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City Reverses Starbank Decision, With String Attached

The city is going to allow Starbank more retail space after all. Council changed its tune on Thursday night, after seeing the developer was ready to press the issue with the Ontario Municipal Board. It was set to be an expensive fight for the city, and Councillor Paul Plant tabled a motion to allow the 20,000 square-foot expansion of the Norwich Ave. plaza. "That motion was a compromise...the 20,000, I'm not thrilled about. I think we have enough (commercial) land as it is, but if they get a tenant, great." However, the motion would also limit Starbank to having stores over 3,500 square feet of space. "The 3,500, that's basically the type of units we have downtown. Those units aren't just for retail, they're for service, and other things that would be allowed." Plant felt that would prevent smaller downtown-type stores and services from moving out of the core. Council also avoided an expensive development battle before the OMB. The city had budgeted $40,000 to pay for a lawyer and planner that they may now be able to take off the books. The city will still have to wait and see what Starbank's response to the amendment will be.

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