Is Ottawa doing enough to Inform Residents when Builders want to Violate Zoning? 30+Storey Tower Proposed in Sandy Hill

A Montreal developer has asked the City for permission to build a 31-Storey tower at 400 Stewart Street east of Charlotte.

As many residents may be aware Sandy Hill is zoned to limit building heights to a maximum of 9-storeys to maintain the historic balance and elegance of this old neighbourhood. The proposed development would sit upon what is currently green-space that nicely sets-back the 1970 condo from the residential homes along that stretch.

A quick look on Google’s Streetview shows that though the address is 400 Stewart the towering block would sit directly next to a two-storey family home at 438 Daly st.  The Developer’s PDF imagery with building details dwarfing the surrounding architecture can all be seen in this file to give reader’s a better idea of the proposal.

We were shocked to learn about this proposal via an email from a local resident. The City did meet with ASH and Cllr. Fleury back in August for a “heads-up” but this is simply not good enough when sharing information that goes so dramatically against current zoning.

Fleury responded to our tweet today that he, his team and the City Planning team all agree the building is too high which does little to reassure that the 9-storey zoning limit will be upheld or only marginally increased.

The City has yet to agree the Community Information and Comment session however it will likely be after January 7th. Therefore residents need to know about the development now so they can provide feedback to the City in a timely manner.

Resident and neighbour to the proposed development, Elizabeth Grace, has requested files from the City Planning team lead Nina Maher from the pre-application process and access to these document and records has been refused based on confidentiality. Grace is following up with a Request for Information. Surely the City could simplify this aspect as new-build developments affect all thus shouldn’t be considered a confidential matter.

The City needs to take the lead in informing it’s citizens. The City needs to leaflet neighbours within a .5km radius of new builds to engender truly open and transparent discussions.

There is much discussion about the need for transparency at City Hall and many expensive studies have followed yet the consultative process forever hinges on the affected “seeking out” information – which as we see from Grace’s experience is often refused. It is time to go back to basics and for the City to take responsibility for distributing information. I suggest printing and distributing leaflets is far more cost-effective then the discovery methods in place.  If postering is good for the Mayor’s Christmas Celebration at City Hall than it is appropriate for new builds that significantly violate zoning. If students and entrepreneurs can afford to leaflet than surely on such important matters our City can too!

We strongly urge that you email feedback to the City Nina.maher@Ottawa.ca by January 7th

UPDATE: Action Sandy Hill (ASH) will hold a meeting on the development this Wednesday December 18th, 7PM at the Sandy Hill Community Centre.

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3 responses to “Is Ottawa doing enough to Inform Residents when Builders want to Violate Zoning? 30+Storey Tower Proposed in Sandy Hill

  1. Pingback: Chapel St Opened to Cut-through Traffic without Consulting Sandy Hillers | Sandy Hill Seen

  2. Pingback: Chapel St Re-Opening: Meeting Raises more Questions | Sandy Hill Seen

  3. Reblogged this on Sandy Hill Seen and commented:

    The lack of consultancy between City and Community rumbles on with this proposed high-rise development 18-19 stories directly next to family homes on Daly Ave.

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