The community has been asking a lot of questions about what is happening with the downtown property at Main Street and Elm, next to “Beyond the Barre” across from the TD Bank.

This property was purchased by DeSantis (in addition to a few other properties abutting it) and fencing and a large sign was recently erected advertising “Coming Soon – Century Condos”.

As it turns out, the signs violate the Town’s sign by-law and apparently the By-law Officer has directed that they be removed. Interesting as well is that the fenced empty lot is now temporary private parking for the Judge and Jester.

From the marketing material available at their official website (link here), it appears by name and photograph that the proposed development will be targeting down-sizing baby-boomers.

Nothing specific has yet come forward to the Planning Committee for a public meeting or vote as of this posting.

Now you may be asking… what is the developer permitted to build here and what can the community expect?

Suffice to say, we’ve been down this road before… particularly the Winston Neighbourhood, and what you get isn’t always what the Official Plan says: 15 storeys where 6 storeys is the maximum, and 18 storeys where 12 storeys is the maximum (with the possibility of that going even higher as a few sources have mentioned).

We are going to give you a little Planning 101 here, so you might want to grab a nice warm cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate as this will be longer than our typical post.  Ready?

Grimsby’s historic  downtown, like the Winston Road Neighbourhood, is also designated a “Major Intensification Area” (area designated for intensified development) and divided into three distinct districts. The Century Condos site is in the Downtown – Main Street designation.

We’ve put together below a few links and some extracts from the Official Plan to provide a bit of information on what it says about height. It doesn’t set a maximum density, so that basically means they can squish as many units onto the site as the height and lot coverage will permit. And based on our experience, height maximums are fully “negotiable”.

Like it or not, there will be more intensification planned in the Downtown. The south corner of Main Street and Elm (site of last year’s fire that resulted in the building’s demolition) will be redeveloped and intensified.

This is the beginning of a significant change to the cultural heritage, character and fabric of Downtown Grimsby. Intensification will impact every neighbourhood.

Be informed, be involved, be vocal. Show up for Council meetings, Planning Committee open houses and meetings. Show you care about YOUR town and watch how your elected representatives vote.

Ask your alderman what the maximum height of new development for this site will be.  Don’t be surprised if you get an interesting answer.


We are going to get dry here, so hopefully that beverage is still warm and close by…

The Town’s Official Plan (OP), the guiding “Bible” on how land development is supposed to occur in town,  and it’s schedules were drafted in 2009 and approved in May 2012.

The 2012 OP can be found here: http://www.grimsby.ca/Planning/Official-Plan/

Schedule B-3 Land Use Downtown shows the three distinct districts, as in the attached PDF:

Download (PDF, Unknown)

In February 2010 the Downtown Community Improvement Plan was finalized. The 2010 Downtown Community Improvement Plan and supporting documents can be found here (scroll to the bottom):
http://www.grimsby.ca/Planning/Publications/

Here at links to the applicable and individual documents themselves:

  1. Downtown CIP
  2. Downtown Grimsby Existing Conditions Report
  3. Downtown Grimsby Design Guidelines Report
  4. Downtown Grimsby Master Plan

It is interesting to read the recommendation to possibly re-align Ontario and Elm in the Master Plan… since this proposed development is at that intersection, we will see if this comes up in the planning report:

“Ontario/Elm Realignment: the current configuration of Ontario Street and Elm Street as they intersect Main Street East present a challenge for both pedestrian and vehicular movements. A realignment of Ontario Street and Elm Street can provide a reconfigured block, an opportunity for civic space, and more efficient traffic flow and movements.”

From the Official Plan, on height and density:

3.5.3      Downtown Main Street

3.5.3.6  Density will not be specifically regulated within Downtown – Main Street, but will be considered a product of the relationship between height and lot coverage.

3.5.3.7 New buildings shall have a minimum building height of 2 storeys and a maximum building height of 4 storeys.

The Official Plan on transition:

3.5.4      Downtown – Transition

3.5.4.5  Density   will   not   be   specifically   regulated   within   the   Downtown   –   Transition designated area but will be considered a product of the relationship between height and lot coverage.

3.5.4.6  New buildings shall have a minimum building height of 2 storeys, and a maximum building height of 3 storeys south of Main Street West / Livingston Avenue, and 4 storeys north of Main Street West / Livingston Avenue.

3.5.4.7  Despite Section 3.5.4.6, Council may consider building up to 6 storeys on lands north of Main Street West / Livingston Avenue provided a view study is submitted and the angular plane requirements of Section 3.5.6.7 are implemented.   The view study must demonstrate that views of the Escarpment are not detrimentally impacted.

And finally on “intensification”:

3.5.5      Downtown- Intensification

It is the intent of the Town that the Downtown-Intensification designation to provide opportunities for large scale commercial development, mixed use developments and/or significant residential intensification.

3.5.5.6  Density will not be specifically regulated within the Downtown – Intensification designation, but will be considered a product of the relationship between height and lot coverage.

3.5.5.7  New buildings shall have a minimum building height of 2 storeys, and a maximum building height of 4 storeys.   The minimum building height can be provided through two functional stories or other design features that give the appearance of two storeys. For building heights of greater than three storeys proposed within the Niagara Escarpment Plan Area, a visual impact assessment may be required.   Any such assessment shall be reviewed to the satisfaction of the Town in Consultation with the Niagara Escarpment Commission.

3.5.5.8       Despite Section 3.5.5.7, Council may, in consultation with the Niagara Escarpment Commission consider building up to 6 storeys provided a visual impact assessment is submitted and the angular plane requirements of Section 3.5.6.7 are implemented. The visual impact assessment must demonstrate that views of the Escarpment are not detrimentally impacted.

Hopefully you made it all the way down here and we have enlightened you a little on what the “official” documents say about what is permitted/planned for this area.

If not and need some clarification, please feel free to send us an e-mail, leave a comment here or on our Facebook page and we will be glad to answer your query.