City passes new rules to limit parking lots, drive thrus on LRT route

Councillors passed an interim bylaw for the LRT line Wednesday to limit developments that aren’t conducive to the city’s LRT vision during the lead up of the transit system being built.

City wants to make sure developments make the most of LRT's potential

City Council voted Wednesday night to enact an interim control bylaw that would restrict the types of developments along the LRT line. (Steer Davies Gleave)

The city has a vision of the sort of development it wants to see along the LRT corridor – and it doesn't include parking lots.

Councillors passed an interim control bylaw for the LRT route Wednesday night, which would limit developments along it that aren't conducive to the city's LRT vision during the lead up to the transit system being built.

That includes things like gas stations, drive-thrus, and single-family homes on parcels of land that could house more lucrative developments.

"Do we really want a DQ drive thru where an eight-storey mixed use space should be with an LRT stop?" Ward 2 Coun. Jason Farr said.

The city says it wants the right projects to be built along the King Street corridor — namely, not ones that focus on car traffic. The ideal is a multi-storey condo or apartment building with businesses on the ground floor.

Back in August, Jason Thorne, general manager of planning and economic development, told CBC News that developers were already approaching the city and wanting to build along the route.

Not every councillor was on board about the motion – councillors Chad Collins, Brenda Johnson and Judi Partridge opposed it, and said they were worried that people on the line weren't being given adequate notice.

"The fact is, we're not even communicating with even a simple letter," Collins said.

But Coun. Matthew Green said he "wasn't sure where the panic comes from" about the plan. "This is a planning tool – this isn't a fast move that's being made," he said.

Staff told council that people or companies that are looking to develop on the line but can't are able to appeal to city hall.

The transit line itself will run along King Street from McMaster University to the Queenston traffic circle. A 2.3-kilometre A-line will run from King Street to the waterfront, and a three-kilometre track will connect the main line to the Wentworth maintenance facility.

The city will also build a pedestrian walkway from the Hunter GO station to the MacNab transit terminal.