systems approach to policy and planning to bring all parts and players of the food system together. The food system has five main elements:
Food Access: Ensures fair access and availability of healthy, local, and affordable food.
Food Production: Involves the growing, raising, catching, and gathering of food, as well as processing of food into market-ready and value added products.
Food Infrastructure: Involves the movement of food across the supply chain to address transportation, distribution, processing, and waste.
Buying and Selling: Follows the purchase of food from retail and wholesale sources, such as markets, restaurants, grocery stores, and institutions.
Eating and Celebration: Values the impact on community, social, and cultural health by coming together to prepare and enjoy food.
The main functions of the council are to discuss food issues, coordinate productive links between sectors, evaluate and influence policy, and support actions that address local needs and enhance the local food system.
It would be useful for the St. John's Food Policy Council to have time to review these.
Thanks for reaching out. City staff are happy to meet with the SJFPC to discuss the draft Envision Development
Regulations. Someone will follow up with you to arrange a time.
With regards to Section 8.5.4 - Cash In Lieu for parking requirements - how does Council decide upon the use of this provision and what recourse is available to residents of an area if they object to the cash in lieu decision?
As a resident of downtown who struggles constantly for parking space outside my house I am concerned that a developer can take a one-time cash hit which is knocked on to the buyers of the new development and then the residents of the area are left with the burden of additional cars with not enough parking space. This is a policy which clearly benefits developers and not the residents (tax payers) of an area.
application for parking relief is evaluated against our parking
standards. We ask the applicant to justify why the actual parking
required should be less than the City’s standards. The information may
include: examples of similar land uses and their actual parking; comparison of
St. John’s standards with those of other municipalities; information on
business hours (a business may operate at times when parking is usually
available in the immediate area); or other information. Staff evaluates this
and provides a recommendation to Council, which Council votes on.
where an application requires a land-use report (most rezonings and some
development applications require those reports), the information on parking
relief would be publicized when the report is publicly advertised, and public
comments would be brought to Council before their vote takes place.
In areas of
the City where on-street parking by non-residents is a problem, the City uses
its Residential Parking Permit Program. If this doesn’t exist in your
neighbourhood, we have a process to consider introducing one.
Has the city considered defining an historical significant period for different areas of the city that would help define the prefered style for development. For example, in the downtown, the two decades that followed the last great fire. It is a common practice by municipality in the USA. Once the period is defined, a developer or architect would have a period to draw inspiration from. Another practice is to provide a developer guide and outlines the cities vision for any renovation, redevelopment, or new construction. These guides outline the styles of homes or storefronts that are preferred, the period materials that can be used, height restrictions and preferences on what can be developed in which areas. These guides could help developers work with architects to design appropriate building plans that fit the vision of the city. You could have one section for each of the communities the council is hoping to promote in this plan. Different communities can have different significant time periods and their own architect style. Good luck and please make every effort to preserve the character of this city. I can send you some examples if you are interested.
for the heritage comments. The City does have a set of heritage standards
that regulate building style, exterior finish materials, windows, doors, steps,
fences, and so on. We also have guidelines for the Battery neighbourhood
and for Quidi Vidi Village.
older buildings serve as a guide for new buildings and development, and can
provide context for each street. We also have to figure out how to shape
modern buildings. Some developments seek to mimic the older styles or
take inspiration from them so that they fit in seamlessly to older streets and
neighbourhoods. Other developments seek to be completely modern, with the
reasoning that a new building should be “of its time” and not copy the last.
We still have to resolve this tension in the heritage areas.
examples you have would be welcome. You can email your examples to the Chief Municipal Planner if you would like.
What is the plan for demolishing the Nurses residence and developing the Grace Hispital site?
A: The buildings and land are currently under provincial
jurisdiction. While the City encourages the
redevelopment of this site it has no authority in this matter.
And now that I see I am already registered on the Envision St. John's process, how come you didn't email everyone who is registered to tell us about the open houses? I found out about it today - too late to go - from a facebook post by a candidate in the elections. Not from the city. Hmm.
A: Our open house was promoted though our regular communications channels, including city website, Facebook and other social media channels as well as traditional media such as the City's weekly ad in The Telegam etc. We typically don't use the engagestjohns.ca platform as a promotional tool. However, we are currently undertaking an evaluation of our engagement policy and process and this could change in the future. Please take a few minutes to complete the evaluation.
The Draft Development Regulations page does have the opportunity for residents to provide input. And we're working on having the presentation from the sessions added to the page. Also the draft regulations are posted on the page.
If you have any questions from either document post them on the page and someone will get back to you with a reply.
1) Where can we find the Subdivision Design Policy referenced in the draft?
The Policy is on the City's website stjohns.ca. If you require further information about the Policy please email email@example.com and we will forward your request on to our Department of Planning, Engineering & Regulatory Services.