Municipality looks for parking solution for Princes Court


By Barb McKay


The Municipality of Kincardine has agreed to help the owners of Princes Court find sorely needed parking in order to operate the property as an apartment building.


Ron Davidson, of Land Use Planning Consultant Inc., attended Kincardine’s planning advisory committee meeting last Wednesday on behalf of Princes Court’s owner, Max Daigle, to request a zone change on the property to allow it to be used as an apartment building. Princes Court formerly operated as a retirement home, but more recently has provided rental accommodations, mainly to out of town contractors.


Davidson said the property owner needs the zoning to be changed to the proper zoning because it’s costing him money.


“The owner has found that by not having proper zoning it’s caused problems with his mortgage rates,” he said. “He pays a very high rate and no lending institution will give him a lower rate.”


The building currently operates 22 rooms, most with private washrooms. Under the property’s residential zoning, Princes Court was required to provide 30 parking spaces for tenants and visitors. The property only has enough room for 12 spaces.


Davidson told the committee that tenants have been allowed to use six parking spaces at the nearby Bruce Power training centre at the corner of Russell Street and Princes Street, but there is no formal agreement. He asked the committee to consider exempting Princes Court from requiring visitor parking, because quite frankly, he noted, there are no visitors. The contractors who rent the rooms, typically on a monthly basis, stay at Princes Court during the week and return to their homes on weekends. He added that the apartment building would be a benefit to downtown businesses, because tenants often go out for their meals.


Davidson said Daigle was also interested in cash in lieu of parking agreement with the municipality, which would allow tenants to park on the street or in the municipal parking lot off Princes Street for a fee.


Paul Rigby, who lives next to the Princes Court property, said a similar request was made by the property owner four years ago and it was rejected.


“What has changed since then?” he asked. “I’ve personally counted 20 cars that have been connected to 731 Princes Street on the street or in (Victoria Park).”


Rigby said he has no problem with Daigle and said it’s nice to see the building put to use, but he is concerned about the number of cars that line the street on any given day.


Deputy mayor Anne Eadie, who has relatives who have been residents of Princes Court, agreed.


“It’s a busy street at times with the funeral home and the church,” she said. “I don’t think the extra parking should be on the street.”


Mayor Larry Kraemer said he can clearly remember the issue being brought before the committee four years ago, but said at that time the committee didn’t have a unanimous opinion of what to do.


“A lot of towns and villages take payment in lieu,” councillor Jacqueline Faubert interjected. She said the money could be put in a reserve fund for parking lot maintenance or road work.


The committee agreed to change the zoning on the property to reduce the required number of parking spaces, but enforced a holding provision until the parking issue is resolved. The holding provision requires a site plan agreement between the property owner and the municipality to provide additional off-site parking.