The redevelopment of CSL Road

2021-03-19

The studies that we had done in order to help us decide how to up zone CSL Road are now complete. All can be accessed by clicking the Redevelopment of CSL Road link on the home page. I urge you to read them, as we will be surveying residents to know your views. There is an urban planning study by BC2 (including shadowing), a traffic study by CIMA+ and an analysis of the tax impact of zoning for 6, 8 or 10 stories by the Altus Group. We will make a final decision after we get the survey results but, in this message, I will explain why I am recommending that we go for 10 stories for the section of CSL Road from Stratford to Alpine. No one is suggesting up zoning the area from Dufferin to Stratford since the buildings in that area are too close to the homes in the rear.

The buildings on CSL Road are 50-75 years and most are in poor shape. They are not Hampstead quality. If we up zone to encourage developers to build new high-quality buildings, Hampstead residents wishing to downsize or their kids looking for a starter apartment will have good options without leaving Hampstead. The Altus study predicts that at 6 stories, there will be almost no redevelopment and so there will be no real change in the look of the street. At 8 stories, 42% of the street will be redeveloped. At 10 stories it will be 47%. To me, 8 stories would be an improvement but 10 stories will provide significantly more units, a better-looking street, and much more tax revenue.

The entire council agrees on the need for up zoning for the good of the town. Most agree on at least 8 stories. The traffic studies show that 10 stories will have a very minor impact. The shadowing studies also show a small difference. Will an extra two stories from 8 to 10 really make a difference if we insist on light materials like glass, a landscaping buffer and so on?

Extra tax revenue

At 10 stories the extra annual tax revenue would be $1,834,000. How significant would this additional revenue be to the Town of Hampstead? Those against development will say it is only a small percentage of our local budget of $16.3 million but most of our budget is fixed costs. These include salaries, Public Security, snow removal, pool, tennis, kids’ events, etc. The discretionary amount is only $2.8 million. The new money from 10 stories is an increase of 64% to the discretionary amount and that would be transformative for the Town. We would be able to build a new recreation or civic centre, improve our parks and sports facilities, have more and better events for kids, teens and adults, more frequent maintenance of sidewalks and roads – all without raising taxes above inflation. In turn, the improvements will make Hampstead more attractive to young families and increase our house values significantly.

The choice is yours

When we do our survey, you will have your say. 8 stories will allow some improvements but 10 stories will allow much more (almost 50% more). It is also important to realize that if we go to 8 stories and a future council decides we need more revenue; it will be too late. Developers will not take down 8 story buildings to get just 2 more stories. We have only one chance to get this right.
If you have any comments or questions on this topic or anything related to Hampstead, please e-mail me at wsteinberg@hampstead.qc.ca or call me 7 days a week until midnight at my home office (514) 483-6954.


Sincerely,


Dr. Bill Steinberg
Mayor, Town of Hampstead