Talbot Street comes 'full circle' with new zoning proposal

·2 min read

Talbot Street could be getting anoter beginning thanks to new mixed-use zoning proposed by Tay Township staff.

"We feel this review will provide the flexibility council was looking for," said Steve Farquharson, general manager, protective and development services manager of planning and development services.

The area, he said, has gone through multiple rounds of planning policy over the last 20 years.

"Last time it was reviewed in 2014 is when the Port McNicoll lands were coming online with Skyline," said Farquharson. "The intent of that was to create more mixed-use, but more commercial instead of residential. Prior to that, in the early 2000s, it was kind of a reversal, it was a lot of commercial and residents were requesting it go to mostly residential as opposed to commercial."

He said now the municipality has come full circle.

"We're looking to ensure that we have that flexibility to allow for residential and commercial," said Farquharson. "If someone puts low-rise apartments up and they want to have residential units on the ground floor at this time, and five years from now the market turns for commercial, they can convert those bottom units into commercial, without having to come in and amend any planning documents."

Considering public comments, he said, staff also looked at reduction in the setbacks.

"As part of that (request), we put policies in that the parking is all located in behind the buildings," said Farquharson. "Some of these sites are a little bit smaller and some of the existing zoning (calls) for parking off-site. If you can't accommodate your commercial parking on-site, you can have your parking located on another property as long as it has the same zoning."

He said the buildings on Talbot Street are currently vacant and not being used, mainly because of current zoning restrictions.

Coun. Mary Warnock said it was a great move forward.

"We're opening up some alternative housing solutions and more variation," she said. "Moving forward when we're doing our official plan, I would like us to look at all sorts of ways to get all types of attainable housing."

Coun. Paul Raymond also seemed eager to get on with the idea.

"What's the actual effective date for this?" he asked.

Farquhason said the next step would be for council to ratify the proposal at the end of this month before it's moved on to the County of Simcoe's plate.

"Because this is an official plan amendment, we will need county approval," he said. "They are aware of the application. I would anticipate we would get it as soon as possible.

"Once the county has fully approved the amendment and the appeal period has passed, then it's final," said Farquharson. "It will probably be about February before everything is said and done."

Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com