As one of three community Appellants (Westboro Community Assoc., Hampton Iona Community Group & Sylvano Carrasco) against the City’s re-zoning of the ‘Les Soeurs de la Visitation’ convent, located at 114 Richmond Road, Westboro Community Association wishes to announce that the three Appellants have reached an agreement with Ashcroft Developments.
The Appellants have agreed to withdraw their appeal to the OMB in exchange for consensus on a number of issues (a detailed outline of the settlement can be found on www.hamptoniona.ca) including Ashcroft withdrawing their own appeal for added height and density, as well as for $200,000 to be placed in trust, by Ashcroft. This fund will be administered by the community through a yet to be established not-for-profit corporation and is for community use. We will be seeking input from the community as to how these funds can be used.
The only party not at the table for the negotiated settlement was the City of Ottawa, despite several requests.
Despite the existence of a Community Design Plan and a Secondary Plan, City planners, Ashcroft’s planners, and an independent urban design team all supported the proposed Zoning By-law heights approved in November 2010 by City Council.
The three Appellants were faced with a situation in which the only option left was an appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).
There was an attempt to raise the necessary funds to hire legal and planning help but not enough money was raised to date. As a result, we could neither hire a lawyer to defend our position at the OMB, nor obtain the help of a planner. As a Board we felt backed into a corner, and regretfully, were forced to make a decision. Rather than face imminent and almost certain loss at the OMB, and possible greater densities due to Ashcroft’s challenge, we concluded that we had no choice but to accept Ashcroft’s proposal. We are deeply saddened by this latest development and the affect it will have.
We still disagree with several major aspects of the proposed development, but the crux of the matter is that the City has failed to support the Community Design Plan, which later became the Secondary Plan for Westboro/Richmond Road. We believe that the City has not respected the wording nor the intent of these documents and has designed their secondary plans to be virtually ineffective.
For your reference, the following text was copied directly from the City of Ottawa website.
[Amendment 70, June 24, 2009]
1.0 Introduction/Planning Strategy
The Richmond Road/Westboro Secondary Plan is a guide to its long-term design and development, taking into consideration land use, urban design, zoning, transportation, existing streetscape conditions, compatibility of new development, and other issues of concern to the local communities. The Secondary Plan provides a framework for change that will see Richmond Road/Westboro as we know it today become Richmond Road/Westboro as we will know it tomorrow. A unifying vision and overlying objectives and principles set out the policy context for the specific sectoral strategies that focus on land use and building scale, as well as a greenspace network strategy. This Secondary Plan is meant to be read and interpreted as City Council’s policy direction for municipal actions, particularly the undertaking of public works and the review of development proposals, city-wide and site-specific zoning changes and Committee of Adjustment applications.
The Secondary Plan is based on City Council’s July 9, 2007 approval of the Richmond Road/Westboro Community Design Plan (CDP), a joint staff-community effort to develop a vision for Richmond Road/Westboro as an attractive and viable place for all who shop, work or live in the area. The CDP provides detailed background information on existing conditions and community issues as well as land use policy and zoning recommendations. Development proposals and public works also need to consider the CDP’s urban design guidelines, proposed streetscaping improvements and other implementation measures.
In addition to the CDP, reference must be made to both the City of Ottawa Official Plan and this Secondary Plan for complete policy direction for the future development of the Richmond Road/Westboro area.
The implications of these weak plans are vast, not only for Westboro/West Wellington, but for the entire City. We fear that what the City has approved at 114 Richmond Road due to the weakness of our Secondary Plan has set a dangerous precedent, not only for the future of our neighbourhood, but it has damaged, perhaps irrevocably, the confidence of the WCA and our members and neighbours. We urge Mayor Jim Watson and City Council to address this issue and ensure Secondary Plans are treated as equal to the City’s Official Plan.
and the WCA Board