Community Benefits & the Proposed Capitol Condo Project

Capitol - rendering - Aug. 2016

Rendering of the proposed Capitol Theatre development, 223 Princess Street 

A new feature has been added to the debate over residential intensification in our downtown: community benefits.

Community benefits, outlined in the provincial Planning Act, are additional offerings provided by a developer that can be included when amendments to zoning are being pursued to allow more height or density.  A city is responsible for negotiating community benefits and any benefits would ultimately require council approval.

Over the next week Kingstonians can offer their input on potential community benefits for our downtown as part of the proposed Capitol Theatre condominium tower, 223 Princess Street.

In this case, this is how the community benefits would work. If the city decides to allow the Capitol condo tower to be built higher than the existing zoning permits, then the city also has the opportunity to ask for additional community benefits such as:

  • Studio space within the condo development that could be used by community cultural groups for shows and presentations
  • Contribution towards a new public parking garage in the downtown
  • A certain number of affordable housing units in partnership with the City’s Affordable Homeownership Program within the condo development
  • Restoration of the original heritage façade for the Princess Street entrance of the development

There has been some confusion about community benefits, so I’d like to be clear – negotiating community benefits are NOT a trade-off system where the more benefits provided equal more height for a condo. This is not the way the zoning approval process works. The Capitol condo project (including the height) will be considered independent of the community benefits.

The addition of community benefits, such as the options described above, does not force City Council to approve the Capitol project. These benefits are simply an opportunity to enhance a residential development and add value to the community. In my view, we should take this opportunity to add as much to our downtown as we can.

So, what are your thoughts on community benefits for this proposal? Send your comments by e-mail to by Tuesday, August 9th


3 Responses

  1. Deb Tester says:

    Please limit the height of the condo development.
    A community benefit to consider is an Indigenous Centre for community needs as requested by a local First Nations Elder at a Kingston Community Foundations presentation.

  2. Gen payn says:

    I am curious about Official Plans for a city- isn’t this where cities can protect itself and citizens from contractors and developers? Why would a city go through the trouble of having such restrictions and rules if any developer/contractor can offer a parking lot or space for local art and then they get an extra 5-10 stories for the new building. It is my firm belief that the decision around the Capitol development was made a long time ago but “we” citizens were strung along and made to feel that consultations and inclusive meetings meant something. I attended a meeting where a gentleman had gone through considerable trouble to present a physical mock up of a horizontal development and I saw absolutely no attention paid to it. Did anyone from the council/city staff even consider this possibility? If this particular developer wouldn’t go for such a plan – then look for a local one who would respect us and our city; one who lives and works here not Toronto. So very disappointing!

  3. Elizabeth Solomon says:

    these benefits are laughable, and certainly don’t persuade anyone to say ok to towers in downtown Kinston!

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