Development that may affect you…

14 04 2008

The Richmond Road/Westboro Community Design Plan (CDP) process has been underway in Ottawa for three years. The goal of the study was to develop a broad and integrated twenty-year vision for the Richmond Road/Westboro area in order to guide both private development and the undertaking of public works. City Council adopted the CDP as policy on July 9, 2007. 

Unfortunately, since then it appears to us that neither the City’s own planning department nor developers are undertaking development in Westboro with due regard to the CDP, or taking into account the effort that was put into this process or what the community as a whole is trying to achieve. Keep reading for a description of several recent events that may have a significant impact on development in our community.

On April 8th, at the City’s Planning and Environment Committee (PEC) an agent for two developers advised PEC members that Ashcroft Homes, the new owner of the Canadian Tire property on Richmond Road, would be seeking a height increase to permit a building of nine storeys. They intend to challenge the Community Design Plan recommendation for the sight which is four to six storeys. They are also the owners of 93 Richmond Road which was the subject of an Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) hearing in 2006. To see this decision go to the OMB site select E-Decisions and search on 3321.

Also this week the CDP’s public advisory team (PAC) was presented with the Phase 2 proposal for Westboro Station (Bourk site). The developer indicated they would be seeking re-zoning to permit a twelve-storey building at the corner of Roosevelt and Byron. We have several drawings of the proposal but the two we have posted show the 12 storey proposal as well as what could be built under the current zoning as well as the CDP which is six storeys. As part of the re-zoning process the WCA will be requesting a community meeting and anyone can go to PEC and speak when the application is heard.

Last week there was a five-day OMB hearing on 747 Richmond Road at Cleary. The proposal for this site started out with two towers of 19 and 21 storeys and is now down to 12 and 15. The CDP recommendation was 6 storeys maximum. We will post the decision when it is received.

On April 10 there was an OMB hearing on a proposed development at 300 Richmond Road at the corner of Eden. This used car lot is 98 feet wide by 68 feet deep. The owners applied to the Committee of Adjustment (CoA) to build a five storey building where basically a one-two storey building is permitted under the CDP. The City’s Committee of Adjustment had denied the application on the basis that it was not a ‘minor variance’ and should be treated as a re-zoning application. This was also the position of the WCA. Instead the developer chose to appeal to the OMB and, in the absence of support from the City, the WCA appeared as an intervenor at the hearing to defend the integrity of the CDP. If approved by the OMB a building basically filling the lot from one side to the other of at least 52 feet in height will be built. It will be taller than the homes at the south end of Eden Ave. What we heard at the hearing is the proposed five storey building is the only thing that is economically viable. Yet the two storey Pharmasave at the corner of Richmond and Berkley has been very successful. Also you can find an example of heritage infill on Wellington Street that won an award from the City. It works and the frontage is about the same as 300 Richmond Road. As soon as we receive OMB’s decision, we will post it.

WCA Board of Directors

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3 responses

18 04 2008
Hilary Casey

“On October 4, 2006 the Committee of Adjustment approved an application for an increase in the maximum building height on the western third (approximately) of 416-30 Richmond (known as the Bourk site/Westboro Station) from six to nine storeys based on a concept that reduced the middle portion to two storeys and retained the six storey limit on the eastern third of the site”
(from the City of Ottawa – 6.11 Development Potential document 6.6 Sector 5 -Westboro Village)
Now the developer wants twelve storeys. Why the need to request further changes? The request is not in line with the proposed CPD for Westboro.
If approved there will be a domino effect of high rise development down the Village. It will not contribute to the CPD’s plan to have a mainstreet character in the Village.
There will significant change to the sun patterns for all those residents at the Roosevelt /Byron corner and beyond. It is also obvious traffic patterns at Roosevelt /Byron will be changed.
At the public meeting for the proposed Golden Ave closure I thought there was a ‘promise’ to have some public parking on this site. Is this going to happen?
We need to ensure the developer builds what was agreed to on October 4, 2006.

22 04 2008
Lynn Honsberger

Isn’t the “economically viable” argument a self-fulfilling prophecy? The more developers expect they can build higher and higher buildings the more they drive up the price of the land in the neighbourhood. The more the land goes up the more storeys that are needed to make the land purchases economically viable. The way to break this cycle is to stabilize the building heights for a period of time. If the developers did not expect to build high buildings on the land then they would not offer as much for land. Then lower buildings would be economically viable.

Of course this is not always the case, for example, when the land has been held by an individual, group or family for a long period of time. In these cases higher buildings are windfalls for the owners.

4 06 2008
300 Richmond Road: WCA Response to OMB hearing « Hello Westboro

[…] OMB appeal since City Council approved the CDP in June 2007 (the other involves a proposal for 747 Richmond), this sets a dangerous precedent that could have a strong domino effect on the nature of all […]

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