There has always been significant interest in how our community is shaped, and in some developments, community benefits have been negotiated by the City in exchange for increases in a project’s height and/or density. Section 37 of the Planning Act authorizes municipalities to request these community benefits where policies exist in their official plan, and Kingston’s official plan does so in Section 9.5.25 to 9.5.30.
The guiding principles behind these policies is that where a development proposal exceeds the allowed height or density, but still represents good planning, the City can request the developer provide community benefits in exchange for the increase in height or density. These benefits can include, but are not limited to, park upgrades, affordable housing, community space, or transit infrastructure improvements. These benefits are intended to reduce the impact on the immediate community from the unexpected increase in height and/or density from the development.
Kingston has been working to establish a road map for how we negotiate these benefits, as there is often uncertainty over how the process should work, or how it is supposed to be implemented. Guidelines are being proposed to create clear expectations for developers and residents about where and when community benefits will be requested. Our goal is to make the negotiation of community benefits a consistent and transparent exercise. We are seeking to increase community involvement and input in the process, and expect these new guidelines will create a more standardized approach to applying Section 37 in the pursuit of community benefits.
We are excited to share these guidelines with the community, and will be holding an Open House on Tuesday, July 25, in Memorial Hall at City Hall from 5pm to 7pm. There will be a presentation from staff providing an overview of the new guidelines at 6pm.
You can also review the proposed guidelines and corresponding official plan amendments that will implement them online at www.cityofkingston.ca/get-involved. If you wish to provide feedback, the project team can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to hearing from you!