Office of Councillor Jeff Leiper, Kitchissippi Ward, Ottawa | (613) 580-2485  |
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Tuesday Planning Committee preview: Bill 73, Annual Development Report, 180 Metcalfe

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There are several items of significant interest coming up on Tuesday’s Planning Committee agenda (if that kind of thing floats your boat).

1. City staff have developed a response to Bill 73 – Smart Growth for Our Communities now in front of the Ontario’s Legislature. The response to that bill by the City’s Planning and Growth Management department is on the agenda of our meeting, and appended to this post below. I’m in full agreement with some of staff’s positions:

  • The department has supported a proposal to ensure Council veto over Committee of Adjustment minor variances within two years of a developer-initiated rezoning; and,
  • staff have pushed back against the possibility of a reduction in the rate used for calculating cash-in-lieu-of-parkland payments.

 Other elements strike me as more problematic:

  • Staff are lukewarm on the proposal to create Planning Advisory Committees;
  • the department has rejected out-of-hand the requirement to adopt a development permit system; and,
  • staff have withheld support for a proposal requiring Councils to explain the effect of written or oral submissions when providing written notices of decisions on planning matters.

I’m interested in your feedback for a potential submission of my own to the Province. I’d also encourage community associations in Kitchissippi to formulate their own positions for submission to the Province.

2. The Annual Development Report – 2014, is proposed to be received by the Committee. This is a critical document that helps us to understand how our Official Policy is working on a year-by-year basis. Two key changes have been made to the document this year. First, a whole swath of information on housing affordability has been removed. That’s due, I’m told, to data collection reductions at the CMHC, and work has been undertaken to try to restore some of that information. I hope we’re successful – housing affordability is one of the City’s and my key priorities this term. Second, data on intensification by ward is no longer being presented. I’ve looked forward to seeing that statistic for several years now, and don’t consider it appropriate to remove from the report. I will be seeking a restoration of that data moving forward.

3. A proposed re-zoning for 180 Metcalfe Street is on the agenda to allow a hotel use on the first six floors. The proposed tower would be 27 storeys, which is anticipated by the three-year-old Community Design Plan and Secondary Plan. Under those plans, commercial uses are only permitted on the first two floors. This building is located in a part of the CDP where only “small-scale, neighbourhood-oriented commercial uses are...permitted” whereas hotel uses are specifically contemplated to be located further south. Permitting a change to the plan for the neighbourhood this quickly after creating it is highly problematic. My colleague Catherine McKenney, Councillor for the ward, is pushing back against the proposal. I’m inclined to support her in that, and am looking forward to the debate.

Posted June 19, 2015