LONDON, ONT. -- A month after a trio of temporary parking lots near Richmond Row received three-year extensions from city council, Farhi Holdings is now seeking an extension for another lot in the core.

On Monday, the Planning and Environment Committee (PEC) considered a request to extend zoning permission to operate a parking lot at 193 Queens Ave. for three years.

The president of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario’s London Chapter, Kelley McKeating, told the PEC that extending surface parking lots in core neighbourhoods shifts development pressure onto heritage buildings.

Committee Chair Phil Squire noted that Farhi Developments was one of several developers who submitted a proposal to city hall to partner in the construction of a public parking garage and mixed-use high rise on the property and a neighbouring city-owned lot.

“There already has been a proposal on that property to develop it, a proposal that was actually stopped by the actions of the city of London,” explained Councillor Squire.

Council put consideration of the parking garage on hold until post-pandemic parking needs can be assessed in the core.

The property began operating as a parking lot in 2007.

The Downtown Parking Strategy determined that the central downtown area has an 81 per cent utilization rate, including the subject property.

Civic administration recommends a three-year extension because, “there is a demonstrated parking shortage in the central (downtown) sub-areas.”

The planning committee voted, 5-1, with Councillor Anna Hopkins opposed, to permit the three-year

extension.

“I would like to encourage the developer to develop here,” added Councillor Anna Hopkins. “This is a place where development can occur.”

Squire says there is a lot to consider before granting parking lot extensions.

“If you are going to have a parking lot, you’re going to have to demonstrate two things: that it’s needed and you are looking to develop it.”

Council will make a final decision on July 6.