City of Ottawa planning committee approval sets stage for new Official Plan consultations

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Rendering of the planned project at 1950 Scott

Ontario Construction News staff writer

The City of Ottawa planning committee, in a joint session with the agriculture and rural affairs committee, has received a staff report outlining preliminary policy directions for the new Official Plan.

Staff presented the policy directions, which would address the challenges our maturing, mid-sized city will face over the next 25 years, at the Aug. 22 meeting.. The high-level direction touches on five key themes:

• Growth – The city would encourage more growth through intensification, in areas that are already built up, than through expansion into new or undeveloped areas.
• Mobility – The city would aim for more than half of all trips to be made by sustainable transportation, including public transit, carpooling, walking and cycling.
• Neighbourhoods – The city would improve community planning and design, with a focus on neighbourhoods, expanding the total area where residents could function without a car.
• Natural systems – The city would better integrate public health, energy and environmental resiliency considerations in planning matters.
• Economic development – The city would look to embed economic development considerations in planning matters.

Ottawa is in the process of developing a completely new Official Plan to ensure the city continues to adapt to current and emerging needs, opportunities and challenges. Staff are working to produce a final draft of a new Official Plan by the end of 2021. Staff aim to start public consultations in September, to ask residents about this high-level policy direction.

In other matters, the planning committee approved a zoning amendment to remove rooming house as a permitted use at 975 Woodroffe Ave., just south of Highway 417, where the property owner has built eight townhouses with a total of 96 bedrooms. While the Official Plan supports rooming houses in any zone where a dwelling is permitted, in this instance, the committee agreed with planning staff that converting the development to a rooming house could have unintended impacts on the community.

The committee also approved an increase in permitted height for a site at 1950 Scott St. in Westboro, where a 21-storey residential high-rise is proposed at the corner of Clifton Road. While the Official Plan recommends a six-storey height limit on this section of Scott Street, greater height can be permitted if the development is located near transit – and this site is only 150 metres from Westboro Station.

The committee approved zoning amendments to permit two new subdivisions with single detached homes and townhouses in Orléans. Mattamy Homes has plans for 535 residential units on Trim Road and Aquaview Drive, and Minto is proposing a subdivision with 299 residential units on Tenth Line Road and Aquaview Drive.

The planning committee decisions will go to the full city council on Sept. 11 for a final vote.

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