St. John’s city council is at it again.
Its approval of the Marriott Hotel development on Duckworth Street is yet another example of the city contravening its own development rules.
Sadly, I’m not surprised by their decision. The inconsistency this council displays with development applications leaves citizens and developers not knowing the rules of the development game. This is especially applicable when “council discretion” is used within the approval process.
Considering council is in the midst of a consultation process with its citizens on a new municipal plan, I would have thought council would have stuck to its development rules. The meetings I have attended associated with this consultation process have clearly asked council to provide consistency in its planning process. Concern has also been expressed with the use of council discretion and whether there should be some restrictions placed on this discretion to ensure consistency.
Another troubling concern of the Marriott Hotel approval is that it is site-specific. The next development application in the same area that contravenes the development rules will have to take its chances — just like citizens and developers do — on council’s discretion.
Kind of like a lottery.
Is this the way to plan a city?