Archive for the ‘Planning’ Category

On Thumbs, Trash And Running The Planning Committee

- October 3rd, 2014

Six mayoral candidates show their thumbs during a Yes-No segment of the mayoral debate in the Glebe Thursday night.

The community associations that organized the debate in the Glebe last night had an interesting way to burn through several questions within a minute. They only allowed a thumbs-up or thumbs-down answer to what, in some cases, turned out to be complex questions on things like infrastructure, campaign donations and development. I wish I videotaped this portion because it was hard to keep up with the responses. I know Mayor Jim Watson’s camp didn’t know this would be part of the format and Watson said he wasn’t a fan of that segment.

What more can I say about the debate? It was all over the place. Watson and Mike Maguire didn’t get enough time to talk about their platforms because there were four other candidates, but at least those guys showed up. Good on them. And heck, it was fun after covering several debates to have a bit of a circus. Not great, though, for Glebe residents trying to decide how to vote.

Candidates pushing weekly trash collection in the summer should dumpster-dive for another $1 million, maybe more.

Staff have crunched the numbers and the word inside City Hall is that the cost to collect garbage each week in July and August would be $4 million. The April 2011 estimate provided by staff was $3 million for June, July and August.

More candidates are jumping on the weekly trash train, including Somerset hopeful Lili Weeman (love the picture, by the way).

Barrhaven Coun. Jan Harder chaired a doozy of a planning committee yesterday, with Alta Vista Coun. Peter Hume being away. The Windmill Developments proposal for the Domtar lands was on the agenda with about 50 people signed up to speak. It was emotional with occasional outbursts from the audience, a request for a prayer song, an impromptu call for a moment of silence from a delegate and one man who refused to step down from the microphone. Harder was good, though. She kept tight to the five-minute speaking limit, even for Windmill’s Jonathan Westeinde. That could be a preview of next term’s planning committee since Harder is near the top (if not at the top) of the list for the chairperson’s job.

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

Planning Bites: “Travesty” In the Glebe, Hobbs Votes Against Developer

- September 23rd, 2014

Two Canderel proposals for Bank St. in the south end of the Glebe.

A couple of interesting bites from today’s planning committee…

Canderel had a rezoning application on the agenda for 852 Bank St. at Fifth Ave. in the Glebe. The company wants to tear down the service station and build a two-storey commercial building, featuring a restaurant with second-level patio. Capital Coun. David Chernushenko asked for, and was granted, a deferral so he could discuss the parking plan with the company. Alta Vista Coun. Peter Hume couldn’t resist chiming in before carrying the deferral. Hume said it’s a “travesty” the company wasn’t thinking of creating something a bit more, along with another Canderel-proposed development just south on Bank St. where the Beer Store is. It’s something Hume says he’ll take up with the company when the Bank/Fifth application comes back to the committee in October. He’s interested in more density in that area.

Kitchissippi Coun. Katherine Hobbs got a chance to prove to people she can stand up to developers, which has been a bit of an issue during the municipal election campaign. Claridge Homes wants to use the vacant property at 281 St. Andrew St. in Lowertown to temporarily park construction trailers for a residential development about 100 metres away at 324 Bruyere St. Some neighbours oppose having the trailers at the property, citing light blockage and safety issues. Hobbs was the only member of the planning committee to vote against the necessary rezoning. The city needs to send a message to developers that they “should not be disrupting the neighbourhood,” she said.

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

All About The City’s Pedestrian Plans

- September 3rd, 2014

Want to know what the city is up to improving sidewalks and pedestrian paths?

There’s a presentation for that. And here it is. From today’s transportation committee meeting.

Ottawa Pedestrian Plan – September 3, 2014

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

Still Years Before Ottawa Hits 1 Million People

- August 8th, 2014

Coun. Allan Hubley (transportation vice-chairman), Coun. Peter Hume (planning chairman) and Mayor Jim Watson on Friday, Aug. 8, 2014 unveiled new welcome signs recognizing the city’s walking and cycling honours.

Population estimates are often all over the map.

You see above the city is using the 900,000 figure, which was announced back in December 2009.

The 2011 census put the city’s population at 883,391.

And, the city’s count at the end of 2012 was 935,050.

(Not to mention another sign advertising 900,002 people)

Many consider Ottawa a million-people city, but it’s more like a million-people capital region when Gatineau and the surrounding areas are considered.

So, when will the City of Ottawa hit 1 million people?

The city’s official plan predicts the population will hit 1,031,000 by 2021, so give or take a couple years around then, we can celebrate the one millionth person.

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

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.