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Extra storey on planned city apartment block refused

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The site of a planned apartment block on Hamilton’s Church Street (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

An application to put an extra storey on a proposed apartment block next to the landmark Anglican Cathedral in Hamilton has been rejected by planners.

The Development Applications Board refused the application at a meeting on October 13 on the recommendation of officials because the additional floor was not allowed under the 2015 City of Hamilton Plan.

A sixth floor had been included in the original plans for the building, submitted in 2019, but was removed after objections were received about how it would affect the nearby Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity.

The Historic Buildings Advisory Committee said in a submission that it still opposed the extra storey.

The minutes of the HBAC’s July 13 meeting said: “The Committee strongly objects to the proposal for the sixth floor due to the potential impact on the cathedral.

“It strongly believes the development should be limited to the previously approved application for five storeys.”

The City of Hamilton said the changes would increase the number of apartments, but not the number of parking spaces.

The local authority pointed out that 56 vehicle and cycle spaces were recommended, but only 36 car spaces and 46 motorcycle spaces were proposed.

A Department of Planning official said the application should be refused.

The official’s report said that the building was under the 138ft height limit for the area, but that planning regulations banned buildings with more than five storeys.

The report added: “For the most part, the proposal meets all of the minimum and maximum development regulations and standards, in keeping with urban development where site coverage and hard surfacing are maximised.”

The DAB last year approved plans for a five storey building on a gap site on Church Street, which included 52 apartments, shops at street level and two storeys of underground parking.

But the developers this year applied to add a sixth floor of apartments to the plan – an extra eight homes.

The planning department report said: “Notwithstanding the planning gains incorporated into the proposal, the board does not have the discretion to approve a sixth storey in this district.

“As a result, the application is recommended for refusal.”

The official said planners backed the proposal to build more apartments in the city and, although the proposed number of parking spaces was less that recommended, the DAB had discretion to accept that part of the plan.

The report added: “Part of the rationale in bringing more residents into the City of Hamilton is to reduce traffic, since residents in the city will be able walk to work, and will have access to retail and services – work, live and play.

“In this instance and this location, it would be counter-intuitive to force the minimum requirement to be met given proximity to employment, retail and services and would only serve to fuel automobile dependency.”

Rejected plans for a six-storey building on Church Street.

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Published October 25, 2021 at 7:54 am (Updated October 25, 2021 at 7:54 am)

Extra storey on planned city apartment block refused

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