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Plan for ten-storey block of flats renewed

The man known as Scientist rides along Serpentine Road on a pushbike during yesterdays heavy downpour. (Photo by Akil Simmons)

A plan to build a ten-storey residential building on Serpentine Road has been renewed more than eight years after originally being approved.

The proposed building, which would stand at 70 Serpentine Road where it meets Dundonald Street and Park Road, was first submitted to planning in 2007 seeking in-principle approval.

The building was described as having a restaurant at the ground floor, and 30 “affordable” one-bedroom units for sale and rental in the floors above. However, an architect at the time said some units may be redrawn to incorporate office space for teleworking.

While it was initially refused on the grounds that it was not in keeping with the City of Hamilton Plan 2001, the plan was approved on appeal in 2008.

Despite planning approval, ground was never broken on the project.

According to the minutes of the January 18 meeting of the Development Applications Board, applicant Dennis Chin had submitted a renewal application for the project.

The minutes stated that the Department of Planning had recommended the application be refused in part on the basis that eight years had elapsed and the project should be considered under the City of Hamilton Plan 2015.

“The board queried whether the application for renewal had been received before the in-principle permission had expired,” the minutes stated. “The technical officer confirmed that it had. The board then engaged in a discussion concerning the large inventory of available vacant commercial space in the City and the feasibility of converting such spaces into residential accommodations. “The board agreed that the any new application submitted by the applicant should be considered under the new City of Hamilton Plan. However, they did not agree that the applicant should not be allowed to renew at this time based on the volume of available vacant office space in the City.”

Asked if the Department would recommend the plan for approval if it were submitted as a new application, the technical officer said that they would not as it does not comply with the current planning policies.

The minutes stated that the board also questioned if there was a limit to the number of times one could submit an application to renewal, and were told there was no such maximum number.

The board also questioned parking for the proposed building, and were informed that there was only on-site cycle parking, but that on-site car parking was not a requirement under the City Plan. After deliberating, the board resolved to support the application for renewal for a further two years, at which time a new planning application shall be submitted for the board’s consideration.