Mayor Watson and Planning Committee Chair Peter Hume announced their vision for investing in certainty in planning today at the City’s first Planning Summit at the CE Centre. Following the success of the recent review of the Infill Design Guidelines and the changes to the Zoning By-Law in the five inner-urban wards which will help protect the urban tree canopy, allow the option of houses without parking, and improve the ability to enforce height limits, among other measures. Most notably, the City will be seeking outside professional guidance to rapidly tighten the Westboro Community Design Plan (CDP), a forward looking document that was created early in the CDP process in Ottawa.
“We are turning a new leaf on planning in Ottawa today. We are sticking to our guns, and you will hear the words ‘no’ more often when inappropriate development applications come forward. A big part of getting that right comes from improving the Westboro CDP, which I have been pushing for from day one of my term,” said Councillor Katherine Hobbs, Kitchissippi Ward.
The proposed scope of work also goes beyond improving existing measures and looks to provide certainty for areas where future growth is expected, like the Scott Street/Tunney’s Pasture area that will see a new CDP process underway in 2012 to prepare for growth around the new LRT station.
Further, the Official Plan review coming up will turn to the issue of Tall Buildings, providing stronger guidance for how and where to build tall buildings in existing and new communities. Further, the City will improve its guidance on transition from multi-use centres and main streets, to better define how they interact with stable existing communities.
Finally, the City will look at small area rezonings through the “planning swat team” to look at the compatibility of existing zoning in areas where new development is out of step with the existing community.
“I am pleased that coming out of the Planning Summit we have a commitment from the Mayor, Chair Hume and the Planning Department to improve planning in our community. We have had many conflicts in our neighbourhoods as plans have meant one thing to community members and another to developers and staff,” said Hobbs. “These measures are about providing certainty and avoiding the conflict between the City, developers and residents.”
“While this won’t be overnight and won’t eliminate all conflict, it will put us on the road to a more consistent and understandable process for developers and residents,” Hobbs continued. “Ottawa is going to be growing up and not out; the changes around areas like transit stations will be dramatic, but Ottawa can no longer afford to grow out and out and out. It is unsustainable economically, socially and environmentally. But if we’re going to grow in our urban wards, we need to do it better, and we will.”
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