Waterloo council has bent some planning rules to approve another uptown tower in a city that keeps growing higher.
The 11-storey residential tower is proposed at Dorset and Princess streets, one block west of King Street and overlooking the historic Carnegie Library.
“I think this is a really beautiful development,” Coun. Melissa Durrell said Monday as council approved the project.
She likes that the building will help extend the appeal of the downtown farther off King Street, the main commercial street.
The highrise was proposed under previous Waterloo planning rules. Council approved it under two sets of planning rules: the old ones and the new rules that replaced them in September.
That’s because new planning rules have been appealed. Until a provincial tribunal resolves the appeal, former rules still govern.
The narrow highrise falls within city height limits. But it is slightly bulkier than the city wants.
In a compromise endorsed by city planners, the developer tweaked the design while council allowed extra bedrooms, five fewer parking spots, and extra bulk for lower and higher floors.
The highrise with 54 dwelling units and two parking levels will replace two vacant lodging houses. It will attach to a five-storey building on Dorset. It will have a mix of units with one, two or three bedrooms and it will have businesses on the ground floor.
“We think it is a tremendous building,” consulting planner Trevor Hawkins said on behalf of the developer, a limited partnership. “It’s a good fit for the neighbourhood.”
Businesses on the ground floor could range from an art gallery to a bake shop to a museum to an office or retail store, among other uses. A nightclub is not allowed.
Pending appeal, Waterloo’s new planning rules aim to guide higher buildings, put more people into less space and dissuade driving. The tower approved Monday plans to have 130 bicycle parking spaces.
New rules for tall buildings are meant to contain shadows, limit bulk, reinforce a human scale and create an interesting skyline in a city that’s growing up rather than out.
They were developed after residents complained about tall buildings damaging neighbourhood character.