Today my colleagues and I on Ottawa City Council approved an amendment to the zoning by-law that will affect infill housing in Bay Ward and other older neighbourhoods across the city in what I believe is a positive way.
You will remember in 2012 when Council approved the Mature Neighbourhoods By-law to address concerns shared by many of us that infill developments were not being designed to match the communities in which they were being built.
That by-law addresses aspects primarily visible from the street, such as front setbacks, front projections, physical elements of the building, location of parking and hard and soft surfaces. Originally that by-law applied in wards 12 Rideau-Vanier (West of the Rideau River), 13 Rideau-Rockliffe (New Edinburgh neighbourhood), 14 Somerset, 15 Kitchissippi, and 17 Capital.
Further to the by-law restricting these areas City Staff were tasked with studying ways to ensure infill developments make a positive contribution to the character and quality of their neighbourhoods.
That study was expanded to include Bay Ward as well at wards 8 College, 9 Knoxdale Merivale, 10 Gloucester-Southgate, 11 Beacon-Hill Cyrville, 12 (East of Rideau River), 16 River and 18 Alta Vista.
Today council approved the recommendations of that study made by staff first to planning committee where the recommendations were initially approved May 26.
Those recommendations are the following:
- Ensure that rear yards are at least equivalent to building height;
- Ensure proper access to rear yards by securing sufficient width on one side of a lot;
- Limit the mass of houses on very large lots to ensure compatibility of mass within established neighbourhoods;
- Allow discreet intensification on corner lots
- Allow relief on lot width for narrower built forms (long semi-detached);
- Prohibit certain types of projections into required yards to minimize intrusion of privacy situations and massing effect;
- Reduce building height in a way that maintains the existing permitted storeys while keeping them to a reasonable height (e.g. four storeys in the fourth density, three storeys in third density);
- Limit the size of accessory structures to minimize privacy issues (above-ground pool landings, stand-alone decks);
- Limit the projection of roof top terraces (and their access) above the maximum building height to minimize the massing effect;
- Require amenity at grade to reduce privacy issues, keep building footprint to a reasonable size, and improve the preservation of permeable surfaces and vegetation; and
- Limit the size of roof top patios (and access) to minimize privacy issues.
These limitations and restrictions do not cover every concern that has been expressed by residents in our community surrounding the issue of infill development. However, they provide a strict guideline for developers to follow and a toolkit for communities by which to maintain the look and feel of their established neighbourhoods.
Staff feel that an appropriate balance has been found to provide for zoning details that will advance Council’s direction for development within established neighbourhoods to add to and complement existing desirable characteristics.
I agree that this by-law strikes a balance between the need to reinvigorate our established neighbourhoods by bringing in new development and the need to preserve what is best about the communities we love.
New developments encourage young families to move into our community, which also means attendance at our schools and use of our park space and renewed vitality for the neighbourhood.
That said, the developments should be well-suited to the neighbourhood and should match the feel, character, and quality of the communities we have grown up in or chosen to make our home.
This zoning by-law amendment achieves that balance and I hope you will join me in thanking City staff for their work bringing this report to committee and to Council. They collaborated with the community associations in all of the wards affected by the changes to strike this balance that I feel will serve Bay Ward well for many years to come.
As always I invite your questions, comments, concerns and feedback on this matter. If there is anything that our office can do to assist you please don’t hesitate to be in touch. You can reach me by email at Mark.Taylor@Ottawa.ca or by phone at 613.580.2477.
Deputy Mayor, City of Ottawa
Councillor for Bay Ward