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In May of 2015, it was decided to create a Community Improvement Plan (CIP) as an extension of the Downtown Master Plan.  By having such a plan, it’s legal to provide financial incentives to property owners such as those seemingly required in the downtown area.  But creation of a CIP requires that the Town’s Official Plan contains “enabling provisions which guide community improvement”.  Changing the Official Plan requires the new text to be discussed in a public meeting and this was held November 9 at 6:00pm.  Interest was low with only one member of the public present – yours truly.  There were also no comments, oral or written, so the amendment was duly passed in the following Committee of the Whole meeting.

Apart from enabling community improvement which seems a worthy cause, were there any other changes?

Director of Planning, Glenn McGlashon said that the current policies were originally adopted in the 1980’s and are no longer considered best practices. The policies in place were based on geographic areas which for Cobourg designated 5 “Community Improvement Areas” and these worked with provincial and federal funding programs which are no longer available.  For example, a town wide program to work on brownfield rehabilitation or affordable housing could not be setup.  In summary, Glenn said that the existing Community Improvement policies in Cobourg’s Official Plan are not consistent with the Planning Act with respect to:

  • Ability to offer grants and loans
  • Acquire and dispose of lands; and,
  • Other permissions associated with improvements to land and buildings, sustainable design and environmental remediation.

So the new clauses in the Official Plan provide for implementation of CIPS and “replace the map-based (geographic) approach with an enhanced criteria-based model for greater flexibility and certainty”.

Apart from the dry revisions to the plan which I suspect will be hard to criticize, Glenn made some comments that I found interesting.  Several times he referred to the Tannery property as an example of a project – hopefully that’s because it’s something he’s working on. And although the CIP seems focused on Downtown, Glenn stressed that the Official Plan is not - the changes provide for town-wide policies and programs.

Download "Appendix B" which is the revision to the Official plan discussed above - that is, the new text.

Addendum, November 16, 2015

At their regular meeting on Nov 16, Council approved the revisions per above.

 

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