Sam Mizrahi says he isn’t deterred from doing business in Ottawa after being denied a rezoning application for a 12-storey condo on Wellington St. W. at Island Park Dr.
Mizrahi Developments is appealing to the Ontario Municipal Board and he thinks he has a good chance. The company, he believes, has met nearly all the prerequisites for building on the northeast corner of the intersection.
However, the proposed condo doesn’t conform to the community design plan, which calls for a maximum height of nine storeys at the property.
Mizrahi believes his company has a “moral” obligation to try reversing council’s decision at the OMB. Direct neighbours of the property support the Mizrahi plan, but the community association and city planners don’t. It might be the most unusual planning conundrum this term of council.
“At this point I think we have an obligation to all of the stakeholders who have spent over a year supporting this,” Mizrahi told me earlier today. “It’s not to be viewed in a negative light that we’re doing this. It’s more that it’s the right process given the large continued support coming in daily, even post-council decision.”
Mizrahi has never appealed a decision at the OMB. The company has built over a dozen developments in the Greater Toronto Area, but nothing so far in Ottawa.
Mizrahi said his experience working with Ottawa City Hall has been the same as Toronto. “Both very mature planning departments,” he said.
But Mizrahi is confused why his application was denied when others are routinely approved, especially if the ward councillor and neighbours support the plan.
During last week’s council meeting, Kitchissippi Coun. Katherine Hobbs suggested other developers might assume it’s not worth engaging the community early in a development plan, judging by what happened to Mizrahi’s application.
Mizrahi agrees that it might “confirm the skepticism” of his counterparts at other development companies, but nothing will change at his firm.
“I’m not going to allow this experience to negatively impact our value system in how we consult with the community,” Mizrahi said.
“We made great relationships in Ottawa. We’ve made some of the best relationships that we have ever had in our history.”