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McMaster University’s Cootes Drive Parking Garage Suspended After Conditional Approval Expires

Conditional approval for a six-story parking garage at McMaster University off Cootes Drive expired April 14 before conditions were lifted, with no request for an extension to the approval.

City of Hamilton spokeswoman Michelle Shantz said planning staff were told by McMaster’s agent on April 13 that the university was not pursuing the application that had originally received conditional approval from the sitemap a year ago.

McMaster University spokeswoman Michelle Donovan confirmed that demand for the 567-space parking structure north of Thorndale Crescent is not continuing now, but left the door open for it to progress to the ‘coming.

“The project continues to be put on hold,” Donovan said on April 14. “Until this status changes, no further work on the project is undertaken.”

The proposed six-story, 20.4-meter-tall structure was the first of a dozen possible parking garages in the university’s campus master plan to reach the request stage.

According to the conditional site plan approval letter from the City of Hamilton’s Director of Development Planning, Anita Fabac, to McMaster Planning Consultant Katelyn Gillis of T. Johns Consulting Group dated April 14, 2021, it there were 17 conditions to be removed – including erosion and siltation control, grading and drainage control, tree preservation and enhancement plan, landscaping plan, stormwater management and site lighting plan — before any building permits are issued.

Shantz and Donovan did not say whether any conditions were waived or whether McMaster submitted anything for review.

In addition, there were eight special conditions on the issuance of building permits, including a transportation impact study, City approval of parking garage paving materials and color, and two minor variances. to the zoning by-law.

McMaster’s proposal would require approval of two minor variances by the Committee of Adjustment to allow for the proposed building height of six stories and 20.4 meters where a maximum of 2.5 stories and 11 meters is permitted.

McMaster also needed a waiver to allow parking space dimensions of 2.8 meters by 5.8 meters and 2.6 meters by 5.8 meters where a minimum space of 2.7 meters by 6 .0 meters is required.

The city had not yet received the required minor variance applications.

The application came as a surprise to nearby residents, as well as others who wondered about the structure’s impacts on the surrounding environment.

Questions have been raised as to whether the proposed change to height limits is actually minor in nature or should require a rezoning application to the city’s planning committee.

The six-story parking garage on the existing K parking lot was the first of several parking garages envisioned in McMaster’s campus master plan. The plan includes up to three parking structures on Westaway Road and one at the corner of Main Street West and Cootes Drive as part of a planned transit hub.

The plan also proposes a second vehicle entrance from Cootes Drive at College Crescent, where the majority of vehicles, including all buses, would access campus.

The city has apparently not yet received planning applications for McMaster’s other parking and transit development concepts.

Deena S. Hawkins

The author Deena S. Hawkins