2.                   ZONING – 89-91 NEPEAN STREET





Committee recommendation


That Council approve an amendment to the Zoning By-law 2008-250 to change the zoning of 89 to 91 Nepean Street from R5B (482) F(3.0) (Residential Fifth Density Subzone B, Exception 482, FSI 3.0) to R5B-h (xxxx) H(83.0) (Residential Fifth Density Subzone B Exception xxxx, Height 83.0 – Holding Provision) as shown on Document 1 and as detailed in Document 2.



Recommandation du comité


Que le Conseil approuve une modification au Règlement de zonage 2008-250 afin de changer la désignation de zonage des 89 à 91, rue Nepean de R5B (482) F(3.0) (Zone résidentielle de densité cinq, sous-zone B, exception 482, rapport plancher-sol 3.0) à R5B-h (xxxx) H(83.0) (zone résidentielle de densité cinq, sous-zone B, exception xxxx, hauteur 83.0 – disposition d’aménagement différé), comme il est indiqué dans le Document 1 et expliqué en détail dans le Document 2.










1.                   Deputy City Manager's report, Infrastructure Services and Community Sustainability, dated 3 February 2011 (ACS2011-ICS-PGM-0053)


2.                  Extract of Draft Planning Committee Minutes of 22 February 2011.

Report to/Rapport au :


Planning Committee

Comité de l'urbanisme


and Council / et au Conseil


03 February 2011 / le 03 février 2011


Submitted by/Soumis par : Nancy Schepers, Deputy City Manager/Directrice municipale adjointe, Infrastructure Services and Community Sustainability/Services d’infrastructure et Viabilité des collectivités


Contact Person/Personne-ressource : Richard Kilstrom, Acting Manager/Gestionnaire intérimaire, Development Review-Urban Services, Inner Core/Examen des projets d'aménagement-Services urbains, Unité du Centre intérieur

Planning and Growth Management/Urbanisme et Gestion de la croissance

(613) 580-2424, 22379 Richard.Kilstrom@ottawa.ca


Somerset (14)

Ref N°: ACS2011-ICS-PGM-0053





ZONING – 89-91 NEPEAN STREET (FILE NO. d02-02-10-0088)








That the  recommend Council approve an amendment to the Zoning By-law 2008-250 to change the zoning of 89 to 91 Nepean Street from R5B (482) F(3.0) (Residential Fifth Density Subzone B, Exception 482, FSI 3.0) to R5B-h (xxxx) H(83.0) (Residential Fifth Density Subzone B Exception xxxx, Height 83.0 – Holding Provision) as shown on Document 1 and as detailed in Document 2.




Que le Comité de l’urbanisme recommande au Conseil d’approuver une modification au Règlement de zonage 2008-250 afin de changer la désignation de zonage des 89 à 91, rue Nepean de R5B (482) F(3.0) (Zone résidentielle de densité cinq, sous-zone B, exception 482, rapport plancher-sol 3.0) à R5B-h (xxxx) H(83.0) (zone résidentielle de densité cinq, sous-zone B, exception xxxx, hauteur 83.0 – disposition d’aménagement différé), comme il est indiqué dans le Document 1 et expliqué en détail dans le Document 2.





The subject lands are comprised of two properties located on the north side of Nepean Street between O’Connor and Metcalfe Streets. One property (89 Nepean Street) currently contains a parking lot which is temporarily used as a sales centre (temporary sales trailer) and the other property (91 Nepean Street) is currently vacant with some trees, shrubs and grass.


The surrounding land uses are a mix of residential, office and commercial uses with a variety of buildings ranging in height from two to three storeys along Lisgar and Nepean Streets, eight to 12 storeys along Metcalfe Street and eight to 27 storeys along Nepean Street. More specifically, there is a nine-storey residential apartment building to the west, to the east is a small parking lot which is associated an existing office building which fronts onto Gloucester Street and a seven-storey office building with ground floor commercial uses which fronts onto Metcalfe Street. To the north is a parking lot and northeast of the site is a four-storey office building and to the south is a commercial parking lot and a three-storey apartment building.


A Site Plan Control application has also been submitted which reflects the proposed Zoning By‑law amendment application (Document 4).


Proposed Development Concept


The proposed development consists of a 27-storey residential building with 233 dwelling units and seven storeys of underground parking with a total of 135 parking spaces accessed through garage doors at the southwest corner of the property. The main entrance is proposed in the middle of the frontage along Nepean Street. The main floor consists of two rooms for common amenity space and two ground floor residential units. The applicant has indicated that a small retail component may be proposed through the Site Plan Control process on the main floor of the building.


Existing Zoning


The property is currently zoned R5B (482) F(3.0). The R5B zone permits a variety of lower density residential uses such as single and semi-detached dwellings as well as higher density uses such as mid to high-rise apartment buildings. Exception 482 permits additional commercial uses such as a personal service businesses, retail store and restaurant. For the higher density uses, the height restriction is limited by a FSI (floor space index) of 3.0.


Purpose of Zoning Amendment


The proposed Zoning By-law amendment is to permit the development of the proposed 27‑storey residential building. The amendment is proposing to delete the density restriction (FSI) and replacing it with a height limit of 83.0 metres as well as amend some of the existing performance standards of the R5B zone. As noted above, the existing exception (482) allows for limited retail uses and is not proposed to be modified as part of this application.  


Proposed Zoning


The Zoning By-law amendment proposes to modify the performance standards of the R5B (482) F(3.0) zone as follows:

  • removing the FSI (floor space index) restriction on the property and replacing this with a maximum height restriction of 83.0 metres;
  • decrease the interior side yard setback beyond 21 metres from the street from a minimum 7.5 m to 1.5 metres for the westerly side yard;
  • decrease the interior side yard setback beyond 21 metres from the street from a minimum 7.5 metres to 0 metres for the easterly side yard;
  • decrease the front yard setback from 3.0 metres to 2.0 metres for 91 Nepean Street;
  • decrease the rear yard from 7.5 metres to 6.16 metres;
  • decrease the minimum required visitor parking spaces from 44 to 18;
  • decrease the minimum amenity area from six square metres per square metres per unit to 5.8 square metres per unit; and
  • decrease the required communal amenity area from 50 per cent to 25 per cent.


The applicant had originally requested a reduction in the amount of visitor parking spaces from 44 to 0. The requested reduction in visitor parking has been revised to the request noted in the above list. The applicant had also requested a reduction in the number of retail parking spaces; however, this request has been eliminated as retail is no longer proposed for the site. If any commercial uses were proposed in the future on the site, the parking requirements would have to be addressed at that time.


The front yard setback was originally proposed to be 0 metres and the side yard and rear yard setbacks were originally requested more specifically to reflect the site plan submitted with the proposal. The applicants have since modified the requested front, rear and side yard setbacks as noted above due to recent changes to the design of the proposed building. The front yard setback reduction is requested for only a portion of the building (91 Nepean Street). For 89 Nepean Street, the front yard setback is proposed to be 3.0 metres which meets the provisions of the R5B zone. The communal amenity area has been increased from the previously requested 20 per cent to 25 per cent.


With respect to the height request, the original request was for 82.5 metres however through the design process the architect has identified the need for some flexibility with the height due to new energy conservation requirements in the roof insulation thickness and as such has requested a height restriction of 83.0 metres rather than 82.5 metres.




Planning Act and Provincial Policy Statement


Section 2 of the Planning Act outlines those land use matters that are of provincial interest, to which all City planning decisions shall have regard. The provincial interests that apply to this site include the appropriate location of growth and development and the promotion of development that is designed to be sustainable to support public transit and to be oriented to pedestrians.


In addition, the Planning Act requires that all City planning decisions be consistent with the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS), a document that provides further policies on matters of provincial interest related to land use development. The PPS contains policies which indicate that there should be an appropriate mix of uses to support strong, liveable and healthy communities.


The proposed zoning allows for an increase of residential units, which will efficiently use land and contribute to a balanced community. The site is located in proximity to two arterial roads (Metcalfe and O’Connor Streets), which provide access to the site. The site is conveniently located near transit as well as nearby residential and commercial areas to allow for access by pedestrians and transit. The Department is of the opinion that the proposal is consistent with the matters of provincial interest as outlined in the Planning Act and PPS.


The use of Section 36 is discussed in the Zoning Details section of this report. Section 36 of the Planning Act provides the authority for municipalities the use of a holding symbol to specify requirements that need to be met prior to the use of a property.  Once the requirements are met, the holding symbol is then removed by an amendment to the by-law.


Official Plan


Strategic Directions and Land Use Designation


Section 2.3.1 of the Official Plan sets broad strategic directions to meet the challenge of managing growth and directing growth to the urban area where services exist, providing infrastructure, maintaining environmental integrity and creating livable communities within Ottawa. To meet these challenges, polices are set out to pursue compact forms of development which in turn will enable the City to support a high-quality transit system and make better use of existing infrastructure and roads. 


The site is designated General Urban Area on Schedule B of Volume 1 of the Official Plan. The General Urban designation is intended to facilitate the development of complete and sustainable communities with a full range and choice of housing, in combination with conveniently located employment, retail, service, cultural, leisure, entertainment and institutional uses. The Official Plan supports infill development and intensification within the General Urban Area, provided it is developed in a manner that enhances and complements the desirable characteristics of the existing community and ensures its long term vitality. The Official Plan further requires that uses that serve wider parts of the city be located at the edges of neighbourhoods on roads where the needs of these land uses, such as transit, access and parking can be more easily met and their impacts controlled. 


Section 2.2.3 “Managing Growth within the Urban Area” provides direction for intensification in the General Urban area. Where a Zoning By-law Amendment is required to facilitate intensification, the appropriateness of the scale of development will be evaluated along with the design and its compatibility. In addition, the policies provide for consideration of intensification and infill development when the lands are within 600 metres of a future or existing rapid-transit station or are currently or formerly used as parking lots.


The site is located one block south of the Central Area at the northern edge of Centretown. The property is between two arterial streets; Metcalfe Street is a northbound arterial road that serves as a main access route to the Central Area, and O’Connor Street is a southbound arterial road that serves as a main access route from the Central Area to Highway 417 and to neighbourhoods to the south. The property is within 600 metres of a transit station. 89 Nepean Street is currently used as parking lot and 91 Nepean Street is an underutilized, vacant property. The proposal provides an opportunity for additional residential units, as well as potential opportunities for commercial uses to serve the local population in the urban area, all of which support the overall goals and policies of the Official Plan’s Strategic Directions and General Urban designation.


Centretown Secondary Plan


The Centertown Secondary Plan in Volume 2 of the Official Plan intends to conserve and enhance the residential character of Centertown as an inner-city community with several identifiable neighbourhoods focused around defined commercial corridors and public open spaces.  Uses which are incompatible with the residential character are restricted through the Secondary Plan policies.


The Secondary Plan recognizes that the population of Centretown will increase over time, and that this increase will support the residential character of the area, benefiting the retail and commercial enterprises within Centretown and the adjacent Central Area. The Plan also recognizes that an increase in population in Centretown will also be beneficial to the City-wide distribution of population and the use of existing public services and facilities. The Secondary Plan acknowledges that the neighbourhoods of Centretown will absorb some of the anticipated increase in population, however the Plan also acknowledges certain neighbourhoods, such as the area west of Kent Street, the area between Elgin and O’Connor Streets south of Somerset Street, and the area east of Elgin Street, as more suitable to family living. Other neighbourhoods adjacent to Bank Street and along the northern boundary of Centretown are recognized as areas less suitable to family living where medium and high profile residential uses are more appropriate. The land use schedule defines the land use designations which are reflective of the desired use and built form patterns for the area. These designations are intended to serve as a framework within which the objectives and policy directions of the Secondary Plan are to be achieved. 


The subject lands are located immediately south of the Central Area and as such are designated as “High Profile Residential” on Schedule H of the Centretown Secondary Plan (the boundary between the Central Area and Centretown runs east-west along Gloucester Street). The High Profile Residential designation extends to the north to Gloucester Street, to the east to Metcalfe Street, to the south to Lisgar Street and to the west past O’Connor Street toward Bank Street. The designation permits a variety of dwelling types with accommodation suitable for one person and small family or non-family households. Buildings and uses accessory to, or compatible with, these residential types will be considered. In general, residential areas identified in the Secondary Plan are intended to include dwelling uses and may also include public service, minor retail as well as office uses which serve primarily the local population but are not necessarily limited to only the geographic area of Centretown.


The proposed residential building is located on the northern portion of the boundary of Centretown and serves as a transition from the retail and office buildings located to the north as part of the Central Area, to the residential areas to the south in the interior of Centretown. The applicant is requesting to maintain the existing flexibility within the R5B zoning which permits limited commercial uses, further meeting the intent of the Secondary Plan by providing a residential use but with the ability, in the future, to also provide accessory uses which serve the local population. The proposed rezoning is in keeping with the intent of the policies of the Centretown Secondary Plan.


Compatibility and Community Design


Section 2.5.1 of the Official Plan recognizes the importance of compatibility and community design when considering new development. The Official Plan recognizes in order for a development to be compatible, it does not necessarily have to be the same as, or similar to, the existing buildings in the vicinity. Rather, compatible development enhances an established community and coexists with existing development without causing undue adverse impact on surrounding properties. The Official Plan provides objective criteria to evaluate compatibility in Section 4.11.


Section 2.5.1 also addresses community design and acknowledges that good urban design and quality architecture can create lively places with distinctive character which provide tools to shape the environment. This section provides a set of design objectives and principles to be considered in evaluating development proposals. The design objectives include:

·         enhancing a sense of community by creating distinct places;

·         defining quality public and private spaces;

·         creating spaces that are safe and accessible;

·         ensuring that new development respects the character of existing areas;

·         considering adaptability and diversity when creating spaces; and

·         understanding and respecting natural processes and promoting environmental sustainability in development.


The subject property is within the area covered by the Downtown Ottawa Urban Design Strategy (DOUDS), and is subject to design review as per Schedule L of the Official Plan. Properties within this area require review by the newly created Urban Design Review Panel (UDRP). The applicant presented its proposal to the UDRP in December 2010 and the comments of the panel are located within Document 5 of the report.


As previously mentioned, Section 4.11of the Official Plan provides objective criteria to evaluate compatibility. In addition, in 2009, City Council approved Urban Design Guidelines for High-Rise Housing as well as Transit-Oriented Guidelines which were approved in 2007. The proposal was also reviewed in light of the criteria in Section 4.11 and the Design Guidelines.  The following is an analysis of the applicable criteria, including the comments from the UDRP, which demonstrates that the proposed development satisfies the compatibility tests of the Official Plan in a manner that does not result in undue adverse impacts.


Policy 1 of Section 4.11 recognizes that compatibility is not the only tool to evaluate development proposals, and that the City must have regard for the policies of Section 4.1 through 4.10, the objectives of Section 2.5.1, and the policies of any applicable Secondary Plans or site-specific policies. As previously discussed, the proposal meets the intent of the Centretown Secondary Plan, satisfies the policies of the Strategic Directions as contained in the Official Plan. The Department is satisfied that the applicable policies contained in Sections 4.1 through to 4.10 are also met.


Policy 2 of Section 4.11 acknowledges that not all of the objective criteria contained in the Official Plan are meant to be applicable to all circumstances; some may not apply, or may be evaluated and weighed on the basis of site circumstances.


Policy 2(a) requires that roads should be adequate to serve the development with sufficient capacity to accommodate the anticipated traffic generated by the development. Access to the proposed building will be from Nepean Street which is a one-way street running west to east. A Community Transportation Study (CTS) was prepared in support of the application, and indicates that the proposed development will result in a modest increase in traffic on most of the adjacent roadway network, with no need for any traffic improvements as a result of the proposed development. Any recommendations of the CTS, as well as site-specific requirements of the City, will be included as conditions of Site Plan Control. As per the Transit-Oriented Guidelines, this development is located within 600 metres of a transit station, and underground parking is being provided. The design of the building provides for an appealing architecture, with the main front entrance clearly the dominant feature of the ground floor facade. The landscaping creates a more desirable microclimate.


Policy 2(b) requires that the vehicle ingress and egress to a development should address impacts such as noise, headlight glare and loss of privacy on development adjacent, or immediately opposite, to the subject property. The proposed garage entrance is located adjacent to the garage entrance for the apartment building located to the west, thus not infringing on the privacy of surrounding properties. To the south is an existing parking lot and a three-storey apartment building. It is not anticipated that the ingress or egress of vehicles from the site will be detrimental to the land uses to the south. In addition, locating the garage entrance beside an existing garage entrance helps to mitigate the interruption of pedestrian movement along Nepean Street by concentrating vehicular access in one location rather than a number of different locations along the street.


Policy 2(c) requires that a development should have adequate on-site parking to minimize the potential for spill-over on adjacent areas. Opportunities should be considered to reduce parking requirements and promote increased usage of walking, cycling and transit, particularly in the vicinity of transit stations or major transit stations in accordance with Section 4.3. The proposed rezoning includes parking provisions considered adequate for the needs of the proposed development, while recognizing the opportunity to reduce parking and increase other modes of transportation, especially given the proximity of the site to a rapid transit station and to the Central Area, which is accessible by a variety of modes of transportation.


Policy 2(d) addresses building heights and massing recognizing that new buildings should have regard for the area context, which includes not only the massing and height of adjacent buildings but also the planned function of the area. The desire for a transition in building heights can be offset where natural buffers and setbacks exist or through the use of appropriate design measures to create a more pedestrian-friendly environment.


With respect to height, the proposal is for the removal of the existing floor space index of 3.0 to be replaced with a maximum building height of 83.0 metres (27 storeys). As previously mentioned this site is located along the northern boundary of Centretown and designated “High Profile Residential” in the Centretown Secondary Plan. The Central Area is located to the north which contains buildings ranging from two storeys to 26 storeys. To the east of the property is an existing 27-storey office building (Place Bell) and at the southeast corner of Metcalfe and Nepean Streets, a recently approved development for two, 27-storey buildings. To the west, immediately adjacent to the site, is a nine-storey apartment building and to the south is a 10‑storey apartment building. The existing context of the area contains a range of building heights and also contains a number of properties where redevelopment is anticipated through the Secondary Plan policies that recognize the surrounding area to the north, east, south and west as a “High Profile Residential.” As shown on the site plan contained in Document 3, the applicant is proposing a new building on the adjacent property known as 70 Gloucester Street. This property is a through lot with frontage on both Nepean and Gloucester Streets. The proposal for 70 Gloucester Street continues the street-fronting residential units and thus the Department is satisfied that in this circumstance the requested 0 metre side yard setback proposed for the easterly side yard is appropriate as it continues the street-fronting orientation of residential units.


The area to the north of Gloucester Street is restricted by a maximum building height plane contained in Annexes 8A, 8B and 8D of the Official Plan, which is further implemented through Schedules contained in the Zoning By-law. As noted in the comments by the UDRP, ensuring that the height of the building does not encroach into the viewplane was of concern. Although this property is not subject to the aforementioned Schedules of the Official Plan or Zoning By-law, as part of the review of the proposed height an analysis of the extension of this viewplane restriction was completed to ensure that the proposed building height, if restricted by a viewplane, would comply. The results of the analysis are that it does comply.


With respect to massing and transitioning of building heights, the applicant is proposing reduced interior side yard setbacks for the proposed building. As noted in the comments from the UDRP, the landscaping is an important feature of this development and should be enhanced as much as possible. It is acknowledged that the site is narrow in width and that the applicant is proposing (through the Site Plan Control process) landscaping features that help to mitigate the effects of the reduced side yard setbacks and provide for a more pedestrian-scale environment. In addition, there is an existing parking garage entrance immediately adjacent to the west of the property which is approximately 9.0 metres wide and provides access to parking below grade and parking one storey above grade. As a result, this area provides an existing buffer to the proposed building which reduces the impact of the reduced side yards and provides for light and air between the two buildings and to the interior of the block. The reduced side yard setback to the east of the property abuts a portion of parking lot which is part of a larger parcel that fronts onto Gloucester Street and which has been previously discussed in this report. The applicant is proposing a rear yard setback of 6.16 metres which is not a substantial deviation from the required 7.5 metres, and is sufficient to accommodate open space on the site for the residents of the building and also provide buffering to the adjacent properties to the north.


The requested reduced front yard setback from 3.0 metres to 2.0 metres for the portion of the land known as 91 Nepean Street has been considered by this Department. As a result of the comments by the UDRP, specifically with respect to providing a sufficient setback for residential uses and also a suggestion to “jog” the building to emphasize its two architectural features, the Department is of the opinion that the requested reduced front yard setback of 2.0 metres is appropriate for the development of the site. However, the Department has included that the proposed setbacks, of 3.0 metres for 89 Nepean Street and 2.0 metres for 91 Nepean Street, be both minimum and maximum setbacks to ensure that the residential units proposed on the main floor are located at the front of the building, facing the street, rather than at the back of the building facing the rear yard. These provisions would implement the recommendations of the UDRP, reflect the Transit-Oriented Guidelines and the Guidelines for High-Rise Housing, and will provide for a livelier pedestrian realm with residential uses on the ground floor, facing the street.


Policy 2e recognizes the pattern of the surrounding community and acknowledges that for development that proposes a different height, building mass, proportion, street setback or distance between buildings from the pattern of the area, the design of the proposed building may compensate for this variation. It is the opinion of the Department that the surrounding area contains a variety of building heights, massing, proportions and setbacks. There are a variety of uses in the immediate area ranging from parking lots, to residential buildings with varying heights, to high-rise office buildings. It is noted that there are existing and new buildings being constructed, similar in height, to the proposed development within a one-block radius of the site. This development, while proposing reduced side yards and front yard setback for a portion of the building, provides for a larger landscaped rear yard setback than many of the existing residential buildings in the area. The proposed building is higher than the existing buildings along Nepean Street.  However, through the review of the design with the UDRP and staff, it was concluded that it is narrower in width than the existing apartment building to the west and provides architectural features that contribute to the streetscape. Many of the existing buildings along Nepean Street have very small front yard setbacks, if any at all. The existing buildings on the north side of Nepean Street, east and west of the site have a 0 front yard setback. As noted above, the proposal provides a residential frontage along Nepean Street with a sufficient setback to provide amenity space and buffering for those residents.


Policy 2l requires that the development provide supporting neighbourhood services, or alternatively, is able to be supported by existing neighbourhood services. As previously mentioned, the site is located south of the Central Area and on the northern boundary of Centretown. Both areas provide sufficient neighbourhood services for this development.  


Other design and compatibility criteria such as noise, lighting, fencing, microclimate and loading areas are addressed through the Site Plan Control process.


Official Plan Amendment 76


While Official Plan Amendment 76 is currently under appeal and is not in full force and effect, the amendment was adopted by City Council and thus is taken into consideration in the evaluation of planning applications. When evaluating the appropriateness of a development proposal, one of the main differences between the City of Ottawa’s approved Official Plan and Official Plan Amendment 76, are the compatibility criteria found in Section 4.11.


One new policy is the consideration of whether the design of a proposal takes advantage of opportunities to improve the character and quality of an area and the way it functions. Other new policies appropriate for consideration in a rezoning application are policies related to Building Profile and Compatibility. Development proposals will also address issues of compatibility and integration with surrounding land uses by ensuring an effective transition in built form. This will serve to link the proposed development with existing development.


In terms of height, Official Plan Amendment 76 defines High-Rise as a building of 10 storeys or more and will consider high-rise buildings in those areas that are: characterized by high-rise buildings having direct access to arterial roads; within 600 metres of a rapid transit station; within areas identified for high-rise buildings in the Zoning By-law; or within areas where a built form transition is appropriate.


The policies further provide criteria to achieve a built form transition by:


a.         Incremental changes in building height (e.g. angular planes or stepping building profile up or down);

b.        Massing (e.g. inserting ground-oriented housing adjacent to the street as part of a high-profile development or incorporating podiums along a Mainstreet);

c.         Character (e.g. scale and rhythm, exterior treatment, use of colour and complementary building finishes);

d.        Architectural design (e.g. the use of angular planes, cornice lines); and

e.    Building setbacks.


The applicant is proposing to incorporate ground-oriented housing adjacent to the street. The proposed architecture of the building provides a certain character to the building in terms of exterior treatment, scale and rhythm. As noted in the UDRP’s comments, the exterior treatment and building finishes are vital to the architectural design of the proposed building and will be implemented through the Site Plan Control process. The Department is satisfied that the proposal meets the intent of policies of OPA 76.


Details of Proposed Zoning 


The Zoning By-law Amendment application requests reductions in certain yard requirements, parking reductions and reducing the required individual amenity space and communal amenity space, as well as deleting the FSI of 3.0 and replacing it with a height restriction of 83 metres.


The Department is recommending that the requested front yard setback of 2.0 metres for 91 Nepean Street and the permitted 3.0 metre setback for 89 Nepean Street be both a maximum and minimum setback for the residential units proposed on the main floor to ensure that the residential units on the main floor face the street and not the rear yard of the property. This will allow for residential units to face the street while still providing amenity space and buffering for the residents.  


As previously discussed, the reduced easterly side yard setback is proposed to accommodate street-facing residential units in continuum with a separate application for 70 Gloucester Street.


The remaining requested amendments to the R5B performance standards are considered appropriate and are supported by the Department. The above noted changes will be incorporated into the Zoning By-law amendment via the exception.


With respect to the holding provision, the Department is recommending the holding provision as the applicant has been in discussions with the Ward Councillor and staff with respect to off-site community benefits. The purpose of the holding provision is to ensure that a Site Plan Control application is approved which reflects this proposed development and that the monies intended for the community benefits are secured prior to the lifting of the holding provision.


Servicing Issues 


A servicing study was provided in conjunction with the development applications and demonstrated that the existing services are adequate to support the proposed development. The Department has reviewed the study and have no issues with the findings with respect to capacity.  Further detailed review will be undertaken as part of the Site Plan Control process.


Concurrent Application 


As previously mentioned, a Site Plan Control application has been submitted which reflects the building elevations and site plan submitted with the Zoning By-law amendment application. If approved, the Site Plan Control application would implement the development.




In summary, the proposed increase in height to 83.0 metres (27 storeys) supports the direction of the Planning Act, Provincial Policy Statement and Strategic Directions of the Official Plan. The high-density residential development, which is located close to a transit station and in an area designated for high-profile residential buildings, will contribute to a greater housing mix and satisfies density targets for the City. Compatibility and design criteria, transportation and servicing have been addressed satisfactorily. The requirement for a holding provision will enable the provision of facilities that will benefit the greater community that can be secured in a site plan agreement for the development. The holding provision can be lifted once the requirements of the Site Plan Control are met and the monies for community benefits are secured. In light of the discussion above, the Department recommends approval of the Zoning By-law amendment application.




A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment was submitted as part of the Zoning By-law Amendment application and a subsequent modification to the original submission has been submitted as part of the Site Plan Control application. No significant issues were identified in the Phase I ESA.








Notice of this application was carried out in accordance with the City’s Public Notification and Consultation Policy. The Department received comments from the public and community groups which are included in Document 6.




1. A development of 27 floors with a density in excess of 10 times site coverage is excessive for this small lot. However, if approval is to be granted in exchange for this increased height and density the applicant should be required to provide a 'Community Benefit' to the City of Ottawa, in accordance with mechanisms established under the Planning Act.


2. In my view it is premature to consider very tall buildings in this section of Centretown until comprehensive urban design and streetscaping guidelines have been determined through the Mid-Centretown Community Design Plan, which is currently in progress.


3. I support the revision of the original design concept to now include setbacks for a landscaped area.


4. I support the provision of ground floor residential units. These dwellings will create animation at street level, and may help to mitigate the impact of this tower.




If this matter is appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board, it is estimated that a one week hearing will result.


Should the application be refused, reasons must be provided.  In the event of an appeal of a refusal the City would need to retain outside witnesses being a planner and possibly an architect.  The estimated cost for the hearing would be in the range of $40,000 to $50,000.




The proposed development and planning applications align with the City Strategic Plan in that it respects the existing urban fabric, neighbourhood form and the limits of existing hard services so that new growth is integrated seamlessly with established communities; creates a walking, transit, and cycling oriented community; and contributes toward achieving a 30-per cent modal split by 2021.








There are no direct financial implications associated with this report. The Site Plan Control agreement will require the owner to contribute funds to a City account which is to be used for certain community benefits.




This application was processed by the "On Time Decision Date" established for the processing of Zoning By-law amendment applications.




Document 1    Location Map

Document 2    Details of Recommended Zoning

Document 3    Proposed Site Plan

Document 4    Urban Design Review Panel Recommendations

Document 5    Consultation Details




City Clerk and Solicitor Department, Legislative Services to notify the owner, applicant, OttawaScene.com, 174 Colonnade Road, Unit #33, Ottawa, ON  K2E 7J5, Ghislain Lamarche, Program Manager, Assessment, Financial Services Branch (Mail Code:  26-76) of City Council’s decision.


Planning and Growth Management to prepare the implementing by-law, forward to Legal Services and undertake the statutory notification.


Legal Services to forward the implementing by-law to City Council.

LOCATION MAP                                                                                                DOCUMENT 1



DETAILS OF RECOMMENDED ZONING                                                    DOCUMENT 2


Proposed Changes to the Comprehensive Zoning By-law


1.      The Zoning Map of City of Ottawa Zoning By-law 2008-250 is amended by changing the zoning of the lands known municipally as 89 and 91 Nepean Street from R5B(482) F(3.0) (Residential Fifth Density Zone, Subzone B, Exception 482, FSI 3.0) to R5B-h[xxxx] H(83.0) (Residential Fifth Density Zone, Subzone 5, Exception xxxx, Height 83.0 – Holding Provision);


2.      Add a new exception [xxxx] in Section 239 as follows:


Column III: Additional Land Uses Permitted: 


·        personal service business limited to barber shop, beauty parlour, or dry cleaner's distribution station

·        place of assembly limited to a club

·        retail store limited to a drug store, florist shop, news stand

·        restaurant


Column V: Provisions:


a.     additional permitted uses other than place of assembly limited to a club restricted to the ground floor or basement of a residential use building

b.    the minimum and maximum front yard setback for the portion of the land legally known as Lot 46 (North Nepean Street) Registered Plan 2996, an apartment dwelling, mid-high rise with residential uses on the ground floor is 3.0 metres

c.     the minimum and maximum front yard setback for the portion of the land known as Lot 47 (North Nepean Street) Registered Plan 2996, an apartment dwelling, mid-high rise with residential uses on the ground floor is 2.0 metres

d.    the minimum side yard setback for an apartment dwelling, mid-high rise for the easterly side yard is 0 metres

e.     the minimum side yard setback for an apartment dwelling, mid-high rise for the westerly side yard is 1.5 metres

f.     the minimum rear yard setback for an apartment dwelling, mid-high rise is 6.16 metres

g.    the minimum number of visitor parking spaces provided for apartment dwelling, mid-high rise is a minimum of 0.077 spaces per dwelling unit

h.    the minimum community amenity area for a mid-high rise is 20% of the required total amenity area

i.      Despite anything to the contrary, the properties known legally as Lots 46 and 47 (South Nepean Street) Registered Plan 2996 are considered a separate lot and may share required parking located on properties known as Lots 47 and 48 (South Gloucester Street) and Lot 48 (North Nepean Street) Registered Plan 2996.


Pursuant to Section 36 of the Planning Act, the holding symbol “h” on lands zoned R5B-h[xxxx] H(83.0)  may only be lifted when the following conditions have been fulfilled to the satisfaction of the General Manager, Planning and Growth Management Department:


(a) The execution of a site plan agreement for the proposed development (file D07-12-10-0302); and

(b) The conveyance of monies to be directed to a reserve account for off-site community benefits as detailed in the site plan agreement referenced in (a).


and prior to the lifting of the holding provision denoted by the “h” symbol, the lands zoned R5B-h[xxxx] H(83.0) must not be used for any purpose other than that which is it is being used on the day of the passing of this by-law.

PROPOSED SITE PLAN                                                                                      DOCUMENT 3


URBAN DESIGN REVIEW PANEL                                                                  DOCUMENT 4



Urban Design Review Panel Recommendations | December 2, 2010

89 – 91 Nepean | Formal Review


§ The Panel appreciates the architectural expression.

§ The Panel stressed the absolute necessity for the building to stay within the height restrictions placed by the view protection planes in the downtown core. The Panel noted that the proposed height is within inches of the limits and the Panel is concerned that the finished building may break into the plane.

§ The Panel would like the applicant to consider retail at grade. This should be explored and the rational for the decision to include or not include retail should be explained.

§ The Panel discussed the various pros and cons of moving the building forward on the site. It was noted that pushing the building forward would create more breathing room around the building and would create better separation from a possible future building on the empty lot to the rear. Keeping the building to the rear offered better opportunities for landscaping the entry court. The general feeling of the Panel was that if the project includes retail at grade, the building could be shifted forward on the site. If the at grade use remains residential, the 3m setback should be maintained and the landscaping strengthened .

§ Should the ground floor remain residential, the Panel recommends that the residential units, presently facing the rear yard, be brought to the front of the building and that these units have separate doors to the street. The Panel recommends that semi dormant spaces should go to rear of the building or to the roof.

§ The Panel noted the importance of the mechanical surround; the cladding of this portion of the building should be the same as the overall building and this should be required through the approval process.

§ The Panel discussed the importance of the rooftop garden for future residents and noted that this feature should not be cut from the project. The Panel also noted the importance of resident access and highlighted the fact that the project would be richer if there were an interior common/resident use area adjacent to the garden.

§ The Panel stressed its expectations for very a high quality landscape treatment. This will be particularly important to help improve the quality of a narrow downtown street that, given this and other adjacent residential developments, will be increasingly used by resident pedestrians. The Panel noted that if the setback remains 3m, the landscape treatment should be intensified and groupings of trees should be considered. It was also noted that a greater landscape treatment, with the inclusion of public art, would create a greater sense of interest and could address the “gap tooth” created by the setback.

§ The Panel stressed its expectations for high quality design, detailing and materiality, especially given the very high density of the building. The Panel noted the particular importance of materials on the lower levels of the building, where they are directly experienced by pedestrians. The Panel recommended that the Applicant address the abrupt nature of how the brick portion of the building meets the ground.

§ The Panel felt that the materials and expression on the north façade required further study.

§ The Panel discussed the opportunities to jog the building to emphasize its two parts. It was noted that this could create relief and variety.

§ The Panel asked the applicant to look at the environmental opportunities and energy saving measures for the building. In particular, the Panel noted that in return for density, the building should make a significant contribution to the city in terms of sustainability, green infrastructure and energy characteristics.

§ The Panel noted a concern over wind impacts on the public realm.


CONSULTATION DETAILS                                                                             DOCUMENT 5




Notification and public consultation was undertaken in accordance with the Public Notification and Public Consultation Policy approved by City Council for Zoning By-law amendments. 




Notification and public consultation was undertaken in accordance with the Public Notification and Public Consultation Policy approved by City Council for Zoning By-law amendments. There were two members of the public and two community groups who provided comments on this application. A summary of the public comments and staff responses are provided below.





While I am broadly in favour of the application, I am opposed to the reduction of the front setback from the minimum 3m to 0m. The building appears to be a 27-storey block with no setbacks to avoid the appearance of "looming" over the street. In addition, the setback could potentially allow for soft landscaping features thereby allowing for a more inviting streetscape as well as potentially reducing ambient noise since the frontage would not be all on one face, but would be broken up. I am also opposed to the reduction of communal amenity space. While the application notes that there are resources in the area, this part of the City is chronically underserved and I cannot support measures which would not help alleviate that.


Staff Response:

The Department is satisfied with a reduced front yard setback of 2.0 metres for 91 Nepean Street and the 3.0-metre requirement of the existing R5B zone for the portion of the building at 89 Nepean Street . The Department is of the opinion that the reduced 2.0-metre front yard setback can provide a livelier pedestrian environment while still providing landscaping contributing to an improved streetscape along Nepean Street. With respect to communal amenity space, the property is located within 500 metres of many facilities such as a library, community centre, day cares, school, public open spaces and private amenity features. The proposal includes a roof top patio as well as a common amenities room to serve the residents. The Department is recommending that a holding provision be used to ensure that the monies for the community benefit are secured through the Site Plan Control agreement prior to the lifting of the holding provision.


Very happy to see the application for no setbacks. I really feel more buildings should take the street line, provided of course there is lots of retail at grade. There are already too many gloomy and arbitrary set-backs in our downtown; usually landscaped on the cheap with dreary planters and other ugliness, I don't understand the reasoning for them. Shouldn't a city act and look like a city in its downtown commercial core? Certainly its set-back areas don't do Bank Street any favours at all, usually just providing loiterers more places to have a smoke. I want to experience tall buildings up close and personal, they are a city's pride, not its shame. I also support the call for no parking for visitors or retail; a building 2 short blocks from rapid transit should need no such auto-centric holdovers and indefensible restrictions. I assume the developers will get hit with cash-in-lieu for the parking, which is an utterly regressive cash-grab, but that seems to be par-for-the- course in Ottawa. If we wanted to do something positive for transportation, in-lieu is the last policy we would pursue; rather, spots for car-share and robust bike parking facilities should be made mandatory in developments of this kind.


Staff Response:

With respect to the comments regarding parking, the applicant is applying to reduce the visitor parking rate and therefore a cash-in -lieu of parking application is not part of the proposal.



Centretown Citizens Community Association


December 21, 2009

On Monday, December 13, 2010, Miguel Tremblay from FoTenn Consultants and Neil Malhotra from Claridge came to the meeting of the Centretown Citizens Community Association's Planning & Development Review Committee to present on the proposed development by Claridge Homes (Centretown) at 89-91 Nepean. We appreciate the developers taking the initiative to discuss their proposals directly with the community, as the presentations were very enlightening. The opportunity to hear them respond directly to our questions greatly facilitated the flow of information. Nevertheless, the CCCA has a number of concerns which we would like to express, as did Councillor Holmes in her two forwarded messages, copied below. Our concerns include:


1. The 27-storey tower was described at the meeting as "two point towers," and was promoted as having a smaller floorplate than two towers being discussed on the current Greyhound Bus Terminal site. There are a number of issues with this claim.


1a. A "point tower" typically refers to a site with a large, short, pedestrian-scale podium and towers whose floorplates are significantly smaller than the podium. This development, however, explicitly dispenses with the idea of a podium, and expands the towers to nearly the full size of the site--there is no "point". By contrast, the Greyhound proposal has two towers (of 15 and 7 storeys) at the corners of the block which includes a preponderance of lower rise buildings


1b. While two styles of cladding are being proposed for this tower, separated by the elevator column, this is still a large single building, and not two narrow towers. Wind issues would be same with or without the variable cladding. One of our members expressed at this meeting that she cannot walk on Nepean Street already in the winter because the wind blows her across the street.


2. The proponents rightly describe this zone as being a transition part of Centretown from the Central Business District north of Gloucester street to the mid-rise (described as being "up to 9 storeys") area south of Lisgar. However, we dispute the interpretation of an 82.5m tall tower as being "transitional". Instead, this building would extend the tall buildings of the Central Business District into Centretown.


3. The proponents compare their proposal with a number of other tall buildings to justify the height as being in context, which we rebut below:


3a. Comparisons are made with the tall buildings in the Central Business District. As mentioned above, that is a different district, when this area is in Centretown--a wholly different neighbourhood. The secondary plan clearly sets Gloucester Street as the boundary between the Central Business District and the high rise residential, with high rise defined as 12 storeys.


3b. The 187 Metcalfe development ("Tribeca") was cited as an example of other tall buildings. However, this building has two point towers on a two-storey podium on a very large site. This is not an accurate comparison. In addition, the expedited process by which the 187 Metcalfe development was approved, due to the potential portrait gallery use--allowed little-to-no opportunity for public consultation or input.


3c. The two 27-storey towers at 187 Metcalfe used 160 Elgin (Place Bell) to justify their height as being in context, and we anticipate similar arguments to be made for this development. However, 160 Elgin was built before zoning rules were implemented. Traffic to 160 Elgin's access on Nepean Street already exceeds the capacity of the street, and will only get worse when 187 Metcalfe is constructed.


3d. The architect's renditions for this site presented no context for the building (i.e. at the pedestrian level) and only showed the standalone site. The true context of this building includes 11-storey buildings in the vicinity and the 3-storey Nagle House one block immediately to the north of this site, which is the oldest building in Centretown, constructed in 1872. A 15-storey building would be far more in keeping with the Centretown Secondary Plan's requirements for this area to step-down the development from the Central Business District to the mid-rise development south of Lisgar, and would still meet the Official Plan goals of intensification by filling in a parking lot and vacant lot.


4. The change to increase the number of parking spaces from 0 to 18 is still significantly less than the zoning requirement of 44. It’s an improvement, but we are still very concerned about visitor parking availability. In the public discussions for the Laurier Street Segregated Bike Lane, condo owners on Laurier between Lyon and Bronson are highly concerned at the loss of on-street parking, because their buildings were built with few or no visitor parking spaces, and their visitors require on-street parking. The future residents of 91 Nepean are not able to speak to the lack of visitor parking availability because the future residents are still years away from purchasing (much less occupying) the units to identify this shortcoming. This site should not be approved without sufficient visitor parking spaces provided.


5. We were glad to hear from the proponent that the reduction in communal amenity space has been amended, though the details of this amendment were not specified. We feel that a reduction in communal amenity space would be significantly detrimental to this development, and would only reinforce the disconnected, impersonal apartment living already inherent in such modern developments. The amenity space should not be reduced.


6. The CCCA is strongly in favour of the provisions of Section 37 of the provincial Planning Act (which has been incorporated into the City's Official Plan) that calls for increased amenity provisions to give back to the community in exchange for exceeding the zoning provisions. Such amenities include park space, affordable housing (which could be purchased as a block by a local non-profit housing provider, similar to the Somerset Gardens project), daycare, public parking, or cash in lieu of these types of amenities. In this proposal, we see a request for reduction in amenity space, the exact opposite of the goals of Section 37 and we would like to explore ways to take advantage of Section 37 provisions.


7. The ongoing process to develop the mid-Centretown Community Design Plan seeks to provide a shape and context to the way development takes place in Centretown. We urge the City not to approve rezoning applications in mid-Centretown until the CDP is complete, as doing so would presuppose the outcome of the CDP process and would not allow for time to explore the potential for Section 37 improvements.


The mid-Centretown CDP, into which the City has poured significant amounts of money and in which participants have invested considerable time and intellectual energy, should be given priority by Planning Department staff. Development proposals, such as for 89 91 Nepean Street, 260 McLaren and the Catherine Street Bus terminal redevelopment, should be held over until the results and recommendations from the Community Design Plan are available and have been the subject of discussion by all the stakeholders and then reviewed by Planning Committee as well as full City Council. The development proposals now coming forward, likely to be followed by others in the next few months, will have a major impact on the shape and character of Centretown for decades. It makes sense to take the time now to ensure that the context and parameters within which these developments are proposed is appropriate for the neighbourhood we live in and the environment which other people will want to live in.


8. As could be gathered from the above points, the size and massing of this building is far in excess of the existing zoning. While one might expect a developer to seek rezoning to the 'next level' of density, in this instance the proponents have sought to achieve the maximum envelope of the 'next level'.


The CCCA is strongly in favour of developing vacant lots in Centretown, as guided by the Centretown Secondary Plan. Such development meets the City's goals for intensification within the existing zoning. The proposal at 89-91 Nepean, on the other hand, vastly exaggerates these goals to the point of severe detriment to the community. Had the proposal seriously looked at rearranging the site density, using a true “point tower” on part of the lot, the CCCA might have been more supportive of the height. But claiming that a lot line to lot line, 27 storey building is actually two because of a clever architectural conceit (shared core and different cladding) is not the same thing.


The CCCA urges the City to reject this rezoning application, and to incorporate the above points into the City's evaluation of this proposal.


January 22, 2011

On Tuesday, the CCCA passed the following motion regarding the development applications (rezoning and site plan) for 89-91 Nepean, to supplement our previous comments. The motion also covers our preference:


THAT the CCCA's position regarding Density Bonus community benefits on the application for 89-91 Nepean is:
(a) 27 storeys should not be approved
(b) whatever lesser height is approved, the community benefits derived from the increase should include as a first priority (1) provision of new affordable housing units; land for affordable housing, or, at the discretion of the owner, cash-in-lieu of affordable housing units or land, then (2) Conservation of existing greenspace or the creation of new greenspace, then (3) Energy conservation and environmental performance measures. Any benefits should be located in Centretown as close as practicable to the site.


Staff Response:

With respect to the requested amendments to the performance standards of the R5B zone, staff have addressed these issues in the body of the report. Staff cannot address issues that may have arisen from the meeting between the developer and the Community Association as staff were not present at this meeting. Wind impacts will be addressed through a wind study which will be submitted for review as part of the Site Plan Control process. With respect to the transition, staff have acknowledge that the building is of similar height to some of the existing and currently being constructed buildings in the immediate area however the area is characterized by a variety of land uses, building heights and massing. The Department is of the opinion that the proposed development meets the intent of the applicable policies of the Official Plan and Centretown Secondary Plan. The Mid-Centretown Secondary Plan is currently in the process of the being developed. The Department must process complete applications submitted to the City in accordance with the City’s policies and procedures and the requirements of the Planning Act. As the City does not yet have implementation guidelines to address Section 37 of the Planning Act, the Department is recommending the use of a holding provision to secure monies for community benefits through the Site Plan Control process.



Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation


I’m writing on behalf of Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation (CCOC) to object to the re-zoning of this site to allow 27 stories. CCOC is generally in favor of increasing density in the City, however we are opposed to increased height without community benefit. These proposed by-law changes (as well as the proposed changes regarding setbacks which would allow the tower to spring practically from the sidewalk), are not in keeping with the existing urban fabric that surrounds the site, nor with the direction of the current Mid-Centretown Community Design Plan.


CCOC supports the creative application of community benefits in exchange for increased height (green space, pocket parks, ground floor commercial, affordable housing, more interesting building forms as is being done at the Lisgar development) however we do not support this proposal in its current form.

Staff Response:

As previously mentioned, the Department is recommending that a holding provision be used to ensure that through the Site Plan Control process monies for community benefits are secured, prior to lifting the holding zone on the property.



ZONAGE 89-91, RUE NEPEAN                                                                                

ACS2011-ICS-PGM-0053                                                                         SOMERSET (14)

(This matter is Subject to Bill 51)


The following correspondence was received with respect to this item and is held on file with the City Clerk:

·         E-mail dated 21 February 2011 from Charles Akben-Marchand, President of the Centretown Citizens Community Association

·         Letter dated 17 February 2011 from Debbie Bellinger on behalf of 160 Elgin Portfolio Inc.

·         E-mail dated 22 February 2011 from David Gladstone


Melanie Knight, Planner, provided an overview of the application and staff’s rationale for recommending approval.  A copy of staff’s PowerPoint presentation is held on file with the City Clerk.  Following questions to staff, Committee heard from the following public delegations.:


Ray Sullivan, and Calinda Brown spoke on behalf of the Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation. They were opposed to the application, as presented. However, in the event that it is approved, they support the holding provision requiring the developer to provide a new community amenity in exchange. They encouraged the City to follow the example of Toronto and develop policies to take advantage of Section 37 of the Planning Act to obtain community benefits in exchange for development.


Charles Akben-Marchand, President of the Centretown Citizens Community Association, spoke in opposition to the application, as proposed. He indicated that the association feels the proposed 27-storey building is too tall and massive for the site and inappropriate for the neighbourhood context.  


Debbie Bellinger, spoke on behalf of 160 Elgin Portfolio Inc., owners of the 160 Elgin Street (Place Bell). As outlined in more detail in her written submission, she expressed concerns with traffic, particularly in conjunction with the applicant’s other rezoning application for 70 Gloucester Street, and whether the traffic analyses had taken the latter development into consideration.


David Gladstone, resident, spoke in opposition to the application, as proposed.  He had concerns with respect to traffic, height, and the lack of provisions to encourage non-automobile forms of transportation.


Jim Burghout, Claridge Homes, spoke in support of the application. He was accompanied by the architect, Nathan Godlovitch and Miguel Tremblay of FoTenn Consultants.  As the applicant, he was supportive of the staff recommendations, with the exception of the Holding Zone. He suggested the holding provision was unnecessary.


Councillor Holmes, the Ward Councillor, put forward her comments with respect to the application.  She expressed concerns that the applicant had approached the Community Association only after an agreement had been reached with planning staff, and she suggested this type of situation had happened a lot recently in her ward. She hoped for a more transparent process next time, where the community would be involved earlier.


On the application, the Councillor suggested that the building was too large and tall for the site, and was to some degree premature in advance of the completion of the Community Design Plan for the area.  However, she indicated that she would support staff’s recommendation, conditional upon the provision of the holding zone, and would move forward to further discussions on the Site Plan and obtaining some community benefit.


Committee then approved the report recommendation, as presented.


That the  recommend Council approve an amendment to the Zoning By-law 2008-250 to change the zoning of 89 to 91 Nepean Street from R5B (482) F(3.0) (Residential Fifth Density Subzone B, Exception 482, FSI 3.0) to R5B-h (xxxx) H(83.0) (Residential Fifth Density Subzone B Exception xxxx, Height 83.0 – Holding Provision) as shown on Document 1 and as detailed in Document 2.