Recapping Last Week's Density by Design Engagement Sessions

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Recapping Last Week's Density by Design Engagement Sessions

In collaboration with City Planning staff and consultant Brent Toderian we facilitated a number of public events as part of the Phase 1 Engagement Plan for the Density by Design: Kingston’s Mid-rise and Tall Buildings Policy project. Over the course of the week we were able to connect with 200 + people on this important project.

At these events, we provided an overview of the context for the project, which includes sustainability, climate change, housing supply, challenges with the existing policy, heritage, transportation, strengthening areas of the City, unpredictable energy costs and changing demographics. All of these areas are interconnected and give us direction for ensuring that the policies meant to direct the design of future mid-rise and tall buildings are built with Kingston context in mind. 

Planning consultant Brent Toderian was in town to assist the project team in providing education to attendees about the various design elements of mid-rise and tall buildings, including height, thickness/width, orientation, stepbacks, and the importance of ground floor form and function. The presentation provided at the link below, which includes audio/video, explains each design consideration referenced above and explains why in-ward growth is a key element of sustainable city-building.


A new study completed recently in British Columbia links human health with the walkability of neighbourhoods, highlighting the importance of our work on this project and others that encourage increases in the density of development to support active transportation. The connection between building walkable, mobility-focused cities and the link to community health was addressed as part of last week’s sessions and found in staff’s presentation.  City Council’s declaration of a climate change emergency and goal to become Canada’s most sustainable city cannot be achieved unless we make smart city planning decisions that integrate multiple ways for people to move within and around the City (walking, biking, transit) and de-emphasize the movement of people by cars.

We heard through our public consultation last week that some of you are concerned about the City’s focus on taller buildings. I want to correct the impression that we are only looking at mid-rise and tall buildings to increase density. In fact, we have a number of initiatives that are ongoing to promote increasing density in more ground-oriented forms of development as well. For example, we are in the process of amending the planning rules to allow secondary suites to be added to residential properties and are working at supporting planning applications that integrate a variety of ground-oriented forms within a residential area including semi-detached, stacked townhomes, townhouses and small apartment buildings in strategic locations

This project will provide Official Plan policies to direct the development of mid-rise and tall buildings from a design perspective, because at present the OP does not do so sufficiently.  As with the other forms of development contemplated by the Official Plan, we will be weaving in the importance of cultural heritage into design considerations to ensure that the character that is so unique to Kingston endures and new development is able to co-exist in a compatible manner.

I encourage you to join the conversation at the City's Get Involved page. There you can receive project updates, ask questions and share ideas with the project team.

You can also email comments directly to Andrea Gummo, project manager at In particular, please send the answers to the two questions below by May 15, 2019. We asked these questions of attendees last week, and want to get as many responses as possible as we enter the next phase of the project. The presentation I mentioned above will help provide background needed on the two questions, and I strongly encourage you watch it and share with your friends and neighbours.


  1. What Kingston challenges, goals, or values do you most want to see reflected in our new approach?
  2. What do you think are the most important aspects of mid-rise and tall building design, and how would you like them handled in our new approach?

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<strong>Paige Agnew</strong>
Paige Agnew
Director of planning, building and licensing services
613-546-4291, ext. 3252

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