Archive for the ‘Planning’ Category

Mizrahi Not Turned Off Ottawa After Condo Rejection

- June 2nd, 2014

Mizrahi Developments proposed a 12-storey condo for 1445 and 1451 Wellington St. W. Council rejected it because the plan didn’t conform to the height in the community design plan.

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.”

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Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling and at ottawasun.com.

Controversial Blueprints, Fee Increases on Planning Agenda Tuesday

- May 12th, 2014

Two proposals on the planning committee’s agenda Tuesday. Mizrahi Developments’ condo (left) proposed for Wellington St. W. at Island Park Dr., and Morley Hoppner Group’s proposal for Stirling Ave. at Scott St.

Planning committee could be doozy tomorrow depending on how many people sign up to speak and how passionate councillors are on these noteworthy action items:

Development charges: The fees developers pay are proposed to increase substantially later this year. Builders say extra costs will be passed on to homebuyers. The city needs the revenue to help pay for its transit plans.

Suburbs: See Susan Sherring’s column on the ongoing “building better suburbs” project. The committee will be asked to approve a vision for the study.

Golf course subdivision: Residents who paid premiums to have golf course vistas in Barrhaven’s Stonebridge community haven’t been happy with a plan to build homes in their viewsheds. City planners are recommending approval of an 11-home subdivision proposed by Monarch.

Baseline Rd. development: Brigil’s development application for 2940 and 2946 Baseline Rd. calls for three residential high-rises and 504 apartments on a narrow slice of land a few minutes east of the Queensway Carleton Hospital. Community concerns include the height of the buildings and increased traffic.

Brewery for City Centre: It should be a slam dunk at committee and council. The microbrewery Beyond the Pale wants to move into the City Centre complex.

Odawa property redevelopment: The Odawa Native Friendship Centre was formerly located at 12 Stirling Ave. in Hintonburg. Morley Hoppner Group wants to turn the property into a something it calls Hintonburg Station with a 17-storey condo tower and townhouses, plus lofts in the old school building.

Mizrahi application for Wellington/Island Park: Staff are taking the rare step of recommending politicians vote against a condo application by Mizrahi Developments for 1445 and 1451 Wellington St. W. It was most recently in the news when Coun. Katherine Hobbs pursued having the city pay the full cost of cleaning the contaminated site. City staff say the proposed development isn’t compatible for the community.

New Cardinal Creek Village subdivision:Tamarack’s proposal for a 1,030-home subdivision in the Cardinal Creek area, between Hwy. 174 and Old Montreal Rd., is up for approval.

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Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling and at ottawasun.com.

Time Running Out On Sec. 37 Deals

- May 7th, 2014

Well, only for this term of council.

The city is working on a review of the Sec. 37 process — the rule that allows the city to get community benefits from builders in exchange for some added features in a new development, like more height on a condo tower — and planning staff checked with city clerk and solicitor about the rules in an election year.

Here’s an excerpt from a memo on next Tuesday’s planning committee agenda:

Planning and Growth Management staff have been advised that in the instance where a by-law has been passed by Council that includes the provision for Section 37 benefits in advance of the period between the election day and the day that the new Council commences, all public consultations undertaken by a Ward Councillor with respect to the determination of how the Section 37 funds should be spent should be concluded by June 30, 2014. Planning and Growth Management staff will work to the best of their abilities to not bring forward any planning applications that include Section 37 agreements between June 30, 2014 and the swearing-in of the new Council, however, should this not be possible due to statutory timelines, Planning and Growth Management staff have been advised that Council does have the authority to enact a Zoning By-law amendment containing a Section 37 provision, including the allocation of funds, but the consultation on and expenditure of such funds should occur in the new term of Council.

I assume it’s partly to prevent councillors from hammering out deals with developers to secure fancy new things for neighbourhoods in the few months before the Oct. 27 election. It’s similar to the rule banning council members from using their office budgets for ads in the 60 days before the election.*

* Exceptions apply.

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Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling and at ottawasun.com.

Unique ‘Burb Panel No Povich

- April 24th, 2014

The city hosted a unique panel today with suburban councillors and homebuilders talking about how to build better ‘burbs. It was part of the city’s ongoing study into exactly that.

City planning managers Lee Ann Snedden and Alain Miguelez acted as hosts/moderators.

On the panel representing council were Jan Harder, Allan Hubley, Rainer Bloess, Stephen Blais, Marianne Wilkinson and Shad Qadri. And representing developers were Frank Cairo (Caivan), Rob Pierce (Monarch), Jack Sterling (Minto), Pierre Dufresne (Tartan) and Ted Phillips (Taggart).

It was only an hour so there wasn’t a lot of time to debate, but there were some interesting points on what could be done better at the planning stage to improve the quality of life for people living in the suburbs.

At the end, each panelist was asked to briefly give a suggestion. Here are the shortened answers…

Hubley: Better cooperation with everyone, including the community.

Cairo: Team approach and more creativity.

Bloess: Timely implementation of community amenities and roads.

Pierce: Greater efficiency of land use.

Harder: More collaboration to create a liveable community.

Wilkinson: Planning communities as “complete sections.”

Phillips: Revisit city standards to consider affordability on both sides of the table.

Blais: Better coordination between policy and implementation to allow more creativity.

Dufresne: Eliminate turf war while designing a community.

Sterling: Design communities for residents, not for snow plows and infrastructure.

One councillor likened the event to the Ellen Show. Thankfully it wasn’t anything like Maury Povich.

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Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling and at ottawasun.com.

Past Battles Fuel Skepticism On The Isles

- April 23rd, 2014

One of the concepts from Windmill Development Group’s proposal for the Domtar lands.

I really haven’t heard a discouraging word about Windmill Development Group’s billion-dollar proposal for the Domtar lands. Have you?

As much as I loathe the term “cautiously optimistic,” it’s probably the best way to describe the view of many who want to see this development go through.

There’s optimism because, hey, it’ll be a great little riverside community that will draw people from outside the neighbourhood.

There’s caution because, well, no one can believe that an undertaking this size will get an easy ride from two municipal governments, the feds and community groups.

It’s the same kind of skepticism we’ve seen with the LRT project after a cancelled north-south route and the Lansdowne Park redevelopment after years of design tweaks and court challenges. But here we are, and there’s construction happening.

“I’m going to what I can to help facilitate the process so we can see shovels in the ground and see that beautiful part of our city properly developed,” Mayor Jim Watson said today.

So, we wait and see.

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Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling and at ottawasun.com.