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Shoppers Drug Mart Soon to Make First Major Impact in Village Core As reported in the ...
After attending the  "King City Craft Beer & Food Truck Festival" this past Father's Day weekend, I ...
Internationally Renowned Artist’s Work - Monumental in Size – Lies Hidden since 1971 Originally Published in ...
As it has been, it seems it always shall be. The King City Lions are the ...
Dear Fellow King Residents, On Monday October 25th, you will have the power to steer King ...

Archive for the ‘Development’ Category

Reelin’ in the Years

Posted by Cleve Mortelliti On September - 6 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

(Thanks to Barry Wallace and his blog “Camera on King”, for some of the photos and King City history referenced here.  If you have not had a chance to visit Barry’s website, you really should.  I find his look back on King and his photos, both new and archival to be inspiring – Barry you inspire me to pick up my Camera!).

Changes

I don’t think it is unusual or wrong to lament the change that is taking place in King City.  From the vantage point of my childhood, I certainly do.  But I have to remind myself that like many of our new residents today, that I too arrived in King City at a time of change.  My family moved to King City from Kleinburg when I was 8 years old.  It was 1972.  York County (now the Region of York) had just finished widening  Keele Street and King Side Road to 4 lanes each, gutting both roads by removing the canopy of hundred year old sugar maples that lined them – changing the character of old downtown King City forever.

main street king looking south  i believe

The King City Lion’s Arena had just opened its doors. I played defense on a tyke hockey team sponsored by Kingmark Homes – one of the new home builders in town.  We won the championship that year, the year of the  Canada Russia Summit Series.

1972-1973Paul Henderson

I lived on Dufferin Street just south of the King Road back when it was a gravel road all the way to Major McKenzie.  My old house is still there but its been bought by a developer.  He’s cleared all the trees and I expect the place I grew up in will soon be demolished.  I learned to Ski at Honey Pot where Eagles Nest is located now.  I went to Doris M. Patton School on Keele Street (where I was taught by Carson Bice), which was also a gravel road north of that old school.

Carson Bice

Photo by Barry Wallace – for more visit cameraonking.blogspot.ca

I remember Marty’s Barber Shop which was located where the Hunt Pub is now below Hogans Inn, and Peter Boyd’s GM Dealership which was Doc Gordon’s Garage before that. This now the site of the Shoppers Drug Mart.   And of course the Fountain Esso – when it actually had a fountain.  First opened by Harry McBride in the late 1950’s, and now owned by the Siarkas Family since 1974.

harry mcbrides esso at dufferin and king road in 50s

I think that for many, a feeling of security and well being is derivative of the permanence of places where fond memories were formed, and that the rapid and transformative change that occurs through growth upsets that sense of security as the demolition of old buildings and the transformation of old places in effect erases the basis upon which those memories were formed.  Its a though a part of us, is taken from us, and this I think is why change caused by rapid growth, at least in part, is difficult for some to accept.

The tendency to look back and reminisce on fond memories in the places we call home is natural, and visiting those places, just to know that they still exist can be comforting.  For me, King City has been that place for most of my childhood and all of my adult life, and it is now the place where my kids are also growing up.  It’s a place they appreciate now as much as I did as a boy.  It is the place of their childhood, as it was for me,  but in a different time.  This is their time.

In my heart, when I see my friends’ parents and old hockey coaches, I still feel like that teenaged kid hanging out with my friends in Town, but now watching my teenaged kids doing the same thing, I realize that for quite some time now, I’ve been Reelin in the Years.

Reelin in the Years, By Steely Dan. Released 1972

Development Applications in King City Underway

Posted by Cleve Mortelliti On April - 11 - 2009 2 COMMENTS

Shoppers Drug Mart Soon to Make First Major Impact in Village Core

As reported in the King Sentinel and the King Weekly on March 25th 2009 regarding the site plan approval of the Shoppers Drug Mart in King City, I would like, as the Councillor for Ward 1, to provide comment in my own words, and to also provide you with a synopsis of the evolution of this site plan development that took place over the course of the last 18 months.

Why Shoppers?  Why not something “better”?

Since 2006, it had been rumoured that Shoppers Drug Mart among others, such as Sobeys, and other private developers, had interest in purchasing the old GM Dealership.  I had asked our staff to keep me apprised of any sale of this property due to its importance to the core of the Village of King City.   As many of you will recall, and to some’s dismay, the existing building was demolished some time in 2007.    As I understand it, it was the owners of the old dealership who undertook to demolish the building and clean up the site of hydrocarbon contamination in order to make the land more appealing to a prospective developer/purchaser.

Shoppers Drug Mart in North Aurora

No one wants to buy a contaminated site, and this site was contaminated by hydrocarbons and petroleum byproducts because as some of you will recall, this site not only operated as a new and used car dealership for many years, but even prior to this, it operated a gas station dating back 5 decades or more.

In August of 2007, I was informed that a numbered “Canada Limited” company had bought the land.  My immediate assumption was that it had to be either Shoppers or Sobeys as such corporations fit the criteria of a “Canada Limited” company meaning that they are active nationally, and not just in Ontario.
Soon after, Shoppers Drug Mart made it known that they are the new owners of the land and would be pursuing rezoning and site plan approval for a new Shoppers Drug Mart on this site.
Privately, I can recall feeling extremely disappointed, and also somewhat defeated.  I wanted something “better” for King City  but I knew that our council, even if the majority opposed it, (which was highly unlikely) would have an extremely difficult time defending such opposition at the OMB because our community plan (The Official Plan for King City) does not prohibit this land use on this property meaning, Shoppers had every legal right to apply for this store, in the same way that any residential landowner has an inherent right to build a house or an addition.

Making The Best Of It

As some of you are aware, I am a certified member of the Ontario Association of Engineering Technicians and Technologists (OACETT).  My specialty is Civil Engineering, and I have worked in civil engineering and land development for over 20 years.  During the election of 2006, I made a commitment to use this experience “in defense of King Township” Shortly after the realization of Shoppers Drug Mart had sunk in, I made a personal commitment to make the best of this and to use my experience to positively engage the Director of Planning and Development at Shoppers Drug Mart in order to test their willingness to make this building fit into our village as best as feasibly and technically possible. The net result is we have secured a building complete with new landscaping and streetscaping that has evolved from an initial submission that failed to hit the mark, to one that perhaps does not entirely hit the mark, but is one that will bestow a very clean and much more pleasing look than what currently exists  – that of a weed overrun parking lot with concrete jersey barriers at the street line, cracked and broken sidewalks, fallen down, rusted light standards with the zoning permissions for a used car lot.  Had Shoppers not bought this this lot, it may very well be filled with used cars today, with no legal requirement from the Township eliminate that type of use.

The Technical Issues That Limit Aesthetics, The Nature of Aesthetics and Individual Tastes.

During the May 2008 council meeting last year when Shoppers presented the first iteration of the proposed building to the public, the buzz was that it was an ugly, huge, flat roofed eyesore, with a mish mash of exterior stylings that would damage the character of the village.

Original May 2008 King City SDM Submission

However, during that meeting I asked Shoppers if they would agree to take into consideration some suggestions that our Heritage Committee might have to make this building fit better into the village core.  In terms of the development process that is in place in King Township, this is an unusual request, because the Heritage Committee’s mandate is to evaluate heritage buildings yet no heritage building existed on this site.    There was a building that had previously existed, but it had been demolished by the previous owners (i.e. the old car dealership).

Nonetheless, Shoppers agreed to review the Heritage Committees comments, even though there was nothing that legally bound them to do so, except for the desire to build good will within King City as a future land owner, business operator and tax payer in King.

I understood why people wanted a smaller peaked roof building, (I wanted one too) but due to my professional experience, I knew there was a reason the roof was flat, and this had to do with the applicant having to meet the latest Storm Water Management engineering requirements to contain post development storm flows to the predevelopment limit.  Without getting too technical, a flat roof can temporarily store storm water – a peaked roof does not.  And the redevelopment of any site must meet the latest criteria.  It is a function of changing the physical characteristics of the site from a condition that is pervious to rainfall, to one that is not. For example, grass and gravel will absorb rain water and hold it on site, a paved parking lot will not.

Hence, a flat roof was a non-negotiable right and a reality.  So I endeavoured to visit the Towns of Collingwood and Bracebridge during my 2008 summer vacation to photograph the character of a couple of well known old style Ontario Towns and what did I find?  I found that that the main streets of these Towns were lined with 120 year old, flat roofed buildings situated close to the road.  Some will say we have no flat roofed buildings in King City (think again, we do) but my thinking was, lets squeeze some lemonade out this lemon.  If King City is going to get a flat roofed building, let’s work to improve the look of that building.   I guess the problem I discovered is this…put 10 people in a room and ask them what a “nice looking” building looks like, and you’ll get 10 different answers, which is kind of what happened.

The result was, that being the councillor, and the liaison between the public and Shoppers, I did my best to get them to alter windows, signage as well as colour and texture of brick too closely match existing brick in King City, but also to match some of the building materials that were used on a new building built in the last 10 years in Kleinburg.  This building is new, yet was tastefully constructed to look like an old style building.  Shoppers agreed to take this into consideration. Additionally, reference to the Niagara on the Lake Shoppers had been brought to our attention.

New Shoppers in South Aurora

This occurred when a very nice gentleman who lives in the core of King City (you know who you are) emailed me some photographs of the Shoppers Drug Mart from Niagara on the Lake. I in turn, emailed those photos to Stephen Kitchen, our Director of Planning, who immediately sent them off to Shoppers and argued by saying, “if you can do this there, why can’t you do it here?”.  This initiated another lively meeting of which I attended, and it was in this meeting where 99% of what we see on the final plan was negotiated and worked out.  That’s not to say that this building looks like the one in Niagara on the Lake, but what was borrowed from it were the forms of signage, lighting, the use of window awnings on the front facing windows, zero back lit lighting, with gooseneck projected lighting…in other words, all the kinds of aesthetic details and flavours that you tend to find on old Ontario “heritage style” buildings.  But again, when it comes to matters of taste, everyone’s taste is different.

Insofar as height…this will be a 2 storey building.  But then again, the new Shoppers in Aurora is a “2 storey building” (see photo on this page).  The difference though, is that the Aurora store has an overall height of almost 3 storeys.  It’s huge.  Whereas the King City store, is much lower in height with lower ceilings, and it incorporates an articulated second storey meaning that the top floor has a lesser overall square footage than the ground floor such that the walls of the upper floor are set back giving it a smaller appearance and scale than a typical two storey building.  The second floor of this building has been zoned to permit professional medical uses such as a clinic for physicians or dentists.  Again, this is not perfect.  But had we not engaged Shoppers, and if not for our Village Design Guidelines, we might have ended up with a building that looks like the ones in Aurora or Oak Ridges instead of the one that will open in King City one year from now.

Approved King City Shoppers Drug Mart

And another significant feature that I have yet to mention, this will be Shoppers Drug Mart’s  first ever LEED building, to be constructed right here in King City, and this will be the first ever LEED certified building to be built in the Township of King.

The Gift Is Not $20,000 – It’s $30,000

In the first meeting I had with Shoppers, they expressed their desire to make a friendly integration into our village and offered to donate to the Township a cash gift in the amount of $10,000 to $15,000.  Thru the evolution of this application, I made several friendly pitches to up that number to $20,000.  And when I saw the final planning report on March 19 where $20,000 was listed in the report I was very pleased.  But on the day of the council meeting, I called Shoppers again and worked on them to get that number to $30,000 which initially started out with a flat “NO”, but ended 10 minutes later with a “Yes”.

As a result of having collected $20,000 from another developer in Town, we now have a total of $50,000 sitting in a reserve that I have coined the “King City Village Improvement Fund”, to be used, pending approval of council for projects that provide for a tangible, obvious improvement to the Village of King City – to be determined.

Think “A Third, a Third and a Third”

My goal is to grow that pot, and then to apply for a two thirds funding project once it hits at least the $100,000 level.  I hope to get funding for a minimum $300,000 project to benefit the Village of King City.
This may seem like peanuts to some, and imagine my dismay when one person suggested I should have gotten 2 million dollars!…but…seriously?  I think we’re lucky to get anything considering the changes they agreed to make to the building.

A Political Perspective

I believe that consensus building is the key to being an effective councillor  and that such effectiveness is realized when compromises are made out of an attempt to see all sides without shutting the door in any ones face.

Everyone has different opinions and visions.  I know that not everyone will see the good that was achieved here,  but I know that we negotiated some good things for King City that otherwise would have been lost had I simply said “No to Shoppers”.

Respectfully,

Cleve Mortelliti
Councillor – Ward 1
Township of King

Recent Comments

My name is Cleve Mortelliti and I am the Councillor for Ward 1 in the Township of King, Ontario – Canada. I love this Township. King City has been my home since 1972. From 2004 to 2006 I had the privilege to work as an Engineering Administrator for the Township of King. But my overriding desire to make a real difference and to have a more positive, impactful influence on the shape and form of the development wave that is coming to King, led me to leave my employment with the Township and declare my candidacy for Councillor of Ward 1 (King City, Snowball, Kettleby). At approximately 10:00pm on November 13th, 2006 I was truly thrilled to learn that the residents and ratepayers of Ward 1 had bestowed their trust in me to serve as their councillor for the next 4 years . In the successive 2010, and 2014 elections I was re-elected by acclamation. It remains my honour and privilege to serve King.

Recent Comments

Development Applications in King City Underway

On Apr-11-2009
Reported by Cleve Mortelliti

THANK YOU KING!

On Sep-17-2010
Reported by Cleve Mortelliti

Reelin’ in the Years

On Sep-6-2014
Reported by Cleve Mortelliti

King City BLACK and Blue Over Schomberg Rec Centre

On Oct-3-2010
Reported by Cleve Mortelliti

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On Jan-13-2010
Reported by Cleve Mortelliti

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