Intensification’s limits: Ottawa’s Planning committee nixes eight-building apartment development

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lepine project
Sketch of the proposed complex rejected by Ottawa's Planning Committee

Ontario Construction News staff writer

Ottawa’s Planning Committee last Thursday refused a zoning application for multiple mid-rise and high-rise apartment buildings in Orléans, on Innes Road west of Lamarche Avenue.

The applicant (associated with Groupe Lepine) had proposed five nine-storey buildings and three high-rise buildings between 12 and 16 storeys, aiming to add 1,320 residences and 2,700 sq. m.  of retail and commercial space to the area. Planning staff considered the design incompatible with the surrounding communities, most notably with the adjacent low-rise residential neighbourhood.

The committee declined the application because it is inconsistent with the city’s Official Plan and too distant from a transportation hub to warrant the requested increase in permitted height, a statement from the city said.

The matter is apparently still before the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) because the city had failed to respond to the rezoning request within the required timeline within 90 days of application – originally submitted last year.  The city received more than 200 submissions from residents and community associations, most opposing the planned development.

However, the committee approved zoning changes for part of a planned subdivision along Borrisokane Road in Barrhaven, south of the future extension of Chapman Mills Drive. The site will accommodate 45 townhouses and eight detached homes.

The committee refused to designate 860 Colonel By Dr. under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act, reversing a recommendation by the Built Heritage Sub-Committee. City heritage staff said they do not consider the red-brick house built in 1908 and 1909 a strong candidate for designation because it is not a community landmark and has limited historical value. However, the sub-committee recommended a couple of days earlier, on June 9,  to have the building designated.

The committee also moved to have city heritage planning staff bring forward options on how the city might enhance heritage protection for buildings along the Rideau Canal World Heritage Site, for properties subject to the Heritage Overlay on both Colonel By Drive and Queen Elizabeth Driveway.

Planning Committee decisions and recommendations will be reviewed by Ottawa City Council on Wednesday.

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