In Planning Fights, Convincing Ward Councillor Helps

- August 23rd, 2012

The planning committee’s rejection of a rezoning application on Woodroffe Ave. shows the importance of convincing your councillor if you’re opposing a development.

Backyard of 936 Woodroffe Ave., which is proposed to have a multi-unit development. (Errol McGihon/The Ottawa Sun/QMI Agency)

The skinny: A developer wants to build seven units on a large property where one house stands today. The community associations say it’s too much. Bay Coun. Mark Taylor backed them.

But, the planning department gives the application a big thumbs up, based on planning principles and policies.

Taylor and four other councillors voted against the application. The committee chairman and vice-chairwoman, Peter Hume and Jan Harder, voted in favour of the application, along with two others.

It’s not even that there was a line of delegates who addressed the committee. There were some. And there was little debate.

The vote, Hume suggested during a break in the meeting, had nothing to do with planning principles, but was instead based on others’ interest in supporting Taylor.

It could be a case of “the local councillor knows best,” or simply that the other councillors might need Taylor’s vote down the road.

Now, having the councillor in line with your opposition doesn’t always work.

Just look at downtown condo development. Somerset Coun. Diane Holmes (who’s not on the planning committee) has repeatedly voiced her opposition to applications, but the committee forges ahead anyway.

You can see how the planning process can be mind-boggling for laypeople trying to have a small influence on development decisions in their neighbourhoods.

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

Categories: Planning

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