2.             ZONING – 282 SOMERSET STREET WEST





Committee recommendation


(This matter is Subject to Bill 51)


That Council approve an amendment to the Zoning By-law 2008-250 to change the zoning of 282 Somerset Street West as shown in Document 1 and as detailed in Document 2.



Recommandation DU Comité


(Cette question est assujettie au Règlement 51)


Que le Conseil approuve une modification au Règlement de zonage no 2008-250 en vue de changer le zonage du 282, rue Somerset Ouest comme le montre le document 1 et l’explique le document 2.






1.                  Deputy City Manager’s report, Infrastructure Services and Community Sustainability, dated 18 May 2011.


2.                  Extract of Draft Planning Committee Minutes of 14 June 2011.



Report to/Rapport au :


Planning Committee

Comité de l'urbanisme


and Council / et au Conseil


18 May 2011 / le 18 mai 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-0121













That the Planning Committee recommend Council approve an amendment to the Zoning By-law 2008-250 to change the zoning of 282 Somerset Street West as shown in 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 no 2008-250 en vue de changer le zonage du 282, rue Somerset Ouest comme le montre le document 1 et l’explique le document 2.





The subject property is located on the south side of Somerset Street West between O’Connor Street and Metcalfe Street. Originally a residential area, this stretch of Somerset Street has evolved into a mixed use area with businesses occupying many of the original Victorian homes. In other instances, demolition of the original homes has resulted in their replacement with newer and often larger buildings.


The property is located on a rectangular interior lot having an area of 599.5 square metres, frontage on Somerset Street of 17.9 metres and an average depth 33.5 metres.


Currently on the site is The Somerset Inn located in a three-storey home, approximately 604 square metres in size. Considered a very good example of the Queen Anne residential architectural style, the building was originally built in 1895, with additions to the east and south of the building sometime between 1902 and 1912. Located within the Centretown Heritage Conservation District, the building is a Category 2 Heritage Building. 


Immediately to the east of the subject property is a 10-storey apartment building; to the west, The Canadian College of Health Leaders, which is a converted single family dwelling. Immediately across the street on the north side of Somerset Street are low profile residential buildings. Other uses in this block include Mama Teresa Ristorante, low profile residential units in original Victorian homes, newer mid-rise residences and a surface parking lot. Abutting the property to the south, having frontage on MacLaren Street, is an 8-storey apartment building with a personal service establishment on the ground floor, and abutting the rear corners of the subject lot are an embassy and The National Association of Friendship Centres in a 21/2‑storey heritage building.


Existing Zoning


The existing zoning for the subject property is Residential Fourth Density Subzone T Exception 479 (R4T [479]), with a Heritage Overlay. The Residential Fourth Density Zone permits a wide range of residential uses. The exception [479] specifically permits a rooming house. Currently, the property is used as an inn, a permitted use in the R4T zone.


Purpose of Zoning Amendment


This zoning amendment proposes to add an office use to the existing zoning of the property. The owner (Royal Society of Canada) plans to use the site as its National Headquarters, while maintaining the third floor bedrooms for out-of-town guests. No external renovations to the building or the site are proposed, thereby fully retaining the heritage value of the building.  


In addition to the applicant’s proposal, staff is recommending that Exception [479] be removed and a new exception be added that allows office and rooming units ancillary to an office use, as detailed in Document 2.





Official Plan Considerations


Strategic Direction (Section 2)


Section 2 of the Official Plan sets broad strategic directions to meet the challenge of managing growth, providing infrastructure, maintaining environmental integrity and creating liveable communities within Ottawa.


To meet these challenges, polices are set out to pursue a mix of land uses, housing types and 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 strategic direction of the Official Plan supports redevelopment of existing employment uses at a higher density. For instance, the creation of an office building, as proposed, that replaces a lower-density use on previously developed land and encourages intensification of jobs within areas designated Central Area, Mixed-Use Centre, Town Centre, Traditional Mainstreet, Arterial Mainstreet, Employment Area and Enterprise Area.


Land Use Designation (Section 3.6.6)


The subject property is designated “Traditional Mainstreet” on Schedule B of the Official Plan.  The policies recognize that mainstreets perform a dual role of providing adjoining neighbourhoods with a range of daily goods and services and, because they traverse many communities, providing more specialized functions that serve the needs of others living beyond the borders of any one neighbourhood. The policies acknowledge this diversity and provide for change and renewal that takes into account the character of the street and adjacent areas.


The unique role of mainstreets has been identified and policies specific to non-residential uses support the provision of office space to serve local businesses, residents, institutions and tourism destinations.


Centretown Secondary Plan


The applicable Secondary Plan places emphasis on conserving and improving the residential character of Centretown. The site is located within the medium profile residential area of the Centretown Land Use Plan.


Section 3.4.2 of the Secondary Plan sets out directions for regulations on uses in certain areas of the Plan.  Section 3.4.2 c) specifically speaks to the medium profile residential area and states that these areas shall include a variety of dwelling types suitable for occupancy by one person, small and medium sized family and non-family households. Buildings or uses accessory to or compatible with these residential types will be considered.


Section 3.4.5 relays the importance of preserving irreplaceable architectural styles which provide character and variety essential to a vital urban environment and extending the economic life of existing buildings.


When the applicant, the Royal Society of Canada, chose the subject location for its future national headquarters, it specifically sought a majestic old building as a way to enhance its image and convey permanence, stability and dignity.


The proposal achieves two important overarching goals of the Secondary Plan: it preserves (and restores) a prized heritage building, giving it further profile as the national headquarters of an important Canadian institution; and it represents a use that is compatible with the residential character of this area (and indeed includes a residential use) in the form of a small-scale office, a use that exists in similar buildings nearby and maintains the fine-grained mix of uses within the established built form that characterizes Centretown.


Details of Proposed Zoning


The Zoning By-law Amendment amends the existing Residential Fourth Density Subzone T Exception 479 (R4T [479]) to Residential Fourth Density Subzone T Exception XXXX (R4T [XXX]) zone, which will permit an office use. In addition, staff is recommending that the zone be further amended to allow rooming units as short term stay facilities ancillary to an office use.  The details of the zoning amendment are contained in Document 2.


Heritage Considerations


No external alterations are proposed to this Category 2 heritage building. Its compatibility with the surrounding neighbourhood will therefore be maintained.




The Department is satisfied that the objectives set out in the Official Plan, related to the strategic directions for employment uses and the provisions for the intensification of jobs along Traditional Mainstreets, are being met.  The subject lot, in addition to preserving the heritage building, addresses a need for employment uses within the downtown core area. In light of the discussion above, the Department recommends approval of the Zoning By-law amendment application.




Notice of this application was carried out in accordance with the City's Public Notification and Consultation Policy.  No public comments were received.  The Ward Councillor is aware of this application and the staff recommendation.




Comments received April 20, 2011


1.      When I met with the applicants (the Royal Society of Canada) it was made clear to me that this application for a zoning amendment was solely for the purposes of establishing an administrative headquarters for the Society.  I support this use as it will provide long-term protection for this very significant historic building, and the proposed institutional use will not affect the character of the heritage streetscape. As well, there are upper floor residential units proposed to accommodate visiting officers and fellows from the Society. 

It should be noted that this building has been non-residential for many years, and has previously been an embassy and an inn.


2.      However, I do not support the addition of a general office use, which should the Society decide to relocate, could be easily converted into commercial offices for lawyers, accountants, consultants, etc.


3.      Therefore, I wish to see a limitation put on the proposed office use that would restrict it to not-for-profit associations and societies.




There are no legal implications associated with this report.




There are no risk management implications associated with this report.




There are no direct financial implications associated with this report.




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    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.         Rezone the property as shown on Document 1 from R4T[479] to R4T[xxxx].


2.         Add a new exception to Section 239, for the property, including the following:

a.       In Column II, the text R4T[XXXX]; and,


b.      In Column III, the text:

Further Permitted Uses

dwelling unit


rooming units


c.       In Column V, the text:


rooming units are only permitted as short-term stay facilities ancillary to an office use



CONSULTATION DETAILS                                                                                  DOCUMENT 3




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.




From a zoning and planning perspective, staff are unable to use exclusionary language in the by-law.


In staff’s opinion, there is no distinction to be made between the proposed use relative to offices for lawyers, accountants, consultants, etc. From a planning point of view, the use that is proposed by the Royal Society of Canada is a general office use as defined in the City’s Zoning By-law.


The impacts of any of these uses to the site and the surrounding context are similar.




ACS2011-ICS-PGM-0121                                                                  SOMERSET (14)


(This matter is Subject to Bill 51)




That the Planning Committee recommend Council approve an amendment to the Zoning By-law 2008-250 to change the zoning of 282 Somerset Street West as shown in Document 1 and as detailed in Document 2.


Committee received a letter from the Centretown Citizens Community Association in support of the application, a copy of which is held on file with the City Clerk.


Kathleen Willis was present on behalf of the applicant, the Royal Society of Canada, in support of the application.


The report recommendation was put to Committee and CARRIED, as presented.