Good news: The City of Ottawa’s Planning Committee unanimously approved re-zoning for Village Square Park that will allow for a farmers’ market to operate starting this June.
Leading up to the meeting, city staff received 15 comments from the public about the re-zoning, with all in favour except for one. That may not sound like a lot of feedback, but it’s actually quite high for a relatively benign zoning change.
The original rezoning plan excluded the old log barn on the east part of the park, but staff ended up recommending that it be included. That’s good, because the barn is currently zoned “O1 – Open Space” which eliminates just about any possible commercial use you could imagine. Ice cream stand? Not allowed. Bike repair shop? Nope.
Here’s what would be allowed for the building under the new zoning:
“It is proposed to rezone the lands to add an exception to allow one farmers’ market stand. The market stand would be limited to an area of approximately 50 square metres, which is the approximate size of the heritage barn. The effect of the amendment would be to permit a farmer to sell seasonal produce independently, or as part of the Ottawa Farmers’ Market to be operated on Village Square Park. Re-selling of products not produced by the farmer would be prohibited. Construction of a new building or permanent structure in association with the farmers’ market would not be permitted. The amendment would allow storage of materials in the barn, if those materials are associated with the operation of a farmers’ market.”
The staff report noted that some residents raised concerns about parking, but it points out that there are 140 parking spaces within a five minute walk of the park, including a nearby municipal parking lot on the west side of Stittsville Main. That will be plenty for this small market, expected to include only 10-20 vendors.
Walkability is exactly what this market should encourage. Whether people walk to it via the Trans Canada Trail, or whether people park nearby and stop in at nearby shops along the way, this farmers’ market could end up being a small but important piece in the revitalization of Stittsville Main Street.
Next up: the re-zoning goes in front of City Council for final approval. It should pass without any issue.