CRCBIA assesses new draft Official Plan

CARP – As West Carleton’s largest business community, the Carp Road Corridor Business Improvement Area is keeping a keen eye on the city’s Official Plan process.

City staff recently asked council to postpone the June 2021 meeting where the joint Planning and Agriculture and Rural Affairs committees were to consider the new Official Plan.

Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development general manager Stephen Willis made the request in a Feb. 10 memo to council.

“As Council is aware, this new Official Plan is a major undertaking, and staff are proposing many substantially different policies than in the current Official Plan,” Willis stated. “We are mindful community associations, homebuilding industry, business sectors and technical agencies have all expressed an interest in additional time to prepare comments. Furthermore, staff need additional time to consider these comments and prepare a revised version for consideration.”

Willis requests the meeting be held in the early fall of 2021.

“We will be working with the chairs and the city clerk’s office to find suitable time slots for the revised joint committee date early this fall and we will provide a further update to council once new dates have been identified,” Willis said.

The CRCBIA is one of those business sectors that has been pouring over the draft Official Plan and has released some early thoughts on three key points.

The CRCBIA says the new Official Plan will bring “significant changes to the Carp Road corridor,” in a statement released Feb. 10.

Some good, some bad and some unknown at this time.

One of the changes in the Official Plan is a new category of land use, adding Traditional Industrial, Freight and Storage.

CRCBIA executive director Roddy Bolivar, who has made several presentations to council and committee members during the Official Plan process, says this will “likely be a benefit to the business area.”

At the southern end of the CRCBIA, across the Queensway from Carp, A.G. Reed Park moves in to the urban area as decided by the recent urban boundary expansion process.

Bolivar says it’s too early to tell if this will benefit the corridor.

The Official Plan’s new policies to protect groundwater without city-specific design guidelines will “definitely be a roadblock.”

“The CRCBIA will continue to follow city planning processes towards ensuring the business area benefits,” Bolivar said. “Following approval of the Official Plan the city will commence the zoning process likely mid-2022. That process is, in some ways, more relevant to member businesses and property owners as it defines permitted uses in the area and comes with some risk that existing businesses suddenly become ‘non-conforming’ and opportunity is reduced for vacant land.”