The group opposed to two downtown Kingston highrises is urging city council to stay on the sidelines when a new Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) hearing is held.
The Frontenac Heritage Foundation sent a letter to Kingston council saying the city needs to get a better handle on how much these appeals are costing taxpayers and the potential impact on the environment.
See the full letter here.
In a three-page letter to the mayor and council, the lawyer for the Frontenac Heritage Foundation spells out its frustration over why the LPAT wants another hearing on the two Homestead highrises on lower Queen Street.
The LPAT reviewed itself, on a decision made in August 2019, and does not believe all factors were considered in the original hearing — which saw the Homestead project rejected.
“The Dec. 23 letter from the LPAT was frankly annoying,” says Shirley Bailey, president of the Frontenac Heritage Foundation, “because we felt we put our best step forward with four witnesses.
“And we paid over $100,000 to set out our position on this and we felt the first decision of the LPAT was a good decision.”
Now, city staff has waded into the debate with an information report to council on Tuesday night, essentially laying out the reasons for a re-hearing.
“From a staff respective, we are not taking action on this file at this point,” says Lanie Hurdle, CAO for the city. “We could go back to council and most likely have a conversation with council in closed session to discuss further details before anything takes place.”
The city supported Homestead’s original application, but the Heritage Foundation is now urging politicians to stay out of round two, citing the unknown cost to taxpayers among its reasons.
“We wanted to reaffirm to the city that it needed to think about whether or not it wanted to fight this yet again at another LPAT hearing,” says Bailey.
The foundation also raises the argument that the city is going against its own declared climate emergency by supporting highrises in the downtown.
“From what we’ve been able to find … highrises are not the most effective or energy-efficient,” says Bailey.
A new LPAT hearing on the apartment buildings proposal is expected this summer and it remains unclear whether the city will be part of it.