Open for business? Not from my side of the planner's desk!

City study stalls new stores - Peterborough Examiner - Ontario, CA

Once again, in its infinite wisdom, the City of Peterborough's planning department has taken it upon themselves to ignore the dictates of the Planning Act and new Provincial Regulations for intensification. Aren't these guys civil servants who are obligated to deal with applications made by proponents?

Loblaw Companies filed an Ontario Municipal Board appeal for its
official plan amendment application for the proposed No Frills on the
basis that council hasn't made a decision, city planning division
manager Ken Hetherington told The Examiner yesterday.


"Basically we haven't processed (the application) because it's premature," he said.


The planning department told Loblaw Companies it wouldn't
process the application until the city finishes a retail market
analysis, a review of the commercial space in the city, Hetherington
said.


"That's really determining the commercial floor space that we'll need going into the future," he said.


So let me get this straight; a company has purchased land - with their own corporate funds, not tax money, and the folks at City Hall won't even deal with their application (which, by the way, would have included a fee for processing that the City would already, presumably, have collected) until some etheral study is completed?


The commercial policy review in 2000 projected the city would add a
little more than 800,000 square feet of commercial floor space by 2011.


Last year, the city reached almost 700,000 square feet of additional commercial floor space since 2000.


"If all of a sudden we're looking at applications for food
stores when there's no market justification for that food store, then
what's that do to ... other food stores in the city and other sites
that are approved for a food store now that are vacant?" Hetherington
said.


So we grew faster than expected and the upper artificial limit placed on growth by the City is almost built out already. Do the bureaucrats actually think that companies like Loblaw would willfully build a grocery store so that it would fail? Are they serious? Don't they know that companies looking to locate in certain markets have already done their market studies and have a pretty good idea where they should locate?


In terms of the existing sites that are already zoned for grocery stores, I can think of only two that would be able to house a store of this size. One is already developed with a non-grocery use on Lansdowne Street, and the other is poorly located for grocery use along Sherbrooke Street West. Does that mean that we'll never get another grocery store because the City won't look at creative ways to grow other existing commercial nodes?


City officials maintain the city needs to review the retail
market situation, and possibly update its commercial policies, before
it creates new commercial floor space through official plan amendments.


I said, pardon? Before it creates new commercial floor space? Did I miss something here? When did the City of Peterborough start building commercial space for lease to national retailers? Oh, wait I get it...they mean before they'll allow more commercial space to be built. Hold on, the City wants to limit job growth? They want to limit tax base growth? After all, commercial taxes are over twice the residential rate and a new grocery store would likely be assessed somewhere in the neighbourhood of $150,000 a year in new taxes for the City!


On top of the lost income from additional property taxes, development charges, and associated fees, the City now has to foot the bill for a protracted OMB hearing. I just LOVE paying taxes here! *sarcasm intended!*


I'm so glad I live in Canada where we have the freedom to operate businesses and have the freedom to do business with our customers where the customers feel it most convenient.


Except in Peterborough.

Apparently, if you want to do business in Peterborough, you'll do it where the bureaucrats tell you or they don't want you, your money, or your jobs.


I hear Barrie, Oshawa and Kingston are open though.




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