Council approves contentious Glebe retirement home, despite Mayor dissent

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Eight storeys on traditional main street ‘not good planning’: Watson

By Jennifer McIntosh, Ottawa Community News

Despite concerns from the local councillor and Mayor Jim Watson, a proposed retirement home on Bank Street in the Glebe received overwhelming support from council on April 26.

Capital Coun. David Chernushenko said he supports the use, but not the height.

The city’s traditional main street policy — which is the designation for 890, 900 Bank St. at Holmwood Avenue — says that a building on streets with that designation shouldn’t be more than six storeys.

Watson said he wasn’t against height in principle, but argued the area already faces problems with congestion due to nearby Lansdowne.

Chernushenko said the Lansdowne development was not meant to be used as a precedent, but planning staff rationale for approval is the nearby taller buildings.

“We wouldn’t want people who had been opposed to Lansdowne to be able to say I told you so,” he said.

Watson said he also supports the use, but wonders about the rationale for approval if the McHale’s garage development at Bank and Fifth Avenue is only four storeys.

Since the official plan is under appeal at the Ontario Municipal Board, staff approval is based on the city’s prior official plan.

“There’s a reason we have a traditional main street,” Chernushenko said of the zoning policy. “I think we ignore it at our own peril. We may be killing the goose that lays the golden egg.”

Chernushenko said it was a shame the city’s official plan is being appealed — since it was designed to provide more certainty to residents and developers.

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The building would have retail uses at grade that could include a beer store.

Canderel is the developer.

Chernushenko said he’s tried to work with the applicant on a compromise, and would have supported the application if there was a little give on the height.

The Glebe Community Association has also come out against the development. Among its list of concerns is the height and the setbacks on Monk Street.

In a letter to the community association in December, Fotenn, a consulting company that is representing Canderel, said it is their opinion that the mixed-use “development is appropriate in scale and height while confirming to the provincial policy statement and the City of Ottawa Official Plan.”