Office of Councillor Jeff Leiper, Kitchissippi Ward, Ottawa | (613) 580-2485  | jeff@kitchissippiward.ca
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Planning

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Encouraging news from Queen's Park on OMB reform

Today, Queen’s Park has announced a series of reforms to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). For years, residents have justifiably railed at the OMB’s role in land-planning in the province. Arguably, it systemically favours developers in the face of local land-planning decisions. It is prohibitively expensive and time consuming, and is a de facto spur to the abdication of accountability for local Councils.

Last fall, several Ottawa councillors including myself wrote to Queen’s Park in response to its consultation to urge some key reforms: the end to de novo hearings (treating each appeal as a fresh case), and the implementation of public interest funding to help residents even the playing field.

The reforms announced today accomplish both of these. It will take a few days to digest the reform package, but on an early basis I’m encouraged.

Posted May 16, 2017

My comments for the Byron Linear Park and Westgate re-zonings

It can sometimes be difficult to navigate the City's website to view items on committee agendas. To make things a little easier, here are my comments related to the Byron Linear Park re-zoning that has been recommended by staff to allow the continued operation of the farmers market there, as well as the Westgate shopping mall re-development, also recommended by planning staff for approval. View the full reports here, including development details and staff recommendations.

Both of these items will be heard by the Planning Committee on March 28. Residents are encouraged to avail themselves of a five-minute speaking spot. It's appreciated when you can sign up ahead of time with the committee clerk, though you can also sign up on the spot.

For more on the 1960 Scott Street proposal, of which I am not supportive, visit here.


Westgate

Posted March 21, 2017

1960 Scott (Trailhead) open house and comments

The agenda for our March 28 Planning Committee is now online, including the staff report recommending approval of the 22-storey tower proposed for 1960 Scott Street. That's the location of the old Trailhead building, at the corner of McRae. You can view the agenda here along with the associated documents. Tuesday's meeting also includes approval for the large Westgate mall proposal, as well as re-zoning the Byron Linear Park to continue Farmer's Market operations.

My comments opposing the 1960 application are as pasted below. This is a slightly modified proposal from what we saw at the first open house months ago, and there is now a portion of the southeast corner scaled back to create greater separation from the homes on Clifton.

We have asked the developer to do one more open house before the vote. The open house will be held tomorrow, March 22, from 6-8 at the Churchill Seniors Centre. For more details on the open house, visit here.

Posted March 21, 2017

9-storey proposed for 979 Wellington Street West

An application is circulating, but not yet online, to allow a 9-storey mixed-use apartment building with 57 units, retail at grade, and 35 stacked parking spots at 979 Wellington - the Beament Green property across from Somerset Square. To build it, they require an increase in the allowed height from 6 storeys, and are seeking to extend the traditional mainstreet zone from front to back (it's a through-lot to Armstrong). Because the height is limited in the secondary plan for the area to six storeys, they need an Official Plan amendment.

Posted February 5, 2017

Milieu report on 190 Richmond Road

One of my commitments in this term of Council is to find ways to better engage residents in planning and other discussions. Recently, a proposal was made to develop the back of the Superstore parking lot with two six-storey buildings intended to be marketed as seniors rental housing. While I'm increasingly comfortable that a mainstream of ward residents considers the proposal to be acceptable intensification, I'm nonetheless making every effort to find non-traditional ways to reach stakeholders for their feedback.

Toward this end, I've spent around 6 or 7 hours with the plans right on the Byron linear park, accosting passers-by for their thoughts. That's been instructive, and something I'd like to do more often.

Posted October 13, 2016

Coach houses pass committee

New rules that allow “coach houses” in Ottawa were approved by Planning Committee this morning. Though not necessarily the most contentious issue with which Council has dealt this term, there was nonetheless some significant discomfort in some quarters about the implications of the new rules in urban communities, and I wanted to take this opportunity to address why I voted in favour of the proposal.

In short, “coach houses” are small homes that would be permitted to be built in the rear yards of existing houses. Cities in Ontario are under order from Queen’s Park to develop a planning framework that permits these, part of the toolkit the Province is using to address affordable housing.

Staff proposed, and Committee accepted, modifications to the zoning by-law that would allow coach houses under certain conditions, the most important of these being that they cannot exceed 40% of the yard, have a footprint greater than 80 square metres, and can’t be more than one storey in the urban area. The land on which they sit can’t be severed from the rest of the lot, and the units must be serviced from the primary dwelling.

Posted October 11, 2016

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