Minor Variance (HM-A-13:75)


Dear Staircase Supporters,

We need your help to convince the Committee of Adjustments that The Staircase is worthy of being forgiven a few parking spaces so that we can continue to operate as usual.
The Issue
We need to increase the occupancy in The Staircase building, and there is not enough on site parking (according to the city). 
The Background
The Staircase has been a responsible member of the Strathcona and Hamilton communities for 15 years. We have operated with a liquor license for ten years. Recently the AGCO (liquor regulators) informed us that the way we have been calculating occupancy for the last 15 years is no longer allowed. Because of this decision we need to apply for a change in occupancy so that we can continue to operate the way we have been operating for more than a decade. Yes it seems odd, but rules change to make world a safer and healthier place. So while we previously could host a party of 100 in the cafe the new (to us) interpretation would limit us to 30. This would put an end to our financial life blood of parties, weddings, funerals (yes really), product launches, receptions, etc. We have never had a complaint against us and our patrons have always been thoughtful and considerate to the neighbourhood. As we have said we have been hosting 100 person parties in the cafe for more than a decade. We need to change the occupancy to reflect how things have always been.  The way we will be using the building will NOT change. Once this is cleared up we will again be allowed to use the building the way we have always been using it. Is your head spinning yet?
The Process
The process is both an AGCO process and Hamilton City process. We have passed our detailed health inspection. We have passed all but the occupancy part of the fire inspection. We are waiting on a letter from the city that tells the AGCO that our occupancy (calculated the new way) is okay. Once these three parts (fire, health, and building department) are in place the AGCO will amend our license for occupancy. Our liquor license remains in GOOD standing.  According the calculations we are short about 10 parking spaces. To be forgiven these missing parking spaces we need to get a minor variance to a bylaw. However there is no change in the way we use the building, so these missing spots are hypothetical.
The Update (May 30th)
You can see the result of the petition below. Mr. Baldry has received more than 70 letters of support and no complaints as of last Thursday. The support has been wonderfully overwhelming! Thanks to one and all. We meet the committee of adjustment at 2:35pm on June 6th 2013 in room 192/193 at 70 Main street (city hall). You are welcome to come by and see city hall in process. However only come by if you are free or have the time. Decorum would be expected regardless of the outcome.  Each case is only scheduled for 5 minutes. Our case has been fully made, with thanks to you all.
How Can You Help?
1) sign the petition below.
2) write a letter/email ASAP hearing is June 6th, 2013)
3) do both 1) and 2)
4) spread the word!

Thank you

Colette Kendall, Executive Director
Hugh MacLeod and Kathy Garneau, Owners
In the letter take the time to describe how The Staircase is a good thing for Strathcona and Hamilton. Please let them know what you personally have experienced at The Staircase. Please let us know how you get to The Staircase. Do you drive solo? Carpool? Get dropped off? Bus? Bike? Walk? Please include your full name, address,contact information and role in the community.  
To our more passionate Staircase supporters please be polite. 🙂 The variance is a reasonable process to protect the community from being exploited. We have to go through it. 
Address it to: 
Committee of Adjustment 
c/o Scott Baldry
RE: The Staircase Cafe Theatre Minor Variance Application (HM-A-13:75)
71 Main St. West 5th Floor
Hamilton ON L8P 4Y5
Phone 905.546.2424 x4144
Facsimile 905.546.4202
please cc to mobilehugh@gmail.com


Please confirm your email. Only confirmed emails will be counted on this petition. 


The Staircase Cafe Theatre Minor Variance Application (HM-A-13:75)

This petition is now closed.

End date: Jun 24, 2013

Signatures collected: 590

590 signatures


Latest Staircase Variance Supporters
590Erik CanariaJun 03, 2013
589Gary OvisJun 03, 2013
588Andrew VanhornJun 03, 2013
587Paul PlattJun 02, 2013
586Annalee FlintMay 31, 2013
585Taiga ShieldsMay 31, 2013
584Adele OliverMay 31, 2013
583Charlene AndersonMay 31, 2013
582Mikael AnderssonMay 31, 2013
581David LeamanMay 31, 2013
580William LeGoodMay 31, 2013
579Chris KadetMay 30, 2013
578Elizabeth SeatonMay 30, 2013
577chris veghMay 29, 2013
576mike sweeneyMay 29, 2013
575Doug MillarMay 29, 2013
574Paul BernerMay 29, 2013
573Jennifer RobbMay 29, 2013
572Ted Dinning May 29, 2013
571Jeff BerryMay 29, 2013
570Phil LongMay 29, 2013
569Steff LampmanMay 29, 2013
568Geoffrey MiddlemissMay 29, 2013
567Paul HutchesonMay 29, 2013
566Jay WingerMay 29, 2013

LETTER RESULTS (samples from many)

Good morning Mr.Baldry,

I understand that you are participating in the process of evaluating the minor variance application submitted by the Staircase Café.  As a citizen of Hamilton and proud supporter of the Staircase café for at least 10 years, I urge you to forgive those missing parking spaces such that the Staircase café can go ahead and obtain its AGCO amendment.

My Lindy Hop swing group was renting the top room at the Staircase Café for many years,  until we outgrew the space.  In addition, the Centre français Hamilton inc., on which board I sit, has been using the space for 10 years in varied ways for shows, celebrations, volunteer recognition evenings, French film festivals, youth talent shows and the like.  Over the years, hundreds if not thousands of French speakers have made the treck to the Staircase Café to partake in activities in French.  Parking has never been an issue for any one of us, whether we walked to the Staircase, biked there, took the bus or even drove our car.  We have always respected the Staircase’s neighbours and left quietly and respectfully the building while walking to our vehicle.

This wonderful space which is the Staircase Café contributes to Hamilton’s vibrant cultural scene.  To not provide this variance would lead to very difficult financial times for the Staircase.  We can’t imagine our Hamilton without the Staircase Café.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Hélène Caron

Dundas, ON


Dear Mr. Baldry
I am writing to express my support for minor variance application that is being made by The Staircase. I believe that a minor variance to ease civic parking restrictions will benefit both the local community of Strathcona and the greater Hamilton area.
I live and work in Hamilton and my family and I have been enjoying the fabulous Staircase since a few months after it first opened. Over the years we have attended countless concerts, plays, performances, comedy events, workshops, dance classes, movies, meetings, benefits, and even a memorial service for a dear friend at the Staircase. When the cafe was open full time we were regulars for coffee dates and meals.
Most recently, I took a friend to see the 6 Minute Memoirs fund-raising event on April 20th, hosted by Hamilton’s own Jeff Mahoney and Anne Bokma. It was spectacular. I’ve come to expect nothing less than spectacular from Staircase events, whether they feature newly emerging local talent, or internationally renowned performers. They never disappoint.
I typically carpool with friends and family to the Staircase. Though I must say I have never found parking to be a problem, we just prefer to travel that way. The location is also easily accessible by public transit and many patrons I know are within walking distance and walk to the Staircase events.
The Staircase is a rare and wondrous gem and we are most fortunate to have a venue like this in the heart of our community. Please support this Minor Variance Application and help them continue to do what they do best.
Please register my support for Minor Variance Application (HM-A-13:75).Thank you.
Elizabeth Gray
Hamilton, Ontario


To The Committee of Adjustment 
c/o Scott Baldry
Dear Committee Members,
As a lifelong resident of the Strathcona neighbourhood I am writing in support of the Staircase Cafe Theatre’s application for a minor variance.The Staircase brings something unique and valuable to this neighbourhood and it would be a shame to lose it.    While parking is always an important concern in a residential neighbourhood, the Staircase is situated just meters away from a very well-serviced transit corridor, and many of its patrons, myself included, simply walk to the Theatre from home, negating the need to park at all.   Please consider granting this variance.
Thank you,
Dan Jelly
Strathcona Resident

Dear Mr. Baldry:

 I would like to add my support to the minor variance application by the  Staircase so that they will be allowed to continue in business.
The Staircase  has been a valuable pillar of the arts community serving all of Hamilton for more than a decade now. The owners were invaluable in helping me launch my theatre company and playwriting career and have continued to support me and many others as we have contributed to the quality of life in our city in many many ways.
Please approve their minor variance as soon as possible.
Lee Fairbanks
Dundas, ON
Dear Mr Baldry,

I am writing a letter in support of the bylaw variance for the Staircase.
The Staircase has been a significant part of what Hamiltonians (and Ontarians) are realizing is the ‘new’ Hamilton. A Hamilton that is revitalized by a new concern for quality of life in the city. A Hamilton that has many arts events, revitalized buildings and revitalized neighbourhoods.
It is exciting to know that this neighbourhood has this building and business there. Friends — and colleagues of mine from out of town — are consistently impressed at how many buildings in Hamilton have been revitalized and turned into lovely and useful spaces which benefit all Hamiltonians.
I live in Westdale. I have often attended events at the Staircase. Receptions. Workshops. Rehearsals. Performances. Festivals. I frequently walk or bike there. Sometimes, I have  driven there and parked down the street in the neighbourhood.  Just as many people park on my street for events in Westdale. I can’t imagine that parking would be a problem for the Staircase such that the continuation of its operation would be hindered by its being unable to get a bylaw variance.
I understand that there haven’t been any neighbourhood complaints. I understand why. Events at the Staircase don’t go on late into the night. The patrons are not rowdy–events that occur at the Staircase are always classy, controlled, and well managed. The Staircase attracts a sophisticated clientele. The Staircase seems the perfect kind of building/business to have in this neighbourhood. One that brings worthy events and good patrons to the neighbourhood. It is a perfect exemplar of what the new neighbourhoods of downtown/lowercity Hamilton should be.
We want to support such vital contributors to Hamilton. Economic. Cultural. Artistic. Architecture. To support such a business that brings such vitality of the neighbourhood. Certainly having such a building in operation must be good for the spirit and reputation of the neighbourhood. For property values.
 It is important to enable such an important and vital part of Hamilton and the Strathcona community and as such, I wholeheartedly support a bylaw variance.
Yours truly,
Gary Barwin, PhD
Hamilton ON L8S 3N7
 Posted by at 23:54