Plans to create a more "liveable" Ottawa will include solutions proposed by community members and developers to deal with problems that have arisen as the city considers its official plan and transportation and infrastructure blueprints.
The city unveiled its proposals to deal with 12 key planning issues that will affect future growth in the city, including more guidelines for community design plans and height restrictions for tall buildings, at the Building a Liveable Ottawa 2031 open house last month.
The proposals will shape Ottawa's development for the next 18 years.
Peter Hume, Alta Vista councillor and chair of the planning committee, said during the presentation that the proposals are “much more pragmatic, more prescriptive, less for interpretation and less for mothering.”
The proposals for the official plan are aimed at streamlining the city’s planning and zoning guidelines and may lead to changes in the zoning bylaws. “It will be a comprehensive implementation to avoid spot-zoning,” Hume said.
Some of the proposals introduced to improve urban design and compatibility with neighbourhoods are new requirements for community design plans to identify locations for intensification, areas for mixed-use development, set building height guidelines, and create supports for transit, cycling, and pedestrian use.
Community design plans set guidelines for the development and growth of the community and are created in collaboration with community members.
Kalle Hakala, one of the city planners on hand to answer questions at the open house, said the community design plans would be the guiding principle when development applications and planning proposals go before council.
Rob Dekker, vice-president of the Centretown Citizens Community Association, said he is anxious to see whether the city has taken any of the association’s advice or comments from the Centretown community development plan into consideration when it presents the new proposals.
The final version of the Centretown community development plan has been delayed until March, when it will be presented to the planning committee and city council for approval.
“Hopefully a liveable Ottawa will address how we’re going to develop green space, not only in Centretown but in other areas of the city as well,” Dekker said. “That’s one of the areas of the CDP we were disappointed in. There’s not a great deal of addition of green space and no direction as to how they are going to look at increasing the amount of green space.”
The city’s environment policy was not included in the review, but creating green space may be addressed elsewhere.
“For intensification, looking at the design of those buildings, it might mean creating green space nearby,” Hakala said.
The proposals also included new design priority areas, which are potential or established areas of intensification that would have higher standards for design review. The design requirements and review process will be outlined in the draft of the official plan.
Bruce Finlay, a senior planner for the city, said in his presentation that this process will simplify the design policies and make them easier to understand.
New categories for high-rise buildings were also introduced in the proposals for buildings 10 storeys or more. Buildings 10 to 19 storeys high will be allowed in certain designated areas or where permitted by a community design plan. Buildings that are 20 storeys or more may only be built if a community design plan allows for it.
Finlay said the proposals will give a better direction to community design plans and where tall buildings should be located. “The intention is to put a cap on building heights.”