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Endorsement of Proposed Amendments to Kingston’s Official Plan and Zoning By-laws

Dear Councillor, Cinanni and Members of the Planning Committee,

On behalf of the Greater Kingston Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and our member businesses, I am writing to express our support for the proposed amendments to Kingston’s Official Plan and Zoning By-Laws as outlined under the Recommendation Report – City-initiated Housing and Administrative Amendments (D35-002-2024).

With a membership base representing 650 businesses and 25,000 employees across the Greater Kingston region, the Chamber of Commerce has served as the voice of business for 183 years. We actively engage with our members and the most pressing issue we hear daily is the shortage of housing, which fuels numerous other challenges. We believe that the proposed amendments reflect a proactive approach to addressing the housing crisis while strategically positioning Kingston to accommodate future demographic shifts and economic opportunities.

The Chamber strongly believes that the proposed amendments across eight themes demonstrate a thorough consideration of Kingston’s housing needs. We believe that each of these themes reflect areas where policy changes can have a direct impact on business operations, economic development, and community well-being in Kingston. We support:

  • Theme One: Align Documents with Bill 23 and Allow Four Units as it will streamline residential development processes and expand housing options within urban boundaries.
  • Theme Two: Support Affordable Housing as it will bolster the supply of residential units thereby supporting recruitment efforts and workforce retention efforts.
  • Theme Three: Support Housing Innovation and Upzone Campus Expansion Area as it will diversify the housing market, providing more housing choices for employees and residents.
  • Theme Four: Streamline Development Review Process as it will simplify and expedite development approvals and reduce costs and timelines associated with new projects. This can foster a conducive environment for investment in Kingston.
  • Theme Five: Allow Conversion of Existing Non-residential Buildings into Residential as it will facilitate the use of existing infrastructure to address the housing crisis saving time while enabling business owners who own underutilized commercial buildings to generate revenue.
  • Theme Six: Streamline Approvals Along Express Transit Routes as it will encourage Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) making it easier for employees to commute. Businesses will benefit by attracting a wider pool of talent who prefer public transportation over being dependent on cars.
  • Theme Seven: Workforce and Institutional Housing as it involves the Kingston community (employers and institutions) to address pressing housing needs, thereby acknowledging that the housing crisis requires a collaborative approach.
  • Theme Eight: Administrative Amendmentsas it will shorten the existing Official Plan ensuring it is user-friendly and easily understandable.

In conclusion, we urge the Planning Committee to approve the proposed plan during the upcoming meeting on June 20, 2024, and demonstrate your commitment to fostering a thriving city for current and future generations.

Thank you for considering our perspective on this critical matter. We look forward to continued collaboration with the City of Kingston to ensure our community's prosperous future.


Karen Cross,

Chief Executive Officer

Greater Kingston Chamber of Commerce

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