Heritage Register–17 added!

I  posted recently that Council would be considering a Planning recommendation to move properties from the inventory to our Heritage Register.   We did.  At our February 27th meeting we  moved 17 properties to the Register; a couple recommended ones were deferred to allow for more discussion with the owners.  This is just a beginning.  There are about 500 more on the inventory to be investigated to determine if they should be added to the Register.  And, I am sure that several of the undesignated properties on the Registery should be designated so that work needs to be done.

At the 2/27 Council meeting two of the owners of properties moved to the Register made deputations to encourage Council to pursue a strategy of protecting heritage.  One person made it quite clear that adding buildings to the Register is not enough.  He talked about the need to consider and to protect the surrounding landscape.

This is a photo of one of the properties moved to the Register. 

 

 

 

 

There was also one deputation by a property owner who is not pleased with her property being added to the Register.  From her comments it was quite evident that she did not understand the implications; hence her property was deferred pending more communication.

I want to note that Council does have authority per the Heritage  Act to place properties on the Register without approval of owner.   To my mind, it is preferable that owners are supportive; hence I support giving owners adequate time and information to understand the issue.  Often property owners claim disapproval of the Register based on incomplete and/or faulty information.  I believe, however, that Council does have a responsibility to protect the built heritage as it enhances a sense of identity/place.  It is important to understand a community’s cultural heritage and history.  We need to create and maintain a diverse built environment.  Finally re-purposed heritage structures are a good indicator of a sustainable community.

Below I have provided definitions of a couple terms relevant to this issue.

The “inventory list” is just that:  list of buildings which have been identified by the Heritage Committee as possibly having value in terms of its architecture, its location and/or siting.   Being on the list has no significance in terms other than indicating that the building may have cultural value.

The “Register” includes buildings which are both designated and undesignated.  It is Council, on the advice of the Heritage Committee, who determines what is on the Register.

A building which is not designated but is on the Register is often referred to as a “Listed” property or as an undesignated building.  An owner of Listed property shall not demolish or remove the building unless the owner gives the Township Council at least 60 days written notice of intent to do so.  During the 60 days the Township can explore possible options and alternatives with the owner.  The properties we have just moved to the Register are not designated.

Designated properties on the Register are protected by a bylaw.

Mary Lake Estates–2nd OMB pre-hearing

The 2nd OMB pre-hearing on the development at Mary Lake Estates (or the Culotta property) was held February 24 as a revised draft subdivision plan had been submitted by the proponent.  It is against this draft the appeal to the OMB will proceed.

From my perspective the significant changes made are the interface with the current Kings Cross residents to the south and the size of the lots facing onto Keele.  The interface at the south is not perfect but much improved as there are now only 2 current residents with multiple lots backing onto their estate properties; and there are only 2 lots backing onto the one estate lot as opposed to 4 or 5.  The lots on Keele have been increased in size.

What has not changed is the proponent’s plan to build about 93 detached houses with lot sizes varying from 50-80 feet and 7 detached houses with a common driveway.  The proposed density is significantly greater than the density of the estate community abutting it to the south; specifically, the new one will be about 5 units/ha (2/acre) whereas the current community (Kings Cross) is 1/ha (.5/acre).  This higher density is consistent with the density assigned to it per the King City Community Plan.

How a density designation in an Official Plan gets translated into a subdivision plan has proven to be very surprising in this particular subdivision which has rich natural features.  The total site measures 24.9 hectares (61.5 acres).     Because the King City Community Plan is an environment first plan nearly 1/3 of the site, specifically 9 hectares (22 acres), is protected from any development (i.e. no houses, roads or storm water management ponds).  The near 1/3 is protected because of environmental protection features and the environmental buffers.

A key plank of this King City Community Plan is one of 30 meter buffers for environmental protection areas.  This high level of protection was later adapted into the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan.  This principle is wonderful.  But, what is clearly very unsatisfactory is that the proponent is able to “make up” the loss of land, so to speak, by pushing the houses closer together.  Think about  an extreme:  if the water courses and wetlands and their buffers occupied 23 of the 24.9 hectares, could the proponent build a high rise!

At the 2/24 pre-hearing two parties confirmed their registration as parties to the appeal: Villa Nova College and Augustinian Brothers who operate the Monastery; and Toronto Regional Conservation Authority.  York Region registered as party also.

Next critical date:  Council to consider Planning Staff recommendation on June 4.  Then there is 3rd pre-hearing on June 18; actual hearing scheduled to start November 5.

Sustainable King Public Forum

The draft plan for Sustainable King is completed.   To celebrate its completion and to provide another opportunity for residents and businesses to understand it and provide comments a public forum is scheduled for Wednesday, March 7th at 6:30PM at the Country Day School, 13415 Dufferin St., King City.  

Pending approval by Council in April this plan will be the strategic plan for King; it will set direction for the next 5-10 years and beyond.

As Chair of the task force leading the development of the plan I have heard every task force member say at least once, that this is a plan which is going to drive actions; it is not going to sit on the shelf and collect dust.  Accordingly, it is not just a grand plan with hundreds of possible actions, which if implemented, would make King more sustainable.  Rather, in addition to a long list of possible actions, priority actions in each of the 4 pillars (economic, finance, environment and socio-cultural) have been identified. We can start implementing the plan to become more sustainable immediately. 

The draft plan will be available to review prior to the March 7th meeting on line.  And, hard copies will be in the libraries.

If you have not got involved with the Sustainability Plan yet I encourage you to visit Sustainable King by clicking here.  And, do come on March 7th!

 

 

Protecting Our Heritage–new beginnings

We say that we value our heritage but to date there has not been a lot of real substance to support that claim.  Small steps are now being made.  I am hopeful that it is the beginning of a new trend!

In the 2011 budget there was funding to hire a contract heritage planner; unfortunately filling that role did not happen quickly but finally there is a qualified person in place.  January 16, 2012, Council approved a report by the Heritage Planner which recommended a process for addressing the long list of properties on “the inventory” list.  You can read the report here.

Execution of that process has started; and, as defined in that recommended process there will be a report before Committee of Whole on February 27th as to which properties, if any, from the first group assessed should be added to the Registrar as undesignated properties.

Why do I care about protecting Heritage?

Protecting Heritage is not just about protecting buildings or structures; it is also about protecting archaeological sites, streetscapes and landscapes.

Protecting Heritage is important as it enhances a sense of identity/place; it helps to understand a community’s cultural heritage and history.  It facilitates creation and maintenance of a diverse built environment.

Re-purposed protected Heritage is a good indicator of a sustainable community.

Here are some definitions or concepts which are important to understand when talking about “built heritage, specifically its preservation/protection.

The “inventory list” is just that:  list of properties which have been identified by the Heritage Committee as possibly having value in terms of its architecture, its location and/or siting.   Being on the list has no significance other than indicating that the property may have cultural value.

The “Register” includes properties and buildings which are both designated and undesignated.  It is Council, on the advice of the Heritage Committee, who determines what is on the Register.

A property which is not designated but is on the Register is often referred to as a “Listed” property or as an undesignated building.  An owner of Listed property shall not demolish or remove the building unless the owner give the Township Council at least 60 days written notice of intent to do so.  During the 60 days the Township can explore possible options and alternatives with the owner.

Designated properties on the Register are protected by a bylaw.

 

designated property at 12974 Keele St., King City (the Crawford and Maud Wells House circa 1900)

You can see here other properties which have been designated in King Township.

I look forward to showing that we really do value our Heritage:  putting appropriate properties onto the Register is a good beginning.

Long overdue….tree bylaw in King

I have heard concerns from a number of people about a project at ClubLink’s King Valley golf course to cut down a number of trees.  As the  project surpassed the limit allowed by York Region (YR) for tree removal without a permit King Valley did make an application.  The report from YR Environmental Service was tabled last week; you can read it here.

In addition to the actual application specifics the report serves as another reminder that King Township does not have its own tree cutting bylaw.  (King is one of the few, if not the only lower tier municipality without one!) This deficiency is certainly not due to lack of effort on the part of citizens, citizen groups and the King Environmental Advisory Committee during last several years.

At Council 02/13 under New Business, Councillor Mortelliti tabled a request for Staff to bring forward a recommendation for a  tree bylaw for King Township.   I know that there are some who doubt the wisdom/value of such a bylaw because of the real challenges associated with enforcement.  Notwithstanding this reality I think we need a bylaw as that is what will then drive appropriate stewardship training and education; also there is the possibility of including remediation requirements.

I think the timing for creating and implementing a tree bylaw in King Township is very appropriate as we are soon to be launching our Sustainability Plan.