Hotels, accessory residential uses no longer permitted in some commercial zones

WELLINGTON NORTH – Changes made by council to the township’s zoning bylaw mean hotels are no longer permitted within the central commercial zone or central business districts.

“This change will provide for better alignment with the objectives of the county Official Plan,” county senior planner Matthieu Daoust stated in a Sept. 12 report to council.

Central business districts are generally smaller and meant to be oriented toward pedestrians, rather than vehicles. Hotels require significant space and parking lots, more suitable for highway commercial zoning, where they will be permitted.

Accessory residential uses on the ground floors of commercial buildings within all commercial zoning – central, highway and neighbourhood – are also no longer permitted in any capacity.

The zoning bylaw previously allowed for less than half of the back of a ground floor in a commercial building to be used for residential use.

“This proposed change will ensure that commercial uses remain the primary use in commercial zones,” Daoust wrote.

Accessory residential uses in the upper levels of commercial buildings continue to be permitted throughout all commercial zoning.

Mayor Andy Lennox commented: “I think it’s pretty important to … preserve that commercial space in our downtown cores. 

“I think the majority of people believe that our downtown core’s really the heart of our communities and we want to encourage commercial there as much as we possibly can, even though there is so much pressure on the need for residential.”

The changes are made under what’s known as a “housekeeping amendment.” Six previous amendments were made between 2003 and 2022.