Office of Councillor Jeff Leiper, Kitchissippi Ward, Ottawa | (613) 580-2485  |
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Proposal for Scott / McRae

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As you've likely heard by now, the landowner at the SW corner of Scott and McRae - across from the Trailhead and new Bridgeport development - is reactivating a proposal to develop the lot. It is a family-owned parcel currently, but a larger developer would likely become involved as it moves ahead.

You can visit here to see the development proposal boards from the open house we held last night. As you can see, they're proposing a 19-storey tower at the corner, with an attached 9-storey tower to the west, stepping down to four storeys. There would also be two four-storey mixed residential/commercial buildings to the south. The current proposal would see it developed as a mixed use commercial/residential project, with the housing component likely being rental.

This is all a pre-application discussion. The proponent is expected to file its application before the year is out, and it would likely be heard next spring by Planning Committee. I've asked for another open house as we get closer to that Committee meeting.

The plan for the area sees the height capped at 6 storeys, but the proponent is arguing that proximity to the transit station among other considerations would allow greater height. I'm not convinced. The plan for the street sees it develop as mid-rise, and 19 storeys would more than triple that height contemplated in the secondary plan. If approved, I believe this building would irreversibly change the entire planning context to put that mid-rise vision in jeopardy. We know that buildings across the street will likely be taller when 250 Lanark is finally developed, and I consider that the six-storey limit on the south side of Scott provides an appropriate transition.

That was by and large the mainstream view I heard expressed, though, to be fair, I did hear from one or two people that they like it. The countervailing view to mine will be that rearranging a big, squat six-storey building into shorter buildings with one single, "light" tower will have less visual impact. I don't believe that will be the predominant feeling, but I'm open-minded to hearing it, and know that I will from some residents.

As I say, this hasn't yet reached the real application phase. It will be interesting to see the developer's planning rationale when that gets posted to see how they argue height like this can be justified. As more information becomes available, I'll be sure to pass it along, as well as the opportunities to continue participating in the process and providing feedback.

(Note: some of these files are too large to host on my site, so I've hosted them in my Dropbox - apologies ahead of time for any inconvenience that causes)

Posted December 3, 2015