YWCA in Cathedral: FAQ sheet

On November 19 I co-hosted a town hall with the YWCA CEO, Melissa Coomber-Bendsten, to discuss the Y's proposed new facility on the old Victoria School site and Lucy Eley Park. The land was given to the YWCA at a January, 2019 meeting of Council. One of three town halls, community members wanted an additional opportunity to voice their concerns about the project, both positive and negative. With the help of residents I collected these questions and advanced them along to City of Regina staff for answers. The Q&A can be found below. The YWCA will be hosting another event in January when the concept plan is ready for public release. To find out more about the YWCA, visit their website at https://www.ywcaregina.com.

 

Q: How will the proposed YWCA building affect property values?

In Saskatchewan we re-assess properties every four years.  The last reassessment was in 2017, and the provincially legislated base date was January 1, 2015.  This means that our current assessment values should reflect typical values of properties as of this date.  Also, by board order, we are not allowed to use any market evidence after the base date. As the YWCA Project did not exist at that time there would have been no affect on property assessed values. Going forward, the next reassessment is scheduled to take place in 2021 with a base date of January 1, 2019. Again, as the project did not exist on this date there will likely be no affect on assessed values during this 4-year cycle.

Until the project is complete and we have sales of properties in the area, we will not know the affect on market values or the assessed values.

Q: What is the regular process and what did this process entail?

As per The Cities Act, public notice was given prior to Council considering the report.  Administration provided a report to a public meeting of the Finance and Administration committee on January 8, 2019 (FA19-1).  Following that meeting, a notice was placed in the Leader Post on January 12, 2019 advertising the “intention to sell without a public offering” and the opportunity for the public to speak to the sale at the public Council meeting on January 28, 2019.  Council made the decision to gift the property to the YWCA at that meeting. 

Q: Is it mandatory that the YWCA construct the proposed building?  

The agreement states the YWCA must start construction within three years of the transfer of title or the land may be transferred back to the City.

Q: What gives the City the right to donate the property without public consultation and why was it done in such a quick manner?

As per The Cities Act, public notice was given prior to Council considering the report.  Administration provided a report to a public meeting of the Finance and Administration committee on January 8, 2019 (FA19-1).  Following that meeting, a notice was placed in the Leader Post on January 12, 2019 advertising the “intention to sell without a public offering” and the opportunity for the public to speak to the sale at the public Council meeting on January 28, 2019.  Council made the decision to gift the property to the YWCA at that meeting.

Q: Will we be notified when the property officially transferred to the YWCA?

No, public notification of title transfer is not required, individuals may contact Land Titles to check the title status.

Q: Why was the park and the lot next to it not put up for public sale first?

The YWCA made a formal request to the City for this land and since we have an existing agreement with the YWCA, Administration considered the proposal. 

Q:What will alleviate the parking issues it will create in the area.

Through the development application process, parking will be analyzed and a parking study may be required to demonstrate that the site meets the parking requirement of the Zoning Bylaw. 

Q: Will any sewer and water need to be changed around the streets?

Sewer are water will be assessed at the time of the development application.  The street will most likely need to be cut in one or two locations to provide service connections to new development. 

Q: Will we need any property protection during the 2 years of construction next to our 100 year old house?

Building requirements as well as site safety requirements of the National Building Code of Canada and the National Fire Code of Canada are to be followed by the owner and their contractors.

Q: Will there be construction limitations for building a building that size so close to houses?

The National Building Code of Canada does not have a limit to how close a building can be to a property line. However, the closer the building is to the property line the more restricted the wall construction will become. For example: as a building becomes closer to a property line, the National Building Codes may require a fire rated wall assembly, non-combustible construction, etc. All building construction is to follow the requirements of the National Building Code.

Q: What happens if they run into financial problems? (Thinking about the YMCA and their troubles) Is there a guarantee that once construction starts it will actually get built?

There is no guarantee. However, the Regina Building Bylaw and the legislation which building regulations fall under provide the City of Regina with the ability to enforce unsafe buildings and construction.

Q:I'm concerned about the lack of consultation by the city with residents in the neighbourhood, and the withholding of information.  What is the regular process and what did this process entail.

The Planning & Development Services Department, which is responsible for processing development related applications, would be responsible for processing any application to develop the subject property. To accommodate the proposed development (YWCA facility) this project will most likely need to apply for a discretionary use development permit application (which mean the application must be reviewed and approved by City Council). However, as of this date, we have not received any application for development. If an application is submitted, the process associated with a discretionary use application, including public engagement, will be undertaken. We cannot estimate when an application will be submitted, as that decision rests with the landowner or development proponent.

Q: What is the approximate size and height of the building?

 Since there is no application submitted, we have no formal information on the size and height of buildings. However, we are aware the proponent is holding open houses and information sessions where proposed sketches of the building is being provided to facilitate comments.  

Q: Is there a mandatory amount of grass or greenery that the YWCA needs to plant?

The Zoning Bylaw requires a minimum percentage of the site to be landscaped. Landscape plans are reviewed and approved at the time of development permit application.

Q: Where will the garbage/recycling go?

Since there is no application submitted, we have no information on where the garbage or recycling will be located. The Zoning Bylaw requires any collection area for garbage, refuse or recycling to be aesthetically screened on all sides.

Q: How will the 100+-year-old trees in the area be protected and how many will need to be cut down.  At the association meeting in the spring the gentleman from the urban agriculture that construction is risky around these trees?

We do not know if any of the existing trees will need to be removed.  The Zoning Bylaw encourages the retention of existing trees where possible and they can be credited towards there landscaping requirement.  The City also can require tree protection as part of the development approval. This would be assessed at the time of development application.

Q: What kind of lighting and noise can we expect from the 24-hour nature of the building?

The Zoning Bylaw does not regulate lighting or noise. Any noise issues are regulated through the Noise Abatement Bylaw or through Regina Police Service.

Q: What services have committed to renting space in the YWCA building?

An application has not been submitted, therefore we have no information on organizations that will be renting out space in the building.

Q: What is the exact size of the "proposed public park". from the drawings it looks substantially smaller than what it is now. And is it mandatory that the build it?

An application has not been submitted, therefore we do not know how the site is going to be redeveloped and the amount of land that will remain open space. At the time of an application, a review of the amount for landscaping required for the development will occur. 

Q: How does the YWCA fit within the official community plan?

An application has not been submitted. Although below are some policies with regard to an infill development and the current programs of the YWCA that fit within the Official Community Plan:

  • Land Use and Built Environment
    • Provide opportunities for daily lifestyle needs such as services, convenience shopping and recreation.
    • Providing a diversity of housing types to support residents from a wide range of economic levels, backgrounds and stages of life, including those with special needs.
  • Housing
    • Considering alternatives for parking, height or other development standards in support of specific needs housing and innovative housing within new development.
    • Decrease the number of vacant, non-taxable and underutilized lots within the city that are appropriate for residential development.
    • Increase access to specific needs housing for the most vulnerable populations.
  • Social Development
    • Collaborate with partners and the community to identify required social programs and services to address the diverse needs of residents, including the most vulnerable populations.
    • Encourage the provincial government and the community to establish locally based attainable childcare facilities, which are essential to enabling parents to secure access to employment.
    • Encourage intensification as a means to revitalize and renew neighbourhoods and existing community resources.
    • Foster Regina as a caring community for residents who are vulnerable and marginalized.
    • Work with others to ensure that all residents have secure access to basic needs such as food, housing and other services.

Q: The YWCA mentioned they don't need as many drop off spots for their daycare because of a study they did. Is this accurate?

The Zoning Bylaw requires a certain amount of drop off stalls for daycares based on the amount of children that attend the daycare. Also, within the Zoning Bylaw, 30% of parking / drop off spaces can be relaxed through a parking study for the site. The study has to be done by a Registered Professional Planner, Professional Engineer or Licensed Architect demonstrating that the proposed parking/drop off stalls is appropriate for the use of the site.

Q: One side of the building is 4 stories high. Is that allowed in the Cathedral area?

When an application is received, it will be reviewed for compliance with the Zoning Bylaw for maximum height allowances.

Q: What is the set back from the building to the sidewalk?

The Zoning Bylaw regulates setbacks from the property line instead of the sidewalk.  Property lines are not at back of sidewalks.  The site requires a minimum setback of 3.0 metres from the property lines along Rae and Retallack Streets, 4.5 metres from the property line along 12th Avenue and 6.0 metres from property line along the lane.

Q: Where will the smoking areas be?

Smoking areas would be subject to the Smoking Bylaw.

Q: A lot of the houses on the street will then be blocked from having any view of the sky because of the already close proximity of the houses together and the height of the new building. Is there any zoning requirement to prevent this?

A sun shadow study may be requested with the discretionary use application.  Maximum heights and setbacks in the zone consider sun shadow.