Rodrigo here. Just wanted to take a moment to remind you that the City of Guelph has a community engagement platform called ‘Have Your Say Guelph’ ( haveyoursay.guelph.ca ), where the City regularly hosts opportunities for community members to speak up, be heard and help shape the direction we take as a growing city.
I cannot express how important it is for community members to speak up and provide your input. Yes, every comment matters and yes, it does make a difference. Especially if you have a dissenting view or can provide new perspectives or new information.
I want to highlight a current project that is seeking your feedback, and why it matters:
Comprehensive Zoning Bylaw Review – The municipality has two documents that direct how development and re-development takes place. One is the City’s Official Plan, which lays out the high level vision of what Guelph will look like. The other is our Zoning Bylaw, which is a very specific set of rules. This Bylaw dictates how wide driveways must be, the amount of green space required per lot, height restrictions, number of parking spaces per unit, distance buildings must be set-back from roads, etc., and it does so for each type of property across Guelph.
The City has started this review process, which will take a couple of years. At this point City staff want to hear from you about what parts of the zoning bylaw need to be reviewed, and then, they will do research and use your input to create a discussion paper with suggested options to update sections of the zoning bylaw.
Now here is the thing – If you really, really care about – say, the height restriction of buildings in your neighbourhood, but you don’t say anything, then the new bylaw could very well allow for much taller buildings than you want to have. And here is why it matters: once it’s in our zoning bylaw, anyone can apply for a development or re-development, and the municipality has to allow those developments, even if the community is against them.
If it’s legally allowed in our zoning bylaw, then the municipality can’t turn around and say to an applicant (whether it’s your neighbours who wants to build that extra large and tall backyard shed, or a builder making an entire subdivision) , ‘no, you can’t do this or that’. Sure, as your City Councillors we do check and require developments to fit into neighbourhoods, but if it’s allowed under our zoning bylaw, and we say ‘no, you can’t do that’, we are just inviting that applicant to take the City to an appeal tribunal and have that tribunal force the City to accept the development application. This is why our zoning bylaw is so important.
Check out this quick video about the review process:
Thanks for taking the time to consider this invitation to have your say!