Another ‘minor variance’

6 04 2008

We have just received notice for an application for a ‘minor variance’  for 670 Edison. In January the applicant received approval for the creation of 3 conforming lots at the corner of Edison and Greenwood. At the time the question was asked if the proposed housing met all the conditions of the Zoning By-law and therefore didn’t require any minor variances. The applicant replied that they required no minor variances. Now they have applied for minor variances for the 3 houses. There is a height limit in Westboro for two storeys. The applicant wants to build 3 storeys. In November 2007 the CoA approved another application for a 3 storey residence on Edison near Greenwood with the comment that there would be no impact on the community. It appears there could be an impact and we would like to hear from you so we know what you think about this specific application and the impact of having 3 storeys in a 2 storey community.

Gary Ludington 




3 responses

8 04 2008

3 storey from 2 stories can make a big impact on the asthetic feel and public scale of a neighbourhood.
I guess the questions to consider is do we want Westboro to have the option of becoming 3 storey residences for that will be the case if you let one neighbour have the zoning it will definitely have a zoning impact for another neighbour who wants to do the same thing. I don’t think the city would be able to say yes to one and no to someelse right next door.
That being said, the Glebe is a great community that is still very human in scale and inviting to be in. However these 3 to 4 storey homes generally have the same architectural characteristic and are consistant in maintaining a uniform style – could this be possible in Westboro – if we allowed 3 storeys into our community would there be a design committee in charge of making sure that what get’s design and built meets the current characteristics of Westboro?

10 04 2008

It depends what the rest of the house/development looks like, and specifically how deep it goes on the lot. In my neighbourhood there are three storey houses that are perfectly in character and two storey houses that are monstrosities. I’ll take a three storey house that’s only 40′ deep over a two storey that’s the maximum 65′ deep any day, especially if the three storey uses gabling for the third storey. Though depth would at first seem irrelevant from the street, in fact you can see enough of it from oblique angles and the effect it has on rooflines that it makes a difference.

Btw, as I mentionned above, we already have three-storey houses in Westboro. Last year a semi was built on Kirchoffer that is three storeys (plus a fourth in the gables), and it is the full 65′ deep too. Each semi is something like 3000 sq.ft. and the entire 50′ frontage was paved with faux slate.

11 04 2008

I don’t disagee that three storeys is a possible fit in our neighbourhood. The semis on Kirchoffer are an example of what doesn’t work for anybody but the developer. The height limit in Westboro Beach is 10.7M and South of Scott changes to 8M. I asked the City planners working on the new zoning by-law why not have a standard height limit and then there are no more applications for a ‘minor variance’. This is the answer the WCA received.

Mr. Ludington,

When the Ottawa Zoning By-law 1998 project was undertaken, the policies of the Official Plan at that time were equally set on intensification through infill as well as in maintaining neighbourhood character. When implementing the neighbourhood character objectives, we had to deal with only those zoning matters that could be dealt with under Section 34 of the Planning Act. Standards including dwelling type, lot width and area, setbacks and height were reviewed on a lot-by-lot basis in all of the residential neighbourhoods.

Where it was determined that the existing built form of an area within a neighbourhood included development primarily consisting of one or two storey dwellings, the maximum height limit was reduced from the 10.7m to 8 m to limit future infill to two storeys, so that the new infill (or redevelopment) would be in keeping with the established character for the area. There were many areas that had the maximum height limit lowered, all with the aim of ensuring that new development would not overwhelm existing development, and the creation of “monster homes” would be reduced.

Part of this zoning study is to harmonize existing zoning by-laws, but such harmonization is not supposed to be a “one size fits all” but rather be sensitive to existing neighbourhood character; in this sense, where established character was of one- and two -storey dwellings, the maximum height was retained . The current Official Plan speaks to having infill fit into its context; and the adjusted height under Zoning By-law 1998 enables contextual fit in established neighbourhoods.

Gary Ludington

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: