Council recieves Official Plan policy directions and other council updates

Council receives policy directions to guide new Official Plan discussion

CITY HALL – Council received a report Wednesday, Sept. 11 that will frame public discussions on the city’s new Official Plan, which will guide the way Ottawa will develop.

The report outlines preliminary policy directions for the new Official Plan, to help Ottawa address the challenges it could face over the next 25 years as a maturing, mid-sized city.

The report has five themes:

Growth – The city would encourage more growth through intensification, in areas that are already built up, than through expansion into new or undeveloped areas.

Mobility – The city would aim for more than half of all trips to be made by sustainable transportation, including public transit, carpooling, walking and cycling.

Neighbourhoods – The city would improve community planning and design, with a focus on neighbourhoods, expanding the areas where residents could function without a car.

Natural Systems – The city would better integrate public health, energy and environmental resiliency considerations in planning matters.

Economic Development – The city would look to embed economic development considerations in planning matters.

The city is in the process of developing a completely new Official Plan to ensure Ottawa continues to adapt to current and emerging needs, opportunities and challenges. Staff are working to produce a final draft of a new Official Plan by the end of 2021. Public consultation is underway and you can let us know what you think about the proposed policy directions.

Council approved a motion to continue suspending application fees for demolition and building permits for residents affected by spring flooding. This will give residents more time to repair and rebuild without having to worry about the fees or obtaining minor variances. Staff will report to the Planning Committee in October with proposed changes to the Zoning By-law that could help residents in certain flood-affected areas to rebuild in future years without the need for minor variances.

Council approved a work plan to review 34 by-laws or by-law projects in this Term of Council. The work plan includes reviews of waste collection, rental accommodations, clothing donation boxes, vacant buildings, designated spaces for street food vendors and broadband alarms on snow plows. The city will explore the need for new by-laws for payday-loan establishments, tow trucks and vape stores.

Council approved two motions to amend the Vehicle for Hire By-law. The first authorizes the Chief License Inspector to approve using alternative technologies for taxi metres that would enable flexible pricing when a mobile app is used to book a taxi. The second reduces the number of taxi inspections required per year, permits taxi identification numbers to be removed when a taxi is not in service and increases the fee charged to customers who cause a taxi to be taken out of service for cleaning.

Council also approved a motion to review the feasibility of studying complaints and concerns about on-demand accessible taxis and recommending potential solutions for improvement. Staff will report on the potential scope, cost and timelines of this study before the 2020 budget process.

Council approved a zoning amendment to remove rooming house as a permitted use at 975 Woodroffe Ave., south of Highway 417, where the property owner has built eight townhouses with 96 bedrooms. While the Official Plan supports rooming houses in any zone where a dwelling is permitted, planning staff advised that in this case, converting the development to a rooming house could have unintended impacts on the community. 

Council approved a zoning amendment and a requirement for cost-sharing among developers for the expansion of Richmond Village. The zoning amendment allows construction of townhouses on smaller lots than currently permitted, rear-lane townhouses and slightly taller houses, up to three storeys in a planned community off Perth Street. This is for the second phase of an approved subdivision of about 750 residences. A second report approved by Council requires developers of the Western Development Lands of Richmond Village to enter into a cost-sharing agreement whereby they would pay for any needed public infrastructure, such as water and wastewater systems. This allows developers to build housing on their lands, while sharing the associated costs.