Langstaff Zoom meeting popular

CARP – Last night’s (Oct. 28) statutory public meeting for a subdivision draft plan for 147 Langstaff Dr. would have been standing room only, if it was held in the pre-COVID-19 era.

The meeting, hosted by the City of Ottawa, peaked at 114 participants as community members tuned in over the Internet to hear from city officials and representatives on the proposed Huntley Hollow development project, as well as get in a few questions in of their own.

The public meeting is Step 7 in the 11-step process to approve the draft plan for the subdivision.

Previous to the meeting, the process began with the application for subdivision and rezoning submitted with supporting plans and studies. That application was circulated to technical agencies and the public for comments. Those comments were then provided to the applicant.

The applicant then provided a second submission to the city, which was also circulated to the technical agencies and the public. The comments on the new application were sent to the applicant and the first public meeting was scheduled.

The 114 who participated in the meeting made the public Zoom meeting the largest public subdivision meeting in Ottawa held during the COVID-19 era according to city officials familiar with the process.

Representing developers Kyle MacHutchon and Melissa Kruyne (who were also present for the meeting) was the Stirling Group’s Jack Stirling and HP Urban’s Peter Hume, a former Ottawa councillor and Planning committee chair. Architect Malcom Wildeboer was also in attendance. The city had several staff members involved in the project on hand including review planner Sarah McCormick. Coun. Eli El-Chantiry was also present and said a few words.

Many of Carp’s community leaders took part as well including the Huntley Community Association, Dr. Barry Bruce, founder of the West Carleton Family Health Team which will be immediate neighbours with the proposed development and Buy the Village Green board member Wendy Deugo.

“We look forward to hearing from you,” Stirling said following his introduction. “We took a long time looking at the community design plan for Carp to come up with our plan. It’s consistent. We’ve been working on the project for a year and a half and we’re looking forward to tonight.”

McCormick said there were several “recurring themes” in the comments the city received from the public.

Density concerns were first off the bat.

“Staff are reviewing the suitability with the community design plan and the Official Plan,” McCormick said.

The idea the development would be a rental community was also a concern.

“The city can’t control that,” McCormick said.

Traffic and parking were also issues for the community.

“City transportation staff are reviewing to see if any mitigation is needed,” McCormick said.

As for parking, McCormick stated the current plan only showed surface parking, but there are plans for underground parking as well.

The meeting, which started at 6:30 p.m., started taking public questions at 7:06 p.m. Questions filed in from participants until the meeting’s end at 8:30 p.m. Most of the questions revolved around the recurring themes McCormick previously mentioned.

A list of next steps in the approval process.
A list of next steps in the approval process. Screengrab

Perhaps aided by the online format, the meeting was held with civility and without raised voices or verbal attacks as West Carleton Online has witnessed several times in 20 years of coverage of development public meetings.

Several members of the community felt the traffic study was done at a time not representative of that area’s typical traffic – such as when school is in at nearby Huntley Centennial Public School.

“It’s possible it might be understating the traffic, but schools have a very small impact in a very tight window,” the city’s traffic engineer said. “Data is data. The traffic that uses that road, for whatever use, was counted.”

With 193 proposed units, residents wondered how many people the project will add to the Village of Carp.

Stirling says the apartments in the project will average 1.8 to 1.9 people per unit while the townhomes are in the 2.3 per unit range.

“It would add, plus or minus, 400 residents to the Village of Carp,” he said.

El-Chantiry provided current numbers for context saying there are 768 dwellings and a population of 2,019 according to the 2019 census.

Following the meeting, West Carleton Online spoke with developer MacHutchon.

“I think it went well,” he said. “There are some issues important to the people of Carp and we’re looking to work with the community. But we are going to move forward. We don’t want traffic issues either. We’re coming to Carp because of what Carp is. We don’t want to change that.”

West Carleton Online also spoke with long time community member Allan Joyner about the meeting.

There’s a lot of community interest,” he said this morning (Oct. 28). “I was surprised at how sparse the developer’s presentation was and not nearly as descriptive as at a public meeting. Jack (Stirling) didn’t talk five minutes. It was cursory at best. I was impressed with the community support.”

The next steps in the process include issue resolution and re-submission; report preparation; manager’s decision of approval of the draft plan of subdivision; and finally, a notice of decision.

West Carleton Online will cover the process as it continues.