On April 5th, the Urban Design Review Panel of Ottawa held a meeting in which they discussed four development proposals — one of those proposals was to address the planned development by Huntington Properties located at 1531 Stittsville Main and Orville Streets.
The Urban Design Review Panel (UDRP) is an independent panel of volunteer professionals who give an objective review on development projects throughout the City’s Design Priority Areas (DPAs). The Panel provides advice and input on many different projects. The criteria used for the review process can be found here.
Stream Shen (City of Ottawa Planner) gave a brief presentation on the application’s background. He requested that the Panel respond to questions regarding the building’s size; the front façade in relation to current 2 and 3 storey structures; the ground floor full-length windows; and how these features will fit into the existing Main Street environment.
At the April meeting, the Panel appreciated the design and commended Ryan Koolwine, the architect hired by Huntington Properties, on his sophisticated work. Nevertheless, the Panel had to address the recommendations they discussed last fall and the work that Huntington Properties could do to construct a building more receptive to the street environment.
All of the recommendations focused mainly on the scale of the building and how Huntington Properties could change certain details to give it less of an intrusive feel – a concern expressed because of its location in Stittsville’s core. In the initial review held last fall, the Panel were of the opinion that if the front façade of the building was altered to make it appear as three different buildings, this may resolve the immense feel of the structure.
However, the Panel suggested that the small distinction that Huntington has applied — to have the building appear as three separate structures — should be more pronounced. The Panel asked the developers to use different materials from those already used for each section. It was also suggested that the soffit width on the fourth floor be adjusted to a smaller size and that the building be positioned differently (set-back) to suit the street. There was also a discussion about the balconies on the fourth floor. And, although the panel valued the design, they believed that implementing some small details — shape of the windows, fourth floor soffit size, and the materials used on the façade — could make the building better suited for the look of Stittsville Main Street.
The comments made by UDRP variably agree with the concerns expressed by the Stittsville Village Association (SVA) members at their March meeting. At this meeting, Alan Whitten, President of Huntington Properties, presented the development proposal to the SVA and the members expressed strong concern about retaining the ‘heritage’ feel of Main Street.
We’ll have to see how Huntington adapts their plan in keeping with UDRP’s comments, the SVA concerns and the Community Design Plan for development located in Stittsville’s core.
On May 23rd, Huntington Properties will seek the approval of their site plan application and zoning bylaw amendment at the City’s Planning Committee.
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