Office of Councillor Jeff Leiper, Kitchissippi Ward, Ottawa | (613) 580-2485  |
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Committee of Adjustment: Bryon/Hilson and Athlone updates

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Earlier this week, I posted my letter to the Committee of Adjustment with respect to a proposal at 434 Hilson to add four units on the property where this is currently one. I found the proposal grasping, and the requested variances from current zoning to be unreasonable. I urged our staff to oppose the variances in the strongest terms, and was pleased to see significant pushback by individual residents and the community association.

I'm told that at the hearing Wednesday, in the face of City, resident, community association and councillor opposition, it became clear that the proposal was not acceptable. The decision was deferred with a clear message that it will need to go back to the drawing board. I've expressed my thanks to City staff for their strong position, and am very pleased with the outcome.

Also on Wednesday, the Committee heard a proposal for 361/365 Athlone. The developer has already built a triplex with the necessary approvals, and was seeking permission to convert the basement - a "mechanical/utility" space - into a fourth unit. We have had issues in past in the ward when developers have built buildings intending to add units after initial approvals.

I was very pleased to hear that the Committee has rejected this variance outright. I'm reaching out to the community associations to ask them about their experience of the addition of units post-approval to see whether there is something we can put in place to reinforce residents' trust in our processes. I'm grateful that City planning staff are receptive to undertaking some proactive work to address the issue.

My thanks to all the residents who got engaged with these two proposals, and particularly to the Westboro Community Association and the Hampton-Iona Community Group. Committee of Adjustment processes are frustrating to residents. Few - naturally - really seek to understand the Committee's work until a sign goes up on a property nearby. Timelines to get up to speed on the zoning and mechanisms are impossibly tight for residents. I'm grateful that we have community associations who are expert at navigating the system on residents' behalf. If you're not engaged with your community association, consider getting involved! And, on both files, my thanks also go to staff for their interventions.

Posted August 21, 2015