Our guest speaker this month was Ellen Savoia, Senior Planner, City of St Catharines. Ellen advised that the new Official Plan and Zoning By-laws had been introduced in December 2013 after extensive public input and countless staff meetings. Both the Plan and the By-laws control city planning.
The Official Plan is the land-use policy which defines the city’s vision and growth. It covers residential, commercial, industrial, green belt, places to grow and the Niagara escarpment. It also embraces a sense of place, socially, culturally and environmentally. It defines economic value. In managing growth, it defines, protects, embraces, diversifies and evaluates land use.
Zoning By-laws augment the official plan, guide future de-velopment and provide very specific rules. Examples given were:
- Commercial Parking — new, must include greening; drive-throughs; bicycles; accessibility.
- Residential — maintain area character; hi-density must be close to services such as transportation, shops, etc.
- Commercial — include retail; hierarchy of areas.
- Mixed use — older areas.
- Downtown — heart of culture; diverse.
- Institutional — small scale, such as churches and schools; large scale such as the Meridian Centre and Performing Arts Centre; Extra large, such as Brock University.
- Employment — new industrial; business/commercial.
- New Economy — general; greater range.
- Green Space — small/local; large, such as Lakeside Park in Port Dalhousie; creeks and valleys; trails and walkways; commerce and parking.
- Agriculture — support and promote things such as farm markets; wine shops, including those wanting to put on work-shops and having restaurants; craft businesses; dairy and tender fruit.
Overall, the objective is to provide planning balance between certainty and flexibility.
Our speaker for the March 10th monthly meeting will be Bill Brice. Bill, a PROBUS member since 2000 and a native of Saskatchewan, will be talking about the Potash industry in Saskatchewan.