Category Archives: Development

NOTEBOOK: The Legion’s new building, connecting Eagleson to the 416, more

LEGION REDEVELOPMENT PROJECT
I gotta admit, I would have never predicted that the first significant development to fall under the auspices of the Stittsville Main Street Community Design Plan would come from the Stittsville Legion.

The Stittsville News reports this week on an ambitious $1.5-million redevelopment plan for the Stittsville Legion’s headquarters.  They want to demolish the existing 1932 building and replace it with a two-storey building that will include a pub and meeting hall.

Continue reading


SHARE THIS

LINKED: Plan now for vacant Canadian Tire Centre, city urges Sens

From Laura Osman / CBC News:

Mayor Jim Watson says he doesn’t want to repeat the mistake other cities have made by leaving Ottawa’s NHL arena vacant when the team moves into a new downtown rink.

Watson, who’s preparing to take a seat at the negotiating table to hash out details of the LeBreton Flats redevelopment, said Tuesday the future of the Canadian Tire Centre (CTC) in Kanata must be considered before the Senators move to a new arena.

The worst case scenario, according to Watson?

“That it remains vacant and empty and no activity happens there for years and years.”

In September Senators president Tom Anselmi said the organization hadn’t settled on a plan for the CTC after the team moves out. Watson said Tuesday as far as he knows, there still isn’t one.

“My concern is that [the Senators] would move ahead with LeBreton and tie up that land, that very important piece of property for the west end, tie it up for years by doing nothing with it.” – Kanata North Councillor Allan Hubley

Read the full article…


SHARE THIS

Tartan Homes launches community lifestyle project in support of We the Parents

(via Tartan Homes)

Four model homes at Tartan Homes’ Poole Creek development in Stittsville will be transformed into art galleries, bakeries, interior décor studios and chefs’ kitchens in a series of free events in support of families battling the opioid crisis.

Called Welcome to Our Home, the project kicks off with a vernissage on October 26th, featuring prominent local artists Andrew King, Lise Butters, Sandy Sharkey, Sarah Lake, Alison Fowler and Crystal Beshara. A special exhibit of art by local high school students will also be part of the ongoing event, from October 26th to December 2nd.

A free baking-and-tasting demo by The Sweet Room’s pastry chef, Renee Saunders, is planned for November 4th, while Jennifer McGahan Interiors and Sharon Bosley House from Avant Garde Designs will create holiday tablescapes on November 18th.

The project wraps up on December 2nd with “Four Chefs, Four Homes”, in which well-known chefs Michael Blackie (NeXt), Jesse Bell (The Albion Rooms), Josh Gillard (Amuse Kitchen & Wine) and Steven McDonald (Aperitivo) will create holiday hors d’oeuvres for the community – all for free.

“Ever since our company was founded, we’ve taken the words ‘community builder’ seriously. But it’s not enough to just build the bricks and mortar – we must be an active voice in the community, to be good neighbours. And that means opening your doors to your neighbours when they need you,” says Tartan Homes’ co-owner, Bruce Nicols.

“The events that have been unfolding with our youth and the opioid crisis in this part of Ottawa affects every parent. We may not have the answers right now. But encouraging our kids through creativity, and supporting grassroots groups like We the Parents, are the first steps in the journey,” adds Tartan Homes president, Ian Nicol.

We the Parents was founded by Kanata father and businessman Sean O’Leary in response to the opioid addiction crisis that has been unfolding in Kanata-Stittsville and across Ottawa. The non-profit grassroots organization advocates for prevention through education and government engagement, and is creating a family navigation service in support of those needing resources for substance abuse disorders.

All events are free to the community. However, donations to We the Parents can be made at http://wetheparents.ca/donate/ or in person at the Four Chefs, Four Homes event on December 2nd.

For more information, please contact Julie Beun, juliebeun@gmail.com or 613 371 9060. Schedule of events follows.

 

Art at Home!
October 26th to December 2nd

Art is for everyone! Four model homes at Poole Creek will be transformed into art galleries featuring prominent local artists, as well as work by talented high school students. The galleries will remain open to the public until Decemgber 2nd.

Open Monday to Thursday, 1pm to 8pm. Weekends and holidays, 12pm to 5pm.

To find Poole Creek, please visit http://tartanhomes.com/communities/poole-creek/.

All events are free to the community. However, donations to We the Parents can be made at http://wetheparents.ca/donate/ or in person at the Four Chefs, Four Homes event on December 2nd.

 

Baking at Home!
Saturday, November 4th, 11.30am to 1pm

Local pastry chefs will demonstrate easy-to-master, yet impressive dessert decorating techniques. (It’s easier than you think!)

All events are free to the community. However, donations to We the Parents can be made at http://wetheparents.ca/donate/ or in person at the Four Chefs, Four Homes event on December 2nd.

 

Decorating at Home!
Saturday, November 18th, 11.30am to 1pm

How does Martha Stewart make everything look effortlessly gorgeous? Join Jennifer McGahan Interiors in learning how to create incredible tablescapes and front porch décor from local interior designers and florists.

All events are free to the community. However, donations to We the Parents can be made at http://wetheparents.ca/donate/ or in person at the Four Chefs, Four Homes event on December 2nd.

 

 

Four Chefs, Four Homes
Saturday, December 1st, 11.30pm to 1pm

Come nibble holiday treats created just for you by prominent chefs, including Michael Blackie (NeXt), Steven MacDonald (Aperitivo), Josh Gillard (Amuse Kitchen & Wine) and Jesse Bell (The Albion Rooms). Meet the chefs, mingle and learn more about the critical work of We the Parents.

All events are free to the community. However, donations to We the Parents can be made at http://wetheparents.ca/donate/ or in person at the Four Chefs, Four Homes event on December 2nd.

 

About Poole Creek, Stittsville

Located in Stittsville, Poole Creek is home to 450 families. Surrounded by green space, yet central to a vast array of shops, restaurants, services, schools and parks, Poole Creek is a warm and inviting Tartan Homes neighbourhood.

The free Welcome to Our Home art exhibit will be on display from October 26th to December 2nd. Other free events in the series include Holiday Baking at Home (November 4th); Decorating at Home (November 18th) and Four Chefs, Four Homes (December 2nd).

Hours of operation are Monday to Thursday, 1pm to 8pm. Weekends and holidays, 12pm to 5pm.

To find Poole Creek, please visit http://tartanhomes.com/communities/poole-creek/.


SHARE THIS

COMMENT: Johnwoods closure comes too soon

Closing Johnwoods might make sense years from now when more of Stittsville’s planned road and transit infrastructure is in place, but it doesn’t make sense now.

I made this video in May 2016 ahead of a public information meeting hosted by the City to explain what’s going on.  Watch this: Continue reading


SHARE THIS

NOTEBOOK: Clearing begins on CRT lands & Shea Woods

We knew it was inevitable but it was still a shock this weekend to see the trees already coming down along the edge of the Shea Woods.

A strip of cedar trees and brush along the east side of the forest has been cut down, and the field to the east is being cleared and is surrounded by construction fencing.

Continue reading


SHARE THIS

North section of Johnwoods permanently closes on November 15

Councillor Shad Qadri shared an update about the closure of the north end of Johnwoods on his web site earlier today.   The plan is to turn that section of road into a linear park with a recreation path running north-south, and re-route traffic via Rosehill and Santolina to-and-from Maple Grove.

Here’s how the City explains it: “This work must be completed to satisfy a condition in Mattamy Homes’ Fairwinds West subdivision agreement. The idea to downgrade Johnwoods Street from a major road to a local street has long been supported in several Council-approved documents like the Official Plan, Transportation Master Plan, Kanata West Concept Plan, Cycling Plan, and Pedestrian Plan.
Historically, Johnwoods Street has experienced issues with cut-through traffic as population growth has outpaced the development of the arterial road network in the community. The construction of the Huntmar Drive extension and the Hazeldean Road widening have helped to alleviate some of these concerns. The partial closure of Johnwoods Street will further improve the situation.”

Despite all those council-approved documents, news of the closure will likely surprise many residents in the area, particularly in the Bryanston Gate and Fairwinds neighbourhoods.  It was a surprise to many of the 100 people who showed up at a raucous meeting in May 2016, after which the City of Ottawa’s planning department apologized for poor communication about the project.

Here’s what’s happening in the next few weeks:

  • Starting around November 8, concrete barriers at Rosehill near Warmstone will be removed, and temporary traffic calming measures will be installed. (Just what those measures are hasn’t been revealed.) Then on November 15, Johnwoods will be closed for construction. Removable bollards and barriers will be in place to stop vehicle traffic.
  • The park will be landscaped with a 3-metre asphalt path, four new benches, post and rail wood fences at the Maple Grove and Rosehill entrances, and small trees and shrubs.  The existing street lights along Johnwoods will be retained for park lighting. A letter to residents says that a future pathway could be built by the City to connect to Bryanston Gate via the pumping station property on Mika.
  • The closure will also result in a change for the 162 bus route.  They’ll travel along Santonlina beween Maple Grove Street and Rosehill Avenue, with two new bus stops on Santolina Street, one close to 151 Santolina Street and the other behind 346 Astelia Crescent.

***

Here’s the update from the councillor’s web site:

Starting on Wednesday, November 15, 2017, Johnwoods Street will be permanently closed to vehicular traffic from Maple Grove Road to Rosehill Avenue and will be rebuilt as a multi-use pathway for pedestrians and cyclists.

This work will add a safe and accessible recreational amenity, more greenspace and direct connections for pedestrians and cyclists in your community. The pathway will also enhance privacy and livability for nearby residents by reducing vehicle traffic noise and headlight glare.

I encourage residents to please review the following documents which have also been mailed to residents in the immediate area.

Johnwoods Closure Notice 2017

Johnwoods Closure Frequently Asked Questions 2017 

Johnwoods Linear Park Design


SHARE THIS

City Council approves two Stittsville zoning amendments

(press release via City of Ottawa)

City Council today approved zoning for three development projects and received the annual reports for By-Law and Regulatory Services and Crime Prevention Ottawa. 

A grocery store, two retail stores and a restaurant could be built at 5960 Fernbank Road, once water services are extended to the currently vacant site. The zoning approved by Council would also permit other commercial and residential uses. Continue reading


SHARE THIS

COMMENT: Committee should have deferred Maple Grove decision

A shout out to CBC for continuing to focus on Stittsville development issues this week. Here’s an excerpt (in red) from an article by Laura Osman published today, along with my comments.  I’ve added some additional context based on my work with the Fairwinds Community Association.

Bottom line: If councillors and city staff really believe in the importance of public engagement, this case illustrates how far they still have to go to ensure transparency and trust in the development process.

***

Residents not allowed to weigh in on big subdivision, councillor says
Councillors approve application to build 945 residential units on Maple Grove Road after decade of holdups
by Laura Osman, CBC Ottawa

A large new subdivision in Stittsville has been approved, despite the fact the last public consultation meeting happened more than a decade ago.

As far as I can tell, the last public consultation for this zoning bylaw amendment was in December 2004, when most of the area was still farmland.

The planning committee approved the rezoning for Richcraft to build 945 residential units on Maple Grove Road.

The last update we heard about the project was in December 2013, when a plan of subdivision was submitted for around 800 residential units.

The development has been in the works since early 2004 but was held up by an appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board. Richcraft then filed an appeal against the city because it’s taken so long for the city to make a decision.

Coun. Shad Qadri asked the committee to hold off on the decision on behalf of the neighbouring Fairwinds community, which didn’t exist when the initial public consultations were done.

“The area now didn’t really have the opportunity to put their comments in,” Qadri said, adding that planning documents were also not posted online.

Qadri lost the vote seven to one.

Usually when there’s a zoning bylaw amendment in front of Planning Committee, it’s easy to search the city’s web site to find background documents like planning rationale, transportation plans, environmental studies, etc.  We couldn’t find anything on the city’s DevApp web site, or on the councillor’s web site, or even on alternate sources like ottwatch.ca.

The Fairwinds Community Association asked Councillor Qadri to put forward a motion to defer a decision on the file until next month’s planning committee, to at least give residents time to access and review the documents.

Planning committee chair Jan Harder said the public had the opportunity to be heard at Tuesday’s meeting.

The committee received two written statements responding to the report that was tabled last week.

They would have received more than two written statements if there was a more proactive effort to alert residents about it. I stumbled upon it last week when I was reading the agenda. I doubt that many of my neighbours make a routine of reading the weekly agenda updates!  Besides that, how can we provide proper comments without the full information to work from?

(I would have loved to attend today’s meeting, but work commitments kept me from taking the morning off work to trek downtown.)

If the committee held off on making a decision, the developer would simply withdraw the zoning application and go through the OMB instead, Harder said.

“And then we’ll have a made-in-Toronto decision that may not be that great,” said Coun. Rick Chiarreli.

Chiarelli didn’t want the decision to be made by the OMB because there’s no way to appeal it, he said.

The developer has been working toward this subdivision for 13 years, and the city should not be holding up the process any longer, he added, comparing the application to a criminal trial. Serious charges would be dismissed after such a long period without a decision, he said.

I don’t know how accurate this is.  If the threat of an OMB decision is so significant, why did the report from planning staff attached to the agenda not call this out as a potential legal risk?  The document refers to previous OMB hearings but it doesn’t explain the relevant background or approval timelines for this application.  After 13+ years, what’s the rush to get this zoning approval through?  Shovels can’t hit the ground until next year at the earliest.

The proposal includes townhomes, detached houses and low-rise apartment buildings. It also includes some commercial development along the south side of Maple Grove Road, which is currently entirely residential.

During the initial public meeting in 2004 the city received six responses, including concerns about the Carp River restoration project and the timing of the development.

Back in 2004, the Stittsville Village Association did submit comments about transportation impacts. Current president Tanya Hein says that they did receive advance notice of the meeting, but just barely: “By chance, I found out late yesterday that a paper notice dated October 13th was mailed to David Jenkins (a former SVA member). I think he was on record from the original application, before email was the standard means of circulation. That, in itself, might suggest a more modern public consultation is warranted.”

Part of the development is expected to be built on the former floodplain of the Carp River, which is currently under construction to alleviate flood concerns.

The development must still be approved by city council.

The Carp River restoration … commercial development on Hazeldean Road … residential development in Fairwinds and Fernbank … an evolving mass transit plan … pending departure of the Senators… These are just a few examples of major changes in our area since 2004, and reason enough in my view to treat this zoning application with more scrutiny.

***

Another person who sent comments to councillors about the zoning bylaw amendment was Faith Blacquiere, a retired research librarian who reviews planning documents as a hobby.

She submitted nine pages of detailed technical notes to the committee, which are included below. She really gets down in the weeds of the planning process. I haven’t fact-checked the document, nor are all of her concerns necessarily within the scope of this zoning amendment. Still, I believe she’s identified enough inconsistencies and concerns with the published staff report to justify a deferral. Or at the very least, more scrutiny from on the Planning Committee today.


SHARE THIS

CBC: Taxpayers on the hook for an extra $10M to help developers build homes in Kanata

Laura Osman from CBC Ottawa has a story today about increasing costs for the Kanata West pumping station and Carp River Restoration Project. An excerpt:

Taxpayers are on the hook for $10 million more than planned after the cost for two projects to help developers build homes in the city’s west end has shot up in the last decade.

The escalating price tags for the Kanata West sewage pumping station and the Carp River restoration — projects shared between the city and local developers — have received little to no public scrutiny, despite overshooting their original budgets by millions.​

In the case of the pumping station, the cost of the project has ballooned from an estimated $15.95 million in 2012 to $61 million in 2017. The city’s share of that project is about 10 per cent, and has grown to $6 million from $1.6 million.

Continue reading


SHARE THIS

NOTEBOOK: Major Maple Grove development coming to planning committee

This Tuesday, October 24, Ottawa’s Planning Committee will vote on a zoning bylaw amendment that would give the green light for Richcraft to proceed with a massive residential development on Maple Grove Road, just east of the Fairwinds neighbourhood.

You would be forgiven for thinking this latest zoning proposal came out of nowhere, even though this development has been going through the approval process since 2004. Continue reading


SHARE THIS

NOTEBOOK: City moves a step closer to protecting part of Shea Woods

(PHOTO: Mayor Jim Watson and Councillor Shad Qadri joined local residents on Tuesday to announce plans to protect the Shea Woods. Photos by Frank Cianciullo.)

The City of Ottawa hosted a media event today to announce a $1.5-million agreement to conserve part of the Shea Woods, a cedar forest located southeast of Holy Spirit Church and a popular spot for dog walkers.

The forest is currently owned by CRT Developments, who are planning a housing development in the area.  A City of Ottawa press release (included below) outlines how the City intends to protected the forested area. Continue reading


SHARE THIS

Committee of Adjustment considers two Stittsville applications on October 18

The City of Ottawa’s Committee of Adjustment will consider two applications for properties in Stittsville when it meets on October 18.

The first is at 6243 Abbott / 34 Manchester: “The Owner wants to demolish the existing detached dwelling and shed and to subdivide its property into two separate parcels of land to create two new residential lots for future development.”  This is a long piece of land that stretches all the way from Abbott to Manchester, with a house fronting Abbott. With this application, the owner wants to split the property in two and have two houses; one facing Abbott and one facing Manchester.

The second application is for the Stittsville Walk (formerly Reverie) development at 1491-1493 Stittsville Main Street, for the townhouse development that’s currently under construction: “The Owner wants to subdivide the property to create twenty-four individual freehold Parcels of Tied Land (POTLs’). Twenty-two of the proposed POTLs will contain townhouse dwellings, one is proposed to contain stacked dwellings which are to be registered as a Standard Condominium in the future, and one is proposed to contain a retail and residential mixed-use development. “

For more information about these applications, visit: http://ottwatch.ca/meetings/meeting/7223


SHARE THIS

Committee approves zoning for housing and commercial developments

(via City of Ottawa)

The City’s Planning Committee today approved commercial and residential zoning amendments in Stittsville.

Once it is confirmed that the existing infrastructure has the capacity to support new development, the Poole Creek Village subdivision could grow by three residential lots. The currently vacant land was previously in a floodplain, where development is not permitted. The Poole Creek floodplain was updated in 2016, making the land available for development. Continue reading


SHARE THIS

Public meeting for future Blackstone development on October 12

There’s a public meeting on October 12  for Mattamy’s proposed plan of subdivision at  5505 Fernbank Road. There’s an open house at 6:30pm followed by a presentation at 7:00pm at the Goulbourn Recreation Complex (Hall A), 1500 Shea Road.  The land includes future phases of the Blackstone development.

The Plan of Subdivision proposes the development of approximately 950 residential units, with 425 detached dwellings, 27 blocks for townhouses, and one block for condominium apartments or stacked units. The subdivision includes lands for an elementary school and a high school. Two 1-hectare parks are proposed as well as pathway blocks to provide connections to the Monahan Drain and throughout the site. More info…


SHARE THIS

New guidelines for planting street trees in subdivisions

(via City of Ottawa)

Ottawa’s new subdivisions may soon have more tree-lined streets, thanks to guidelines received by the City’s Planning Committee today.

The new guidelines offer flexibility to the 2005 Clay Soils Policy when it comes to small and medium-sized trees under certain conditions. With more than half of the vacant land within Ottawa’s urban boundary potentially containing sensitive marine clay soils, this update will increase the number, size and variety of street trees in new subdivisions. Continue reading


SHARE THIS

NOTEBOOK: Mystery blasting could be from nearby quarry

(ABOVE: File photo.)

City staff think they’ve identified the source of some mystery blasting that’s been felt by residents in communities like Jackson Trails, Bryanston Gate and Fairwinds in the north part of Stittsville.

Here’s what one resident posted on August 31: “Was that blasting in the Potter’s Key development that just shook everyone up like mad? There was no warning to the people in the area, none of the ‘warning whistles’ leading up to the blast… and holy cow I am touring my house for damage. That was nuts!” Continue reading


SHARE THIS

NOTEBOOK: Councillor pushes for construction industry watchdog

Kitchissippi Councillor Jeff Leiper wants to establish a watchdog to rein in what he calls “needlessly thoughtless and disrespectful behaviour” on the part of the construction industry, particularly on problematic infill developments.

He wants the Greater Ottawa Home Builders’ Association (GOHBA) to fund an ombudsperson to field complaints and resolve disputes. Here’s part of what he wrote on his web site on the weekend:

One of the greatest frustrations I have as the one looked to most often to sort out disagreements between builders and neighbours is how few tools Councillors and even the City have to deal with the litany of complaints that we hear. Parking, noise, and property standards by-laws can be enforced by the City, but the process is slow, there’s too few resources on the ground, and enforcement is ultimately up to the courts which means the City takes a graduated enforcement approach.

The courts are also the only recourse for neighbours whose property has been damaged by builders. This is an immense frustration. Telling residents to lawyer up when disputes arise over property lines or damage is not why anyone runs for office.

There needs to be a better mechanism to deal with infill issues. Too many problems are dealt with by too many levels of government and agencies.

Infill development in Stittsville may not be as intense as in Kitchissippi but it’s still happening out here. Just about every month at the Committee of Adjustment there’s an application to subdivide a big residential lot in order to squeeze in another house.  That’s only going to accelerate in the coming years.

It’s not just infill that’s a problem either. New housing development generates lots of complaints too: traffic, noise, dirt, blasting, etc.

I’m not sure an ombudsperson is the most effective way to deal with this issue.  He or she might play a useful role in mediation with GOHBA members, but I bet most of the problematic contractors and developers aren’t members of the group.

Still, good on Leiper for at least raising the issue and bringing attention to it. At the very least, it will spur discussion about how to create a fairer and clearer process to react to homeowner concerns. He’s asking residents to share their infill construction horror stories via his web site…

Councillor Jeff Leiper shared this example of this text message exchange: "Recently, a Champlain Park resident, just trying to get through the infill going in next to them, had an exchange with a builder to ask him to move, as previously agreed, the security fence off their property. The exchange by text is a follow-up to a voicemail left by the resident with the builder that was never answered. The exchange is beyond disrespectful, and I think crosses the line into abusiveness. I’ve had enough.
Councillor Jeff Leiper shared this example of a text message exchange between a resident and a builder: “Recently, a Champlain Park resident, just trying to get through the infill going in next to them, had an exchange with a builder to ask him to move, as previously agreed, the security fence off their property. The exchange by text is a follow-up to a voicemail left by the resident with the builder that was never answered. The exchange is beyond disrespectful, and I think crosses the line into abusiveness. I’ve had enough.

SHARE THIS

COMMENT: Welcome to Stittsville, Amazon

(PHOTO: Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle include three “biospheres” filled with plants and endangered species. Photo by brewbooks, used under a Creative Commons license.)

You may have heard this week: Amazon is looking for a major North American city where they can establish a second world headquarters.

Their original campus is in Seattle, where 40,000 people walk to work every day. They’ve launched an RFP process, inviting cities across North America to make a pitch to become a new home for Amazon. Continue reading


SHARE THIS