Pearle requests rezoning for land south of Grand River

ELORA – Pearle Hospitality is seeking a zoning bylaw amendment for lands on the south side of the Grand River to permit another commercial building.

The 0.56 hectares of land  (six lots), purchased by Pearle in 2013, was formerly addressed as 15 to 25 Ross Street.

“However, Ross Street has since been closed so these municipal addresses are no longer relevant,” said Pearle planning consultant Sarah Code, a senior planner with GSP Group.

The Jan. 29 public meeting was to address a proposed bylaw amendment that would rezone the land to extend the central business district that currently exists on the northeast and west of the site.

“The official plan does have policies that permit the expansion of central business districts,” Code said.

The proposal includes parking and a retail building and zoning that allows for banquet halls and assembly halls.

Code said the plan is consistent with the provincial policy statement and conforms to the growth plan as well as the county and township official plans.

“It’s our opinion that this represents a logical rounding out of the central business district to permit a pedestrian-friendly mixed-use development,” Code said.

Councillor Kirk McElwain asked if the zone change automatically brings the new parcel under the jurisdiction of the Elora BIA.

Brett Salmon, managing director of planning and development, said lands within the BIA coverage area are automatically added, but enlarging that area requires passage of a bylaw.

Councillor Ian MacRae asked if there are plans for residential space above the shops. Mackenzie Meek of Pearl Hospitality said that is not in the plan.

Elora shop owner Staci Barron asked why.

“We seem to have a bit of a (housing) crunch right now and it seems like an awesome opportunity to create more housing,” she said.

Salmon clarified the proposed central business district would allow for residential units above the commercial use.

“That opportunity will be there if this zoning amendment gets passed,” he said.

As per public meeting guidelines, no decision was made on the application on Jan. 29.