Council Gets Public Input on STRAs

At a public meeting on Monday, October 30, Cobourg Council once again presented their proposed rezoning and licensing by-law to legalize Short Term Rental Accommodation (STRA).  Currently, Hotels and Bed and Breakfasts (B & Bs) are legal but STRAs are not although the Town is doing nothing about these illegal establishments.  They are illegal because they are not permitted by zoning anywhere in Cobourg so the Town plans to remedy this by rezoning.  In addition, a By-law will require STRAs to be licensed and several STRA owners made it clear that the requirements of the proposed regulation could well make them no longer viable.  Director Brent Larmer presented a summary of the proposed requirements and highlights of these are provided… Read complete articleCouncil Gets Public Input on STRAs

Another Property Declared Unsafe to Occupy

Inspection by Town staff at 821 Battell Court started September 25 and “uncovered numerous Property Standards and health and safety concerns”.  Then on September 27 a second multi-agency inspection was completed with the result that a Property Standards Order was issued to address immediate deficiencies related to the Town’s prescribed property standards for occupancy. In addition to inadequate conditions involving ventilation, lighting, plumbing, heating, and electrical services it was determined due to safety reasons, that the building be secured to prevent occupancy until the deficiencies are corrected.  These inspections were a follow-up to “a multi-agency inspection of the property (that) had previously taken place in August to evaluate fire and municipal by-law concerns.” “As a result of this inspection, the… Read complete articleAnother Property Declared Unsafe to Occupy

Short Term Rental Accommodation in Cobourg

Originally thought of as “Home-Sharing”, AirBnb, VRBO and others have turned Short Term Rental Accommodation (STRA) into big business where investors buy properties specifically with the intent to rent them out for short terms – less than a month and as short as a day or so.  Neighbours are usually not happy with this; they say that renters often cause problems with community safety, parking, noise and litter, as well as degrading property values and destroying the sense of community.  There have been delegations to Council asking for action – in October 2021 and at Monday’s Committee of the Whole (C.O.W.) meeting. At Monday’s C.O.W. Grant Hayes, president of Guardian/Genedco Property Management, representing a large proportion of Cobourg’s Condo Owners,… Read complete articleShort Term Rental Accommodation in Cobourg

Council Negotiating with Second Street Developer

On Monday, 14 August, the Committee of the Whole meeting started with a special meeting to consider the 202 Second Street Lease Agreement.  In other words, to negotiate with the owner of the property commonly called the “Quigley lot” and now used for parking.  It was a closed session and not open to the public but at its conclusion, it was made open to the public and is now available as a video on e-scribe – see Resources below.  The open session started with a motion made by Mayor Lucas Cleveland to “allow the owners of 202 Second Street to charge for Parking for the next two weekends of August, 2023”.  Councillor Mutton seconded.  Lucas clarified that town-issued parking passes… Read complete articleCouncil Negotiating with Second Street Developer

Tannery Update

The “Tannery Project” has a long history and this needs to be understood before going further. There is a lot of misunderstanding about both its scope and practicality – but at the next Committee of the Whole (CoW) Council meeting, Rob Franklin, Manager of Long Range Planning, will ask council to give final approval for an enabling By-Law. If passed, the Official Plan and Zoning will then be modified to enable the Master Plan for the Area. The first thing to know is that the Master Plan covers an area much larger than just the vacant Tannery land; secondly, there is still pollution on the property and thirdly, there is no indication that any developer is interested in creating the… Read complete articleTannery Update

Council Decision Requested on old CDCI Property

In September 2022, the Town announced that they would be buying the old CDCI West playing field on Durham Street.  The purchase price was $2M and the deal closed in December 2022. At the Committee of the Whole meeting on April 3, staff will ask Council which of two options should they proceed with: 1) Keep all of it as parkland or 2) sell part of it to a developer on condition of including affordable housing.  In either case, changes to the Official plan are not required but residential housing would require re-zoning. The 2013 Parks Master plan would favour a park but the 2016 Downtown Master plan would favour the mixed plan. To help with a decision, staff spelled… Read complete articleCouncil Decision Requested on old CDCI Property

Long Debate on Balder CIP

At Monday’s Committee of the Whole (CoW) meeting, Councillors debated whether to approve awarding Balder Corporation the CIP amounts promised for their development. The concern (as pointed out in a previous Post) was that the number of affordable units per the County/Town definition was only 4 compared to the original 15 (20% of 71). The developers made a presentation to Council that included the fact that they were persuaded by Mayor Henderson to change their original plans for a retirement home to be a rental project with a promise of Council support. Their presentation plus subsequent Council discussion lasted 84 minutes. Staff also made it clear that even with no affordable units, the requirements for the CIP would be met. According… Read complete articleLong Debate on Balder CIP

Fewer Affordable Units at Balder Development

At the next CoW Council meeting on March 13, Council will be asked to formally approve CIP grants and loans to Balder corporation despite the fact that there are only 4 affordable units instead of the 15 originally planned.  The project on University Ave West (near William St.) has 71 rental units and is now almost fully rented.  According to advertising by Balder (see graphic in resources below), rents start at $1,540 per month for studios with one-bedroom apartments starting at $1,595 (utilities included).   These rents are higher than initially planned “in response to increased costs associated with the development”. However, according to a report by Cobourg Staff, there are four one-bedroom units which meet the affordable definition used by… Read complete articleFewer Affordable Units at Balder Development

King Street West Update

Cobourg residents are encouraged to shop and do business downtown.  The centre of downtown is King Street West but some stores have closed or are wanting to close and their buildings are up for sale – although there are also building owners selling with the tenants continuing.  What does that mean?  A CIP is available that provides grants for building improvements but the amounts are small compared to current ask prices.  The program to “vitalize” the Downtown that started over 10 years ago seems to have died and judged by actions, this was a low priority in the previous council.  On King Street West alone, I count 10 current listings of downtown properties, some for multiple buildings.  There is negative… Read complete articleKing Street West Update

What’s Happening at the Mall

The short answer is “Not much”. I called the Mall Leasing VP and all I got was “No we’re not planning any residential”.  If you look at what they say online, you’ll see that Michael’s is coming soon, that another “pad” is planned next to the LCBO and that there are a lot of vacancies.  Before the pandemic, Rainbow cinema was planning an expansion but right now they are working on reduced hours with two shows on 4 days, one matinee on Sundays and closed Mondays and Wednesdays.  Although many spaces are empty (but not all), some others are getting renovated (see photos below).  It’s not clear where Michael’s is going: Trinity’s map shows them on the East side of… Read complete articleWhat’s Happening at the Mall