twelve storeys at Roosevelt and Richmond?

22 04 2008

[Click image to enlarge]

This illustration will give residents a better idea of 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 Roosevelt between Richmond and Byron.

What do you think?

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39 responses

22 04 2008
Marie

Do we have an enforceable plan that will preserve the village atmosphere of Westboro? Something that will ensure Richmond Road has some sunshine on it? That prevents it from becoming another city-like wind tunnel? That keeps it inviting to pedestrians? If not then we need one.

23 04 2008
andrea from the fishbowl

There is a plan. It’s called the Richmond Road/Westboro Community Design Plan (available online at the City of Ottawa website). Whether or not anyone is actually following it is up for some debate.

23 04 2008
Jon

Quite a substantial deviation from their (WBS) original proposal…a 12 story building seems quite tall for the area. If this is accepted by the City a question I would have is where does it end? Will another builder come along and propose a 15 or 20 story building? I was under the assumption that 4 – 8 stories was a max for this area but maybe that was for Wellington St…

As a proud citizen of this area what are my options to;

1. Request some clarity on this zoning issue.
2. Voice my opinion!

23 04 2008
David

It looks… unbalanced.

They’ve got a good basic design there along Richmond with the stepping back for the 2/3 storey portion but the tower blocks at the back are too much.

The 2-storey stacked townhouses (or whatever they are) form a digital clock radio-style ‘7’ when viewed from the east. What they should probably do is remove the east half of the tower pair and instead wrap the stacked townhouses around to Roosevelt, so it looks more like a ‘C’. Then along the Byron side they could either

1) step-up the block from the sides by 2 storeys and then by 1 storey; or
2) put in 2 much narrower 6-storey towers nearer the back corners

all while leaving in place the upper courtyard (which is a pretty neat idea). The tower(s) would be far enough back to not cast too great a shadow on Richmond and the new block wouldn’t detract from the phase 1 block’s supposed role as a “gateway” building.

The drawing looks like the architect was working with a good idea (the stepped-back stacked townhouses, the courtyard and setting the tower portion much further back) and then was told to throw in more storeys and build a bigger block. The east side block in particular really looks out-of-place with the rest of the building, never mind anything else.

23 04 2008
Margaret Thomson

Clearly the Richmond Road/Westboro Community Design Plan is being trashed. There is no other way to put it. The hard work that citizens have put into it is not valued by the developers it goes without saying. I hope the City supports the plan, but we constantly have to be putting more and more energy into watching the situation. I believe even nine stories is too high, and perhaps six stories admissable. At any rate, the traffic alone from the new multiple dwellings of all types, whether they be apartments or condos is creating traffic havoc. My husband and I are looking at leaving this area after over twenty-five years. We were so fortunate to have been here, but now require cleaner, quieter living than has been the case for the past couple of years.

23 04 2008
Kelly

I am not sure what the capacity of these towers are going to be, but it is safe to estimate that two towers at 12 stories each would bring about 300 new residents to the area. I am not a NIMBY but doesn’t this sound like a traffic nightmare along the corridor? With the summer upon us it is already noticeably congested. Frustrated drivers are cutting through the side streets only to discover that many of them do not merge back on to Richmond Road. Then they drive backwards down the street or speed down to the next street to head back. (I witness this at least a half dozen times a day) So my question is how does the city plan to deal with all the cars?
Also, without doing the geometry, come the afternoon, Starbucks might have to kiss their sun goodbye.

24 04 2008
Hilary Casey

I posted the comment below to the “Development that may affect you” of April 14, 2008 but I feel it is better posted here..

“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.

24 04 2008
Pastavor

Wow…the lower portion looks good with the roof top garden,but then ouch…those towers look like zits poppin out – they so clearly do not fit in with the rest
of the design let alone with surrounding building heights. I agree with all of the above comments, there’s traffic consideration, shading, wind tunnel effect,not in character of the CDP for Westboro and it’s village atmosphere. There is clearly a much better way to incorporate ‘densification’ rather than by just going up! Look at the old parts of Paris! Let’s learn from the old master planners, it’s already been figured out!!

24 04 2008
penny collenette

I am extremely disappointed with the potential of addding more height to these towers. I gulped when the number of floors went from six to nine – it seemed barely manageable. But a rise to twelve floors really does ruin the effect of an “open village”. The sitelines into Westboro will be blocked and it will probably not be possible to see the lovely site of the church spire from the surrounding neighbourhoods. I certainly understand the need for intensisfication but must it make our small “downtown” area enclosed and hemmed in? What is the reasoning of the developers?

24 04 2008
Bradford

I am all for the twelve stories 80+ units and even more density in Westboro as it gives the Westboro community vitality, culture and economic prosperity. With respect to traffic intensification and inconveniences associated with it, let’s focus on another point of contention as that one has been beat to death.
The CDP will only be adopted to the Official Plan where it’s content does not apply and even then only as an Addendum. The CDP is non enforceable nor is it a mandatory guideline for developers to follow until adopted as a functioning component of the Official Plan. The CDP is merely a wish list of what people expressed they would like to see in our neighbourhood.
Margaret, I am sure you will miss Westboro but also imagine you will be pleased with the value that your 25 yr old home will now command due to the positive influence these and other developments have had on your property’s value.
And people, stand in front of Starbucks (Kelly, they’ll be fine) early, mid and late day and judge for yourself the effects of the sun on Richmond road, you’ll be surprised even without doing the “geometry”. The choice of urban life in Westboro is not what is depicted in a Norman Rockwell painting so conversly there is also the choice not to stay.

24 04 2008
Margaret Thomson

Bradford your letter sounds upbeat and that is good. My own definition of prosperity and good living does not include unhealthful pollution, noise, noise, noise, from traffic, and so forth. Two years ago we were waiting for the first comments to come from residents who were dismayed and not afraid to say that things are actually changing for the worse as far as (my own and some others’) definition of quality of life is concerned. We had those wonderful years here, and the area was so full of vitality, without thinking it needed endless high-end shops. I never understood the argument for economic prosperity when it refers to high end shops etc. as a good thing. As far as the value of our house…if we were truly concerned about keeping things rising, rising, rising, we would tout the wonderful vitality here over the traffic, noise, pollution etc. Time has come to call it what it is, and stop hoping no one would notice in case housing prices would level off or gasp? decrease. Nothing compares with quality of life. I think we just define quality different. I wish there were more affordable homes for seniors here, (the prices of the suites and amenities in the new one about to open on Richmond Road are laughable if not so maddening that people need more affordable senior accommodation in the area). We need more affordable housing in the area, and maybe condos could help with that, but twelve stories. Absolutely not. People should trust their instincts about what constitutes vitality in a neighbourhood and it is in my opinion anyway, not the tremendous increase in traffic of the past few years, and not overpowering condo or apartment towers.

25 04 2008
Marie

It is outrageous that the commitment to keep the eastern side to 6 storeys so that 9 storeys would be permitted on the western side is being treated so lightly. The developer now wants to double the six storeys to 12! If the developer can’t keep his commitment for the eastern side then both sides should revert to six storeys.

25 04 2008
Kelly

As a student going into a MA in planning I can tell you that density done in the wrong way is highly unsustainable, particularly if it goes against the long term goals set out by community residents. 2- 12story towers is not density it is development, so don’t be fooled into thinking that density somehow equates to community vitality, the developer isn’t thinking about how he can improve the quality of life for the residents of Westboro.
Yes the traffic problem is not a new argument, but that does not mean that we should ignore it. Obviously it will only get worse and the city is not remedying community concerns. Actually we see from a previous post that they are cutting the bus services to Westboro, so lets not be dismissive about the overall impacts that this development will bring to the traffic problems in the area.
Also I have no concerns at all for the economic implications of this development on Starbucks, in fact it will probably increase their sales, my point is that this is the only place that residents can sit and and talk to one another outside without having to spend $30 on a meal in this area. Like it or not, places like this are important to community cohesiveness, and while I would rather it be a Bridgehead or another independent business, it is not.

25 04 2008
Anon

Rest assured, the main tenant of the upcoming Westboro Station Phase 1 is going to be Bridgehead and will occupy the corner of Golden and Richmond on the ground floor of the condominium and yes they will have a sunny terrace.

28 04 2008
andrea from the fishbowl

I live on Roosevelt and have mentioned this proposed development to a bunch of my neighbors – and guess what? – no one around here knows about it. Shouldn’t the folks who actually live here have a say in what gets built in their own neighborhood?

29 04 2008
tz

sigh….people in the hood worried about change…. let’s keep loblaws out, or wait! i shop there now. ahh we need more organic stores, or wait, it closed! tim hortons is too blue collar, only yuppie starbucks is acceptable.

30 04 2008
Anon

Andrea, have your neighbours who “don’t know about the development” not seen the 8′ tall plywood bariers and gaping hole in the ground that has been there since December?

30 04 2008
andrea from the fishbowl

Anon – it is considered good practice to leave your real name when you post a comment –

The barriers and gaping hole you refer to is for Phase One of Westboro Station at Richmond at Golden. Given the recent blasting on the site, I don’t think anyone around here has missed it. What I was referring to in my previous comment was Phase two of the development, which involves additional building at the corner or Roosevelt and Richmond.

1 05 2008
Anon

Ummm, Anon is my proper name.
Try to think outside the box and be more clear in your comments, that would be considered “good practice”.

3 05 2008
Don

I thought Andrea was clear in her comments. And it was pretty fair to think Anon meant anonymous. As for the Phase II proposal, a little development is good…but this goes way too far. Having grown up in and around this area, I am happy to see a lot of the changes (not all of them, but that is to be expected). But if Phase II goes through, it will be the leading edge of a change that most people will regret.

6 05 2008
Kelly, resident on Kirkwood

Both myself and my partner say “No” to the developers application for variance and re-zoning. The westboro community is well liked because of its lower building height restrictions, charm of stores and closeness to green space. When our community permits another highrise (or building taller than 5 storeys), we are setting a precedence of other high rises. We will not alone lose the westboro charm, but traffic and parking will be greater difficulty than it already is. In the drawing of the 12 storey Roosevelt & Richmond building, I do not see any allocation for parking. This is a major problem with new development and yet all Developers, Planners, Engineers and Architects know that parking is a necessity. The centre Westboro community is booming and at the point of over bursting its seams with building, traffic, stores and people. More Semi-trucks drive up and down Kirkwood through the day…and finding parking to have a pizza at the Newport restaurant is starting to become a chore.

Finally, the CDC must be followed. If the city council and the city’s planning department strays from his plan, they have to be held accountable. Planners jobs are planning of proper communities for the enjoyment of its residents, both homeowner and business owner. Planners need to start planning, listening to their residents and advocating PROPER community planning; Hence, they should not be bowing for developers who just want to make a quick buck and will never live in the community. The westboro board need to put in writing over, and over that the city is not following the APPROVED CDC. The CDC is in writing so the city planners and council MUST follow it unless the community and city work together to revise it.

Overall, Westboro does not want to become a “little Vancouver” or “little Toronto”. No highrises and no further developer variances and re-zoning to re-design an already approved more pleasing building…this method is unacceptable to the building development process and should not be accepted by re-zoning and variance planners. Westboro community board and the City of Ottawa staff (planners and council) need to toughing up and Just say “NO.” We Live Here And Thus Care About This Community!

6 05 2008
Jean-Stephan

I think it is the CDP Kelly is refering too, and the phase II parking just as it is for phase I for W-Station is to be underground.
Me and my family love the progressiveness that is happening in Westboro, that’s why we moved into this community from a nice quiet yet well developed Toronto area community with(gasp)buildings higher than 5 storeys.
I also have to question that a “little Vanc. or Tor.” theory is what the Westboro Community wants.
What I would really like to see is a current petition with a few thousand names and addresses on it proving it to be fact? That is the kind of rebuttal that get’s the planning department and local councillor’s attention, yet I strongly believe such a document or Westboro Community Assoc’s. desire to create one does not exist.

7 05 2008
Rachel

Hi Kelly: Also as a resident of Kirkwood Ave, we walk to the Newport for pizza. Parking is not an issue for us and we enjoy our neighbourhood and don’t just drive past it or avoid it by using Byron. It’s sort of the point of a pedestrian village. Once you’re done your MA in planning you may consider environmental studies and then you might get it???

7 05 2008
Kelly S

FYI
There are 2 Kelly’s and before you go piecing 4 postings together perhaps you might want to figure out that one of them is obviously not like the others. So once YOU are done with the sarcasm perhaps we can actually get some momentum happening here, because while we are entitled to differing opinions, there is no need for personal attacks.

8 05 2008
Rachel

Agreed, Kelly “S” and even now that you have differenciated yourself from Kelly #1 I still believe that if you live on Kirkwood you should walk to the Newport for your pizza.
Especially given your issues with “parking, traffic, people, semi-trucks and developments……”.
You’re not really part of the solution are you?

8 05 2008
andrea

FYI: Rachel, Anon, Jean-Stephan, and Bradford is actually the same person posting under different names. Please note: we log the IP addresses of all commenters and keep this information on file.

It’s best just to ignore those who needlessly inflame others. This only derails the conversation. Kelly S is correct. Everyone is entitled to their opinions and they do not need to include personal attacks.

There will be an update concerning the Phase Two of this development soon. Stay tuned.

8 05 2008
Rachel

Andrea: By now we imagine you have finished patting yourself on the back for your clever detective work but in fact we are a Westoro FAMILY all working from the same home computer and therefore….did you get it yet?? The IP address WOULD be the same for us all.

That said we don’t all agree on the issues plaguing our hood all the time and all have different opinions that as a family we respect. As to what happens in our community we voice our opinions independantly and also with respect, but we all share the same thought that the sensorship of a community based website simply for the self importance of like minded nimby-ites is not a step in the right direction nor can it prove to be productive.

9 05 2008
Don

I don’t see much censorship going on, but I do see a lot of baiting. Just because people on this site don’t agree with a pro-development argument, doesn’t mean they are nimby’s. Take a walk around the neighbourhood…most people are in favour of sensible development. The Phase II idea isn’t sensible for this neighbourhood.

9 05 2008
Rachel

Thank’s Don this creates great dialogue. We’ve been walking this neighbourhood for years and there are many who are new to the hood, what is your definition of sensible for Westboro?

9 05 2008
Don

In the 70’s and even the 80’s, the ‘Westboro’ area was boring. It was slow, and a little run down along Richmond and Wellington. People generally went elsewhere for something to entertain themselves. You could stand in the middle of the intersection at Richmond and Holland and look for cars in 4 directions and not see anything. In short, you wouldn’t want to live in the area if you wanted interesting things nearby. In the last 20 years or so, things have picked up and it has been good. More shops (not malls or big box stuff), more restaurants, some great new homes and a lot of improved homes (people seem to take more interest now in keeping their homes looking nice), and even a theme (Westboro is the place to go for outdoor interests in Ottawa). Churchill looks better between Richmond and Carling (probably just a few homes being improved, and the addition of some of the new semi-detached homes, but it does not look as tired as it used to), as does Holland between Scott and Wellington (it used to be like a empty canyon). The Dovercourt Rec Centre was a great addition. The improvement to the Kitchissippi beach area has been very good. The tearing down of the old liquor store at Scott and Holland was great (goodbye Soviet-era booze buying!), and the condo’s they put in their place were an improvement. The introduction of the transitway was great (rather than widening the parkway which would have just introduced more problems), because it made getting around so much easier. The addition of the MEC building has been good because it anchored many other businesses and it does not overwhelm the street – it is nice to sit outside it on a sunny day. The addition of the condos/Starbucks building has been good – again, it does not feel overwhelming because it is not too big, and it keeps businesses along the street while providing homes above. The whole area feels more vibrant, but not impersonal. I wouldn’t want to go back to the way it was 25 years ago. Some things that were never great include the high-rise way down Wellington (the Senior’s residence across from the church near Fairmont) and the high-rise across from Siam Bistro – too big, they block out the sun, they are not attractive. The introduction of the Loblaws hasn’t been awful, but it hasn’t been great (it is like a barren strip as you walk along that area) — the developers pictures looked so much better. And the dramatic increase in vehicle traffic isn’t great. The loss of the movie theatre at Wellington near Parkdale was too bad. So, there are some of the things I have thought were good versus the things I didn’t. I would like to see more of the first things described, and less of the latter, so Phase II with 12 stories is too much out of proportion. It does not keep in character with the area because it overwhelms the nearby houses and other buildings. It blocks out more sky. It invites yet bigger things, and it brings more vehicles. It also eats up just a bit more of the nice green space between Byron and Richmond…and if that keeps up, all of that area will be gone and that would be too bad. More people in the area is great, along with more businesses, but do it in a manner that keeps the area feeling like a place you want to stay in because it has attractive features.

9 05 2008
Dagne

Great summary Don. I’ve known this neighbourhood since the early 80s when I started at the high school here; later I moved into the neighbourhood with my young family. Lots of good change has gone on over the years, some of it recent, but some of it hasn’t been good, as you note. And I think that developers, particularly ones planning large scale developments like the one under debate here, need to take into consideration the views of residents and the nature of the neighbourhood in a way that our development process currently doesn’t seem to allow.

10 05 2008
Alan Rackow

Much of the so-called discussion so far is disappointingly personal and not at all related to the subject. If this is what “blogs” are (what an ugly word!) no wonder I haven’t read any before.

But I want to return to the problem posed by yet another
major development – the inadequacy of parking on Richmond Road. If one is young and healthy, walking to the Newport from the Super Store at Kirkwood is no big deal, but for those of us in the so-called “golden” years it is simply too much to walk any great distance. And there are more and more of us as time passes – the population is aging! Even our Councillor admits that a walkable “village” is impractical. So why not face the facts – the Westboro Village concept makes no sense.

10 05 2008
Peter

I think it will be a good addition to the neighbourhood. It will bring a lot more people in and will help the local businesses. It also only takes up a small portion of the site, which leaves lots of room to setback the building from the street and provide sunlight. It may be better if the building was split up and spaced out a bit more, so it’s not so wide. The building meets the street well and will enhance Richmond Rd.

11 05 2008
Rachel

Mr. Rackow is correct. The demographic is getting older and as the cycle of life changes so do the needs of Westboro residents both present and future. The Amica development as well as the Westboro Station project are specifically targeted at empty nesters who are financially capable of purchasing or in the case of Amica renting a hi-end (by Ottawa standards) residential lifestyle. Reality is that once this demographic leave their homes they are replaced by younger families moving from their starter homes or condos to Westboro. Again as the cycle continues the community has to respond to the current residents as well as those who are moving to and financially supporting our neighbourhood. I think we will see more projects developing in Westboro that will target the aging demographic as well as the newcomers and probably services to accomodate the old and the new will follow.

22 05 2008
Village meeting re: Phase two of the Westboro Station « Hello Westboro

[…] Hello Westboro Official website of the Westboro Community Association « WCA on TV? Maybe. Village meeting re: Phase two of the Westboro Station May 22, 2008 … a.k.a. the proposed twelve storeys at the corner of Richmond and Roosevelt. (Remember this post?) […]

22 05 2008
andrea

If anyone is following this thread, please note, there is a meeting coming up regarding the development of this part of the site.

Here’s the info.

4 06 2008
LKnapp

Has anyone been to Paris. It had a hight restriction. Lovely city.
12 stories is too high and the last thing a Canadian city needs is micro climate wind tunnels to cope with in winter.

4 06 2008
Rose & Rand David

Twelve stories is too high. We wonder why after an original plan is put forth and accepted, there is a tendency in Westboro for the developer to come back always asking for more. This does not indicate a sincere interest in the neighbourhood nor a reasonable respect for it’s residents. It more closly resembles a cash grab.
The original plan was good, why not bulid what they asked for?

4 06 2008
Michael N.

First time post: my comments in brief are.
1) We have an approved plan (CDP).
2) Why deviate from it? Anything above what’s allowed in the plan would require a perceived benefit to the community.

I’ve lifted the relevant sections from the CDP (specific to the Westboro Village) to help with the discussion:
http://ottawa.ca/residents/planning/community_plans/completed/richmond_westboro/index_en.html

The CDP is the Council approved guide to the long-term growth and development of the Richmond-Road/Westboro area.
Objective of the CDP: To consider the CDP as the backbone for any significant change in the community, in keeping with the Official Plan and other related urban design principles;
A sense of human scale is critical to enhance the Traditional Mainstreet character with maximum building heights in the four- to six-storey range with a minimum of two storeys.
Buildings should be built close to the street (except at the key Churchill/Richmond intersections, where wider sidewalks are needed). Beyond three storeys, buildings should be setback further from the street.
Most of Westboro Village has an existing eight-storey height limit. The CDP proposes to reduce this to a maximum of four and six storeys, which is more in keeping with the predominant one- to three-storey pedestrian-scale mainstreet character of the Village. Traditional Mainstreets, such as Beechwood Avenue and Bank Street in the Glebe and Old Ottawa South, have maximum building heights in the four-six storey ranges, and sometimes less. Six storeys can be supported at gateway intersections (Golden, Churchill), and other locations where there is sufficient lot depth to provide an appropriate transition with the adjacent low-rise residential neighbourhoods on either side of Richmond as per the rationale for Sector 2, Woodroffe North. Lots with shallower depths (e.g., less than approximately 45 metres) should be limited to four storeys.
An exception to this recommendation is proposed for the block that has frontages on both Richmond Road (south side) and Danforth Avenue. This block has properties with frontages on both streets or frontage on Danforth or Richmond only. In these cases the existing eight-storey height limit should be retained on the Danforth frontage, with a six-storey limit on the Richmond frontage as described above. Danforth does not have residentially zoned low-rise residential uses fronting on the street and is well buffered, with sufficient separation distance, to provide an appropriate transition to the low-rise residential neighbourhoods to the south of Byron. The block has sufficient depth to support a split zoning and has vehicular access to the rear street. Buildings fronting on Danforth would need to be appropriately articulated as the front of a building and stepped back after the second or third storey.
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.

When can increased building height be considered… above statements should still be the main guide?
Greater building heights can be considered in any of the following circumstances: through CDP studies; if they conform to the prevailing building heights or provide a transition between existing buildings; if the development creates a community focus (e.g., corner lot, gateway or transit station/stop); if services/facilities are provided in return for an increase in height/density; or, are determined to be appropriate by the application of the Official Plan’s compatibility policies.

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