UPDATED JUL 4: Inappropriate Development on Benjamin/Woodroffe

Today after meeting with City of Ottawa Planning staff I learned the specifics of changes made to a development in our Ward that had been approved in 2013/14 but which is under construction now.

Thanks to vigilant residents who alerted me to changes in the look of the development I met with staff only to learn of changes to the project that took place after the approvals process, about which neither I nor the community were aware.

To be clear - I believe the changes made to be fundamentally at odds with the spirit of the approval given on this project and my next step will be meeting with City legal staff.

In 2013/4 after consultation with myself and my office a developer interested in building an 8 unit condominium unit between Benjamin Avenue and Woodroffe avenue filed plans to begin their project.

During that process a community meeting was held at my request, which the developer fully participated in, even making changes to the final designs to reflect community feedback.

Those designs and the project, approved by committee and council can be seen here.

Subsequent to this, over the intervening years, the project was sold by the originating developer to a new one, SmartLiving Canada. 

Smart living, while making no changes to the footprint or integral form of the building, incrementally sought approvals for changes from City planning staff and were granted each one - ultimately fundamentally changing the nature of the building.

The final outcome is an 8 unit building with secondary dwelling units therein that substantially increase the number of people living onsite, while simultaneously reducing the parking requirement to the minimum allowable. You can view the developers advertisement site here.

After speaking with Planning staff and understanding they do not have an internal process to alert Councillors or community to such 'after approval' changes I will be meeting with City legal staff to review what options I may have on behalf of the Glabar Park community. 

For clarity - with the new R4 zoning provisions in place such a change to secondary unit insertion could not be made again today. This development however pre-dates these rules and as such got in under the wire. 

On behalf of the community, notwithstanding the apparent compliance with existing rules, I will be pursuing options to change this development if possible. In any case I also will be raising the issue of such 'post approval' changes not triggering an alert to Councillors or the community who work often collaboratively in support of evolving neighbourhood changes.

In support of the Glabar Park community I am in opposition to this development as it is currently being built and am investigating what changes could be made to it - and to city processes.

You can read media coverage from the CBC, including my feedback, by clicking on this line.

You can listen to my interview about this issue on 1310 News by clicking here.


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