Glebe development gets council OK despite mayor's disapproval

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8-storey building 'not good planning,' Jim Watson says, as community prepares appeal to OMB

A rendering of the building designed by Barry Hobin that Canderel hopes to build on Bank Street in the Glebe. (Barry J. Hobin Architects)

By Joanne Chianello, Kate Porter, CBC News

Ottawa city council has approved a contentious project to construct a taller-than-allowed building in the Glebe, despite opposition from residents, the area's councillor and even the mayor.

In a rare move, Mayor Jim Watson spoke — and voted — against a staff-recommended rezoning for 890-900 Bank St., which would see an eight-storey building with retail space on the main level and retirement residences on the upper floors. The retail portion would include a Beer Store, replacing the one that's there now.

The rezoning application passed, but Watson joined Capital ward Coun. David Chernushenko and Somerset ward Coun. Catherine McKenney in dissenting, arguing that the building is too high for a traditional main street, especially one that's not near rapid transit.

'Not good planning'

"No one's arguing against tall buildings," Watson told reporters, reminding them that he recently voted in favour of a 22-storey building across from Westboro transit station.

"There are no transit stations in the Glebe. It's just not good planning from my perspective."

Watson also felt residents had shown good will, but didn't think the developer made an effort to compromise by offering to reduce the building's height.

"I don't know if the economics don't make sense, but really that's not our role to play. If they bought the land too expensively that's really the developer's problem, not the community's problem."

Although Watson didn't like the proposal, he didn't lobby his council colleagues to turn it down because he "didn't think the votes were there."

Appeal to OMB likely

Many in the surrounding community are against the project, and almost 600 people signed a petition protesting it.

In anticipation of council's vote in favour of the rezoning on Wednesday, the Glebe Community Association voted Tuesday night to appeal the impending decision to the Ontario Municipal Board.

"No one ever wants to go to the OMB ... especially with the roll of the dice that the OMB is, and usually feeling like you've only got ones and the developer has sixes," said Chernushenko.

The vote comes as the city has been trying to create more certainty around its planning decisions, Chernushenko noted.

"It is not certainty when the developer basically has got exactly what they asked for, and it's up to the community to dig into their pockets and try to defend their neighbourhood."

City considers relaxing noise restrictions for Lansdowne Park events

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Jon Willing, Ottawa Citizen

Lansdowne Park could rock until 1 a.m. on weekends if the city approves recommended changes to the noise bylaw for events.

The city has been studying several elements of its noise bylaw since 2015 and it’s getting closer to making suggestions to council.

One of the proposals involves noise created during special events, and specifically the activities at Lansdowne Park and the Canadian Tire Centre. An online public consultation is ongoing.

Both properties do a good job of managing noise issues, the city says. When noise happens, it’s usually after an event when people are going somewhere else.

To make sure there are bylaw resources to crack down on noise in residential neighbourhoods, the city wants to push the noise exemption to 1 a.m. for events at Lansdowne Park and the Canadian Tire Centre on Friday and Saturday, and also on Monday if it’s a statutory holiday. On other days, the noise cutoff would stay at 11 p.m.

The proposal “recognizes the cultural and economic benefits of special events programming,” the city says.

Capital Coun. David Chernushenko, who represents the Glebe and Old Ottawa South, wasn’t available for comment Tuesday.

Public consultations: Noise By-law review

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City of Ottawa

The City's By-law and Regulatory Services Branch is conducting a Noise By-law review, and residents are invited to provide their feedback.

An online survey provides residents with brief facts on the by-law and an opportunity to share their opinions on the possible changes and additions. The online survey runs until Monday, May 1.

Residents can also register at one of the following three, in-person public workshops, where participants can collaboratively share ideas on creating solutions to various noise-related issues:

Tuesday, April 25, 6:30 – 8 p.m.
Greenboro Community Centre (Meeting Room A & B), 363 Lorry Greenberg Dr.

Wednesday, April 26, 6:30 – 8 p.m.
McNabb Recreation Centre (Assembly Hall), 180 Percy St.

Monday, May 1, 6:30 – 8 p.m.
Overbrook Community Centre (Main Reception Hall), 33 Quill St.

Space is limited at all three workshops. Interested participants can register at ottawa.ca. All sites are accessible. When you register, please advise us of any accommodations you may require.

Feedback from the online consultation and workshops will be combined with other studies and stakeholder consultations to develop a recommendations report that will go before the Community and Protective Services Committee, currently scheduled on May 18, and City Council on May 24

 

Westboro gets to keep free parking as city rejigs plan

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By Jennifer McIntosh, Ottawa Community News

André Schad, who owns a business in the ByWard Market, called foul over free parking in Westboro.

City staff recommended Westboro keep their free parking in a report on a parking management plan for the area presented to the city's transportation committee on April 5.

"I don't know why this is even an issue," Schad said about the decision of whether or not to implement paid parking. "Westboro dwarfs ByWard in terms of non-food retail and parking capacity."

Schad said retailers in the market are leaving for the greener pastures in Westboro.

"Why is Westboro getting a free ride?" he asked.

While the report recommends the status quo in most of Westboro, staff recommended the implement of paid parking on Danforth Avenue.

Under the current parking management plan, the process to change an area to paid parking has to have the support of the area business improvement area, ward councillor and the community association.

The majority of businesses and residents were not for the change.

Rideau-Vanier Coun. Mathieu took an end run at the issue by attempting to initiate parking fees through a motion, but the attempt fell flat.

Transportation committee chair Keith Egli expressed concern that approval of the motion could open the city up to legal challenges by the affected businesses. The concern was mirrored by city solicitor Rick O'Connor.

Fleury ultimately withdrew his motion.

David Chernushenko also expressed frustration with the city's policy, saying there's confusion because people get ticketed in the Glebe, but can park for free in Ottawa south.

Kitchissippi Coun. Jeff Leiper, who represents the area, said residents and businesses have bought into the existing plan and have spent the better part of a year working within the confines of it.

Leiper said he was open to updating the city's policy on parking fees, but only with proper public consultation.

Leiper said it is important to have a fair parking policy that takes away the councillor and local BIA's opportunity to veto a fee structure.