How tall is too tall on King Street?

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Tonight, Waterloo City Council faces a big decision: whether to approve a development that could substantially change the face and feel of King Street.

The proposed redevelopment of the Canada Post site at King and Bridgeport features a substantial "podium" base with two towers above it: one on King and one on Regina. The rear tower, on Regina, falls within the by-law height limits. The front tower -- proposed as seven storeys above the four-storey podium -- does not.

Council will vote on whether to amend the by-law to allow the podium and that front tower, which would be almost triple the allowed height on King.

Residents have quite rightly been asking me where I stand on the issue. I am a strong advocate for infill development and intensification, but I do not support the front tower on King Street. While the podium design shows much promise, the tower above it would overpower King Street, hamper efforts to create a "human scale" core, and set a troubling precedent.

I am not alone. The staff report to council is matter-of-fact: staff does not support increasing the permitted building height to allow that front tower. (The fact that the podium's "community space" has only been pledged for two years is also a serious concern. Again, I support staff's recommendation to seek a much longer period.)

It's decisions like these that inspired me to run for Council. As your Ward 7 councillor, I will keep the community's best interests front and centre.