Committee of Adjustment Hearing for 429 Ancaster
Thank you Woodparkers for engaging with us on the Minor Variance and Severance Applications before the Committee of Adjustment for the proposed development at 429 Ancaster Ave. It is important that we hear and understand the perspectives of our residents with respect to future developments so that we can represent the community’s interests in the City of Ottawa’s planning process. Our goal is to ensure that Woodpark remains a vibrant, safe and liveable community. We will undoubtedly be addressing more of these types of applications in the future as there are many large and unusually shaped properties in Woodpark that will be prime locations for future developments.
On Oct. 17, 2023 the Committee of Adjustment held hearings about the requested Minor Variance and Severance Applications for the Ancaster Property. I presented what we heard from comments on the Woodpark.ca blog post and from the comments posted on the Woodparkers Facebook page. I also expressed our concern that the City of Ottawa is not investing in the creation of plans to guide development in the communities, such as ours, that will see some of the greatest increases in population density in the City of Ottawa. My written submission, which provided the basis for my presentation in the five minutes allotted to us, is provided below.
The Committee of Adjustment also heard presentations from the Developer and his team, City Planning Staff and three immediate neighbours to the property. The proceedings were broadcast on Youtube and are available at the following link:
429 Ancaster Agenda item starts at 1:02:35
Developers statement at 1:19:01
Woodpark Community Association President at 1:55:34
The decision of the Committee with respect to the Minor Variance and Severance Applications will be made within 10 days of the hearing. The Woodpark Community Association will use this blog to report on the decision when it has been communicated to us.
Woodpark Community Association
My name is Sue Milburn-Hopwood. I am the President of the Woodpark Community Association. Woodpark is a former cottage area just west of the Carlingwood Mall with over 2000 people living in it.
I want to start off by disclosing that the Developer of this project, Michael Brum, lives in Woodpark and is an active member of the Board of our Community Association. He provided a presentation of the proposed development to our May Board meeting, but he has not been involved in the Board’s discussions about the proposal or in shaping the remarks I am making here this afternoon.
With 2 LRT stations being built in the neighbourhood, our community is anticipating significant intensification. There is a strong desire that this intensification be well planned, to ensure that Woodpark remains a safe and liveable community. While we recognize the work underway to develop new bylaws to implement the gentle intensification envisioned in the Official Plan and the More Homes Built Faster Act, we are deeply concerned that the City of Ottawa is not investing in the creation of plans to guide development in the communities, such as ours, that will see some of the greatest increases in population density.
When the Board reviewed the proposal last May, most of the Board Members found the proposal to be an innovative and well thought out approach, providing much needed housing for families. We liked some of the features such as the permeable pavement and the energy efficient design and construction. We liked the fact that the street character would largely be maintained. After our discussion, I sent a letter to the developer indicating that the Board did not have objections to the proposal.
When we received notice that Minor Variance and Severance Applications had been received by the Committee of Adjustments, we asked our community for their views on the proposal. The post on our website was viewed nearly 400 times and about 20 people took the time to provide comments. We also received comments sent directly to the Association’s email address.
Most of the comments recognized that intensification is coming and were supportive of the proposal. Some residents were pleased to see a proposal for smaller homes instead of the large, expensive single family and semi detached homes that have been built in recent years.
There were questions about whether our existing sewer and water infrastructure is sufficient to handle this and the other developments that will follow. The Community Association is aware that there have been concerns about water pressure in the Ancaster Avenue area for years.
Concern was expressed about the loss of green space and drainage area given the footprint of 4 new buildings and common driveway and whether these would cause an increased risk of local flooding.
There were some objections to the front yard parking and the precedent it would set for future developments.
Some residents questioned whether it is realistic to think that families would only have one car. Many of the infills in the surrounding area are demonstrating that this is not the case. The city will need to control parking as the density increases, especially in neighbourhoods such as ours, near LRT stations.
In summary, while some concerns have been expressed, there is general support amongst the Woodpark Community for the proposed development at 429 Ancaster Ave.
The Woodpark Community Association recommends that if the Panel 2 decides to approve the minor variances and severance applications requested, it does so with the following conditions:
That a Storm Water Management Plan be developed and approved by City Planning Staff to ensure that the development does not increase the risk of flooding to nearby properties;
That an assessment of the adequacy of the City’s water supply and sewage system to handle the increased load associated with this development be undertaken and found adequate by City Staff;
The Panel calls upon the City to initiate work to develop a plan for Woodpark in collaboration with residents, to guide future development and address issues such as street parking, road safety, green space, and recreational facilities.
While I am aware of the recommendations of the City planners, I hope that the Committee of Adjustment will give serious consideration to approving the development with the conditions we have requested. Yes, the developer has taken an unusual approach, but this unusual lot, both in size and in shape, calls for an unusual approach. The community is not interested in seeing a large apartment style building on this site, something that might happen if the site is rezoned. The Woodpark Community recognizes that the neighbourhood will change but it wants to ensure that its existing character remains. I believe this proposal will do that.