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Economic Development >> Crystal Beach Development

Crystal Beach Gateway
"The Renaissance of Crystal Beach"

 

January 16, 2014: The Molinaro Group sent a letter to the Town on December 30, 2013 withdrawing from the project as per their right in the purchase and sale agreement

View the most current Bay Beach Development Plans - Click Here

July 24, 2012: To view a completed signed copy of the Maintenance and Cost Sharing Agreement, Click Here

Sept 13, 2011: Superior Court Dismisses Bay Beach Appeal. For more information please click this link: Media Release

Fort Erie Blog!! The official source for information, insight and discussion of Town business including the South Beach Condominium project (Crystal Beach Development) - Click here to access the site!

Site Plan Open House: Wednesday August 24, 2011 at 7:00pm - Click here for more information

March 21, 2011: Council voted 4-3 for "alternative 1" in report CAO-08-11, respecting the OMB decision. This allows the project to move forward. To read the full report: CLICK HERE

To view the March 7, 2011 Administrative Report CDS-10-11 regarding the Bay Beach Zoning Repeal - CLICK HERE

New February 22, 2011: Fact and Fiction: Economic information about the Crystal Beach Gateway Project: Click Here

January 31, 2011: OMB Approves Crystal Beach Waterfront Development - Read Press Release - Read Full Report

On June 7, 2010, Town of Fort Erie Council adopted By-law No. 51-10 to enter into an agreement of purchase and sale with Molinaro Group Crystal Beach Waterfront Inc. and By-law No. 52-10 to authorize the entry into a Community Benefits Agreement pursuant to Section 37 of The Planning Act with Molinaro Group Crystal Beach Waterfront Inc., regarding the Crystal Beach Gateway Project at 4155 Erie Road.

To view the Community Benefits Agreement - CLICK HERE

To view the Agreement of Purchase and Sale - CLICK HERE

To view Report CS-22-10 respecting this matter - CLICK HERE

To view the Interoffice Memo from the Town Solicitor to Council respecting certain amendments to the Agreement of Purchase and Sale regarding easements - CLICK HERE

To view the cost estimates for the Community Benefits to be provided through Section 37 of the Planning Act - CLICK HERE

On March 1, 2010, Town of Fort Erie Council adopted By-law 26-10, approving the rezoning of a 0.6 ha portion of the Bay Beach property to permit the proposed development. To see a copy of the by-law - CLICK HERE

For a copy of the Notice of Passing of By-law 26-10 - CLICK HERE


 

To view Administrative Report CDS-08-10, Staff's Recommendation on the Proposed Zoning By-law Amendment - CLICK HERE






The Town of Fort Erie is committed to ensuring that the public beach at Crystal Beach remains the enjoyable, free, public amenity that it is today….

but we stand ready to lead the community to a brighter future as the premiere destination in Niagara for year-round living, entertainment, recreation and natural beauty.

VIEW A VIDEO OF THE PROJECT - Click Here







The Crystal Beach Gateway Project not only signals the renaissance of this lakeside community, but results in a first class, accessible public beach with enhanced public amenities. This will contribute to a fun and enjoyable beach experience for all. The project includes a public pavilion, concessions and various venues to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of Lake Erie year-round.

News

Thank you to all those who braved the inclement weather and came out to the Open House No 1 on December 10, 2009. For those who were not able to make it, all of the information material and display boards will remain in the Town Hall Atrium, and comment sheets are available. Feel free to visit Planning Staff on the 2nd floor of Town Hall for additional information.



Important Links

Memorandum of Understanding between the Town of Fort Erie and the Molinaro Group - CLICK HERE

Details of the Crystal Beach Gateway Development Proposal - CLICK HERE

Public Meeting/Open House Schedule for Rezoning Application - CLICK HERE

Copy of the Application for Rezoning submitted November 26, 2009 - CLICK HERE

Building Elevation Drawings and Site Plan Drawing - CLICK HERE

Notice of Complete Application on November 27, 2009 - CLICK HERE

Copy of the Planning Justification Report submitted November 26, 2009 - CLICK HERE

Appendices to Planning Justification Report - CLICK HERE

History of the Bay Beach Property- CLICK HERE

How the project design has changed based upon public input- CLICK HERE

Benefits resulting from the project- CLICK HERE

Development Project Report to Council - CLICK HERE

Submit your questions & comments - CLICK HERE

Visit the Molinaro Group Website - CLICK HERE

Read the 2007 Crystal Beach Parking Study - CLICK HERE

To view the Bay Beach Media Release - CLICK HERE

Fort Erie Times Article on Crystal Beach Development 12/19/09 - CLICK HERE



Project Details

The Crystal Beach Gateway Project is a Public/private partnership between the Town of Fort Erie and The Molinaro Group of Burlington, Ontario. It represents a substantial investment in Crystal Beach and the Town of Fort Erie. The project is in line with the Town’s original objectives outlined when the property was purchased from a private company in 2001, and is supported by a number of plans and studies. An open accessible public beach is the Town's most important goal in the proposed concept.

The Crystal Beach Gateway Project will assist in the revitalization of the community, and begin the process for obtaining even more public beach in the future.

Proposed Site Plan





Project Highlights


- The Town retains ownership of the 1000-foot public beach, best in the Niagara Peninsula


-An inspiring 12-storey multi-purpose building on the non-beach portion of the property, including a Municipal public facility, food/drink facilities for beach users, public washrooms/changerooms, a waterview restaurant, and approximately 87 condominium residences above the first floor

-100-foot wide public open space next to the municipal public facility, providing additional recreation area, access to the public beach and open views to Lake Erie from Erie Road

- Additional 100-foot wide open air plaza area next to the municipal public building, fully accessible to the public and available for outdoor events such as concerts/festivals

-The Town keeps the public parking areas on the north side of Erie Road, with improvements resulting in approximately 126 spaces

-Improvements to Erie Road, including street landscaping, pedestrian crossings, and a “gateway destination tower” signaling arrival at the beach

-Parking for the condominium to be located entirely underground, resulting in a more open/landscaped site design at ground level. Landscaping will cover over 75% of the site

-A public waterfront promenade/boardwalk along the beach, with potential for additional connections easterly and westerly as identified in the Crystal Beach Neighbourhood Plan

-Building will be designed under the energy efficiency standards of Canada Green Building Council’s LEED program

-This project elevates Crystal Beach to a new level of awareness and recognition throughout the region and beyond, which will assist in promoting additional investment in the community and help to secure a sustainable and healthy future for our residents


History of the Bay Beach Property

The site that is subject of this development project has a long history of residential and recreational use, dating back over 100 years.

-The Rebstock Family operated the private beach and concessions for decades, with as many as 55 seasonal residential dwellings located on the “uplands” portion of the property

-In 2001 the Town of Fort Erie purchased the entire Rebstock property for $2.05 million, with the purpose of expanding its public beach lands and disposing of the “uplands” in order to provide the taxpayers of Fort Erie with a return on their investment, and to assist in stimulating growth and development in an area of Town that was in dire need of such assistance

-In 2002 a design charette was held which brought top urban designers and architects from across Ontario together in order to assist the Town with development and design ideas for the property.

-From 2001 to 2008 improvements were made to the site to enhance the beach experience until a final solution could be found for the ultimate use of the site. These enhancements included security fencing, berming, new washroom facilities, removal of derelict buildings, and improvements to public parking areas

-In 2005 Council adopted the Crystal Beach Neighbourhood Plan. Although the Plan does not suggest a particular development option for the site, it does provide design guidelines for whatever type of development advances, including open space elements, public art, beach entrance feature, washrooms/changerooms, and a waterfront boardwalk

-In late 2005 Council, after receiving an Economic Impact Analysis for various development options for the site, chose a plan of action that would see the south side of Erie Road retained for public open space uses and parking. The price tag associated with developing the lands into a public park (including Erie Road improvements and parking improvements) was approximately $3 million

-In 2009, Town Council chose to change its course of action for this property by inviting proposals for a public/private partnership which would result in the Town retaining ownership of the beach, and the uplands being utilized in whole or in part for private development

-Council has chosen The Molinaro Group of Burlington, Ontario as its preferred partner in what is now known as The Crystal Beach Gateway Project. The Molinaro Group has extensive expertise in condominium development in the GTA and GGH area. Various studies and public consultations have taken place since project announcement, leading up to the rezoning application submitted in November 2009.


How the Project Design Has Changed Based Upon Public Input

The site and building design have changed substantially since the concept was first brought to the public in 2009. Responding to the public input received through the many community forums held over 2009, the following improvements have been incorporated into the project:

-Building construction has been scaled back dramatically in favour of more public open space, including the extension of public open space from the shoreline all the way to Erie Road

-Removal of one of the 12-storey buildings to provide for even more open space

-Elimination of proposed commercial plazas on the north side of Erie Road in favour of retaining the public parking located there now. Approximately 126 parking spaces will be available in the north lots

-The municipal public facility has been made part of the tower building including food/drink facilities

-The number of residential units has been scaled back to 87 units

-Building design has changed dramatically, in order to create an inspiring structure that reflects the future of the Crystal Beach community

-Beach enhancement and naturalization areas will be incorporated into the design in order to provide improved habitat for Fowler's Toad


Benefits Resulting from the Project

-The Town recoups its original investment in the property through site improvements and public facilities including the Town Pavilion, public washrooms/changerooms, Erie Road streetscaping, destination gateway feature, boardwalk/promenade, parking area improvements, beach enhancements

-Through this private sector investment, improvement and enhancement of Bay Beach is accomplished in a way that does not impact the taxpayers of the Town

-The Town receives an ongoing cash influx through increased assessment on the property

-The project acts as a catalyst for future development and enhancements in the Crystal Beach community

-Most importantly, the public retains the beach lands and access to the vast majority of the site forever




Planning Justification Report

Due to the large file size of the document, the Planning Justification Report has been split into a series of PDFs for ease of downloading:

Notice of Complete Application
Executive Summary
Sections 2-7 - Introduction
Sections 8-9 - Planning Policy Documents
Section 10 - Planning Opinion
Section 11 - Conclusions
Addendum to Planning Justification Report


Planning Justification Report Appendices (Schedules)


Title Page
Location Maps
Aerial Map
Historical Photos
Concept Plan
Provincial Policy
Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe
Regional Niagara Policy Plan
Regional Niagara Sustainable Communities Policies
Regional Niagara Economic Growth Strategy
Town of Fort Erie Official Plan
New Town of Fort Erie Official Plan
Crystal Beach Neighbourhood Plan
Crystal Beach Neighbourhood Parking Study
Town of Fort Erie Zoning By-law 129-90
Staff Report CDS-043-09
Shadow Study
Flood and Dynamic Beach Hazard Assessment



Building Elevation Drawings and Site Plan



The following preliminary drawings are available as downloadable PDF documents:
Site Plan
Ground Floor Plan
North Elevation
South Elevation
West Elevation
East Elevation


Public Meeting/Open House Schedule for Rezoning Application


The schedule for Open Houses and public meetings is proposed to be as follows.



OPEN HOUSE NO. 1
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2009 FROM 2-4 PM AND 6-8 PM
TOWN HALL ATRIUM
1 MUNICIPAL CENTRE DRIVE, FORT ERIE, ON L2A 5S6
(905) 871-1600

OPEN HOUSE NO. 2
THURSDAY, JANUARY 14, 2010 FROM 2-4 PM AND 6-8 PM
TOWN HALL ATRIUM
1 MUNICIPAL CENTRE DRIVE, FORT ERIE, ON L2A 5S6
(905) 871-1600

PUBLIC MEETING - PLANNING ACT OF ONTARIO
MONDAY, JANUARY 25, 2010 6:00 PM
TOWN HALL COUNCIL CHAMBERS
1 MUNICIPAL CENTRE DRIVE, FORT ERIE, ON L2A 5S6
(905) 871-1600



FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

NOTE: To view the answer please click on the question.

 
How did we get to this point, when the previous Council had decided on a different development scenario for this site?
 
What is the ownership scenario proposed through this transaction?
 
Was a parking study ever done for Crystal Beach? What were the results?
 
Why are we attempting to attract more people to Crystal Beach? Who are we trying to attract?
 
What was the result of the Random Focus Group Survey done in mid-2009?
 
What is the size of the units proposed in this development?
 
What effect will the additional commercial space have on the existing downtown core?
 
Why is the proposed building 12-storeys high? Does it have to be that tall?
 
What about the storm effects of Lake Erie? Wont there be issues with wave action, as well as flooding issues with the underground parking level?
 

What is the longer-term vision for Crystal Beach, and how does this project fit into it?

 
What is the process that the Town will have to follow in order to move this proposal forward?
 
How will the proposed development be serviced? Is there sufficient capacity at the Crystal Beach Wastewater Treatment Plant? Will this project result in any sewage overflow into Lake Erie?
 
I own property along the lake, and I heard that the Town intends to claim my private beach for public purposes. Is this true?
 
What about shadows? Will the tall building cast shadows on the beach and on surrounding properties?
 
Will the proposed project be a “gated community” similar to the development on the old amusement park grounds?
 



 
Q) How did we get to this point, when the previous Council had decided on a different development scenario for this site?

A) The previous Council had decided on a development scenario that would involve keeping the south side of Erie Road in public ownership, including renovations to the Lobster House for use as a leasable facility. At Council’s request, Staff obtained the services of an architect in order to quantify the costs associated with not only renovation of the Lobster House but also development of the south side of Erie Road for public parkland. It was determined that it would cost $250,000 to bring the Lobster House to a state of readiness for a private entity to lease the building, and that it would take another $250,000 to make leasehold improvements to suit the tenant. Staff also suggested to Council that the development of the Lobster House could not be considered without also considering how the rest of the property would be developed for parks purposes. Council, during its 2008 budget deliberations, elected to again consider the possibility of a public-private partnership, in order to provide public amenities. Staff subsequently sought out two Ontario developers with waterfront experience to provide proposals. Council has chosen to proceed with the proposal of the Molinaro Group.



 
Q) What is the ownership scenario proposed through this transaction?

A)The currently proposed ownership scenario (subject to additional review by Town and Proponent) is as follows :


  • -The Town would retain ownership of all beach lands
     
  • -The Town would convey for development the lands being the area of the underground parking garage (the “podium” area), the building envelope, and the area extending north to Erie Rd and west to the lot line, subject to an easement in perpetuity for public access and use over the “podium” area, and the area extending northerly to Erie Road in front of the proposed building except the loading area and parking garage entrance on the west side;
     
  • -The Town would become the owner of a ground floor condominium unit within the proposed building, for use as a public pavilion;
     
  • -The Town would retain ownership of all other lands south of Erie Road;
     
  • -The Town would retain ownership of the lands north of Erie Road (parking lots).


    Any easements would be registered on title, and can not be removed without the approval of Town Council



 
Q) Was a parking study ever done for Crystal Beach? What were the results?

A) A parking study was completed during the summers of 2006 and 2007 - Click here to view the parking study

· The results indicated that there was currently sufficient parking provided through public and private facilities (including on-street parking) for the great majority of days throughout the year.

· There were 5-6 days per year where the demand for parking exceeded the capacity, typically on a holiday weekend in summer with ideal beach weather

· The "Market Lot" (south side of Erie Road, west of Derby Road) is the greatest variable, since it is not under Municipal control

· The Town has various options for providing public parking spaces in the area. This will be discussed further with the local business owners.



 
Q) Why are we attempting to attract more people to Crystal Beach? Who are we trying to attract?

A) The Town would like to create a year-round vibrancy in Crystal Beach, and reduce the seasonal nature of visitation

· The Town and Business owners want to create an attraction and a destination that will attract people year round. The proposed Town pavilion/reception centre as well as the large outdoor public assembly area allows for programmed uses and events throughout the year including a wide range of public gatherings and events.

· We are attempting to “broaden the appeal” of Crystal Beach, and to change both the visitor profile of and bring more residents to the community



 
Q) What was the result of the Random Focus Group Survey done in mid-2009?

A) A report was presented to Council on the results of the Focus Group Survey. Opinion on the matter was balanced. All agreed that “something” needs to be done in Crystal Beach, the status quo is not acceptable.

Participants felt that this new form of housing was something that was required in Fort Erie, as it provided for more options allowed members of the community to “age-in-place” in a housing form that requires less maintenance.



 
Q) What is the size of the units proposed in this development?

A) Most units will be one and two-bedroom, with varying unit sizes. Final layout will depend on the results of the proponent's market study.



 
Q) What effect will the additional commercial space have on the existing downtown core?

A) The proposed amount of commercial space has been reduced substantially. Proposed commercial development on the north side of Erie Road has been eliminated in favour of retaining the existing parking areas. The remaining commercial space will be located within the condominium building, in order to provided services to beachgoers, condo residents and the general public (i.e. concessions, restaurant, beach supplies)



 
Q) Why is the proposed building 12-storeys high? Does it have to be that tall?

A) To make the project feasible, higher density is required. That density can either be spread out on the site, or concentrated in a taller building. A taller building allows for more open space at ground-level



 
Q) What about the storm effects of Lake Erie? Wont there be issues with wave action, as well as flooding issues with the underground parking level?

A) All applicable regulations related to flood-proofing will be met. The project would be engineered to withstand the effects of storm action of the lake.



 
Q) What is the longer-term vision for Crystal Beach, and how does this project fit into it?

A) The Town would like to grow the public beach from Crystal Beach, to someday encompass the entire sandy shoreline from Crystal Beach to the western end of Abino Bay. The current low density development along the south side of Erie Road in this area may not be economically sustainable in the long term. These lands should be planned for higher density residential uses. This is, however, entirely at the discretion of the property owner.



 
Q)What is the process that the Town will have to follow in order to move this proposal forward?

A) The project requires a zoning amendment in order to permit buildings greater than 3-storeys on-site, as well as other variances to the zoning by-law required by the final building design. Zoning approval is a public process under the Ontario Planning Act, and a public hearing will be held on January 25, 2010 regarding this matter. Notice of the hearing will be given to all property owners within 120m of the property, and will be advertised in the newspaper as well. Once zoning is in place, Site Plan approval will be required, which will detail the location and nature of buildings, landscaping, parking areas and other amenities on-site. As well, Council will have to ultimately make the decision to transfer the property, and the value of property. If all of the above takes place, then building permits will be required in order to begin construction. Construction will not begin until the developer/financier is satisfied that sufficient units have been sold to allow the project to proceed. Construction is expected to last about 2 to 3 years.



 
Q) How will the proposed development be serviced? Is there sufficient capacity at the Crystal Beach Wastewater Treatment Plant? Will this project result in any sewage overflow into Lake Erie?

A) The proposal will be fully serviced by municipal water and wastewater facilities. There are currently no servicing capacity issues in this area. The Crystal Beach Wastewater Treatment Facility has sufficient capacity to service this project.



 
Q) I own property along the lake, and I heard that the Town intends to claim my private beach for public purposes. Is this true?

A
) The Town’s long-term policy is to acquire additional beach property from willing property owners and as a condition of development, in order to expand the public beach. The Town has no intention to expropriate property.



 
Q) What about shadows? Will the tall building cast shadows on the beach and on surrounding properties?

A)
We do not anticipate any shadow effects on the beach, as the beach is located south of the proposed buildings. A shadow analysis is normally required as part of the zoning approval process when multi-storey buildings are proposed.



 
Q) Will the proposed project be a “gated community” similar to the development on the old amusement park grounds?

A)
No. The project will be designed with complete unrestricted public access in mind. In fact the Town's objective to create a comfortable but exciting visitor experience to keep people coming back again and again.