The condominium market in Collingwood is booming. However, there is one property that stands out because of inactivity on the site.
The former Victoria School Annex property, at 400 Maple Street (corner of Sixth and Maple) continues to sit empty. Original zoning amendments to allow for residential development on the former Simcoe County District School Board property were approved by the Town of Collingwood in the mid-2000’s.
Collingwood’s Director of Planning Services, Nancy Farrer, confirmed that there are no applications presently filed with the town.
“The Annex property received planning approvals several years ago. Official Plan Amendment No. 24 was adopted January 16th, 2012 and Zoning By-law was 2012-117 passed November 26th, 2012. There are no recent Planning Act applications filed with the municipality so it is really up to the owners to either make application for a site plan to proceed with the previously approved plan, or if they want to modify it, come back and see us.”
Fast forward to 2018 and there is no sign that construction of any type of residential development is in the works. There have been presentations, public hearings and even new signage promoting town home and condo construction last year, but those signs were taken down and all has gone silent.
There is concern about the status of the structure. The building hasn’t been occupied since being sold by the Simcoe County District School Board.
There is concern over the health and structural integrity of the Victoria School Annex. The building has been vacant for 15 years. Despite discussions at council and at town committee meetings, it has not yet been designated as a significant heritage property. A heritage designation report has been carried out with a recommendation to designate, but at the moment the building is on the Municipal Registry, only protecting the structure from demolition for 60 days once an application has been made.
There has been much discussion about what could and should happen to this property. Let’s turn back the pages and review discussion at Collingwood Council on both October 21, 2013 and November 4, 2013:
November 4, 2013
OLD or DEFERRED BUSINESS
Collingwood Heritage Committee Minutes, September 19, 2013 (motion deferred from October 21st, 2013)
No. 437 Moved by Councillor Gardhouse
Seconded by Councillor West
THAT the former Victoria School Annex building located at 400 Maple Street be added to the Municipal Register of Cultural Heritage Properties.
On October 21st, 2013, Mr. Chris Skelton addressed Collingwood Council on behalf of the owners of 400 Maple Street. He was requesting Council not list the building on the heritage registry. Here is the summary from the Town of Collingwood Council minutes:
October 21, 2013
• 400 Maple Street, Victoria Annex
Mr. Chris Skelton, addressed Council on behalf of the owners of 400 Maple Street requesting Council not list the building on the heritage registry. Mr. Skelton expressed concern with the approach taken to consult and notify the property owner with respect to this matter. Mr. Skelton further requested to meet with the Heritage Committee to discuss the registration of the property. Should Council choose to move forward with the motion this evening, Mr. Skelton request that Council direct the Heritage Committee to modify its recommendation to clearly identify the property is being added to the registry only and is in no way to proceed in designating the property under the Ontario Heritage Act unless a demolition permit is applied for. Mr. Skelton addressed questions of clarification from Council.
Ron Martin, Collingwood Heritage Committee Staff Liaison provided a brief history of the heritage requests pertaining to this property and clarified the purpose of adding properties to a heritage “registry” versus “designating” heritage properties.
Previously, a public meeting was held on June 20, 2011. Here is the summary from the Town of Collingwood Council minutes:
June 20, 2011
Proposed Official Plan Amendment and Zoning By-law Amendment (400 Maple Street)
• Mayor Cooper welcomed those in attendance and introduced the Public Meeting format.
• Clerk Sara Almas confirmed that notice has been provided with respect to the planning applications being heard this evening, in accordance with the Planning Act. These notices were provided May 27th, 2011.
Acting Director of Planning Services, Ms. Nancy Farrer introduced Community Planner Mark Bryan to review the applications as follows:
The purpose of the Official Plan Amendment and the Zoning By-law Amendment is to re-designate the subject land from the Low Density Residential designation to the Medium Density Residential designation, and to re-zone the subject land from the Second Density (R2) zone to the Residential Third Density Exception (R3-E) zone. The effect and general intent of the Official Plan Amendment and Zoning By-law Amendment is to re-designate and re-zone the lands for a residential plan of subdivision.
The Zoning By-law Amendment proposes to modify the R3 zone provisions, including but not limited to, front and exterior side yard setbacks and lot coverage, and to modify the R3 zone provisions, including but not limited to, recognizing the existing location of the Victoria School, modifying front and exterior side yards, maximum lot coverage and minimum landscape open space. The amendment also proposes to modify the Zoning By-law’s General Provisions, including but not limited to, minimum distance between an accessory building and the main dwelling, accessory building lot coverage, accessory building height and minimum opening elevation. The proposed zoning classification placed on the subject property may also be the subject of a Holding “H” symbol that will not be removed until such time as Council for the Town of Collingwood is satisfied that certain conditions have been fulfilled for the orderly development of the land.
This planning application is also subject to a Plan of Subdivision and Plan of Condominium and an application for a Site Plan Control Agreement pursuant to Section 51 and Section 41 of the Planning Act, R.S.O., 1990, c. P. 13, as amended. (Town File No.: DC-2006-18 & DC-2006-14, County File No. CW-T-0603).
An initial public meeting for these applications was held on July 24, 2006 and was followed by Council consideration of a Planning Report on November 20, 2006. At the applicant’s request, no decisions were made at that time regarding the applications. Given the length of time that has now passed, and in light of changes to the proposed design of the development, an additional public meeting is viewed as appropriate.
Proposed Plan of Subdivision and Plan of Condominium (400 Maple Street)
The proposed Plan of Subdivision and Plan of Condominium pertains to land located on the west side of Maple Street abutting Fifth Street to the north and Sixth Street to the south. The subject property has total lot frontage onto Maple Street of approximately 99.40 metres (326.12 feet), a lot depth of approximately 60.57 metres (198.72 feet) and a total lot area of approximately 6002 square metres (1.48 acres). It is legally described as Lots 11 and 12 South of Fifth Street and Lots 10, 11 and 12 North of Sixth Street, Registered Plan 45, Town of Collingwood, County of Simcoe and known municipally as 400 Maple Street.
The purpose of the proposed plan of subdivision and plan of condominium is to subdivide the parcel of land into smaller lots and blocks. The effect of the proposed subdivision is to create lots and blocks consisting of approximately six (6) townhouse dwelling units, approximately six (6) semi-detached units and one (1) block for the purposes of retaining the existing school building and converting it into a seven (7) unit residential condominium building. The remaining portion of the proposed subdivision will be divided into one (1) block to serve as a common access lane to the proposed dwelling units.
This subdivision and condominium application is also subject to an Official Plan Amendment, Zoning By-law Amendment and an application for a Site Plan Control Agreement pursuant to Section 17, 22, 34, 36 and 41 of the Planning Act, R.S.O., 1990, c. P.13, as amended (Town File No.: OPA-2006-06, Z -2006-07, DC-2006-14.)
An initial public meeting for these applications was held on July 24, 2006 and was followed by Council consideration of a Planning Report on November 20, 2006.
At the applicant’s request, no decisions were made at that time regarding the applications. Given the length of time that has now passed, and in light of changes to the proposed design of the development, an additional public meeting is viewed as appropriate.
Mr. Bryan reviewed the comments that have been received to date with respect to the proposed development, including comments received from 2006 when the application was originally presented to the Council of the time.
Mr. Ian Whitton of 114 Ontario Street addressed Council on behalf of the applicant with regard to some of the comments raised by the public. Mr. Whitton noted that the OMB hearing is not moving forward, and addressed concerns with respect to parking, traffic, density, and snow and garbage removal.
Mayor Cooper called for the first, second and third time for comments from the public.
Mary Hall of 319 Beech Street stated her opposition to both applications and her concern with regard to parking, density and compatibility with the surrounding neighbourhood and lack of green space.
Allison Bond of 264 St. Paul Street noted that she is in favour of the proposed applications. Ms. Bond stated that it is important to keep a higher density in the downtown area and is pleased the Annex is being saved.
Margaret Mooy of 297 Pine Street addressed Council on behalf of the Collingwood branch of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario. Ms. Mooy expressed support from the ACO with regard to these applications. She is pleased that the developers are supporting preserving the heritage and cultural aspects of the Annex building.
Doug Cook of 93 Sixth Street expressed his concerns with regard to density, road access, street width, parking and visitor parking.
Bill Calvert of 139 Sixth Street noted that he would like to see the property developed however has concerns with the proposed density, parking and safety.
Dr. James McCrimmon, 402 Maple Street, expressed his concern with the density of the proposed applications as well as parking and traffic.
Mr. Bryan and Ms. Farrer addressed concerns that have been raised with respect to parking, traffic study/concerns and density. Council requested clarification on the consistency of these applications with the Provincial Policy Statement, designations, compliance with zoning, parking, setback requirements, and the proposed one way street.
Public session closed at 6:20 pm.
Here is a past story from March, 2007, from the archives of the Town of Collingwood web site
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