2016 City of Ottawa Planning Works, Jan Harder City Councillor
It has been a very productive year for the City of Ottawa’s Planning Department. As Chair of Planning I would like to thank Staff, Community leaders and Developers for all their hard work.
Here are just a few highlights from the year:
- The City adopted new regulations for detached secondary dwelling units, known in Ottawa as coach houses. The Government of Ontario required municipalities to allow this form of residence as a means to encourage discreet intensification and more affordable housing in established neighbourhoods. This Ottawa made policy ensures these secondary units are not too large.
- The Ontario Municipal Board recommended that Ottawa use 2036 as a planning horizon in its Official Plan. Two major studies – the Employment Land Review and the Land Evaluation and Area Review for Agriculture update – were completed, using this new planning horizon. These studies inform the growth projections, policies, and changes to land-use designations and mapping as part of a comprehensive Official Plan review.
- The City also completed a feasibility study for a tunnel from the Macdonald-Cartier Bridge to Highway 417, concluding that a tunnel for mixed traffic is technically possible. The next step will be to seek funding from our federal and provincial partners for an environmental assessment study.
- The City completed a review of its Permanent Signs on Private Property By-law to address a number of issues, including new forms of electronic signs and messaging boards. The new by-law strikes a balance between the need to identify places and businesses against the goals of reducing clutter and distracted driving and respecting the landscape of heritage and natural areas within the city.
- The City approved a new Community Design Plan for Kanata North and an updated plan for Riverside South, both of which integrate provisions of the Building Better and Smarter Suburbs project. The Kanata North plan will see commercial development along a widened March Road, four schools and four parks, plus a park-and-ride and pathway network for pedestrians and cyclists. The Riverside South plan features a more efficient community core, more shared public facilities and better connections for pedestrians and cyclists.
- Following the first comprehensive parking review for the inner-urban area since the 1960s, the City has reduced or eliminated minimum parking requirements near rapid transit stations (particularly LRT), as well as along mainstreets and transit priority corridors.
- Woodlands – which include treed areas, woodlots or forested areas – vary in their level of significance based on features like size, ecological function, tree species, and economic and social value. The City amended its official plan to ensure a consistent approach to identifying significant woodlands across Ottawa, bringing it in line with provincial requirements.
- The City approved an exciting proposal to redevelop the site at Beechwood Avenue and St. Charles Street – including the re-purposing of the former St. Charles Church, a treasured heritage building in the neighbourhood. Residents in this and in nearby communities will benefit from the vibrant mix of planned uses proposed, which include a 55-unit residential building, retail space, restaurants and public open space, all centred on a large site.
- The City completed an environmental assessment study for the widening of the Airport Parkway and Lester Road to meet the transportation demands of the growing southern communities of Riverside South, Findlay Creek and Leitrim, as well as development at the Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport.
I look forward to continue building Ottawa with all of you in 2017