Woodpark Community Association’s
Response to development application for
By-Law and Official Plan Amendment
1047 Richmond RD Comment Period in Progress 2022-02-22
File #: D01-01-22-0001
The pending New Official Plan passed by Council in November of 2021 has Ottawa pinned on the map of North America on its cover. The document clearly roots Ottawa in a geographic place. (Note that the plan still awaits provincial approval). In a different way, Fotenn's document in support of the massive redevelopment of 1047 Richmond RD is an opaque work neither rooted in time or place. Its main priority seems to be focused on responsiveness to profits on behalf of their client Fengate.
The Fotenn development package wants the property to play by the rules for an area they are not in. They cite the rules for development further to the west, but the actual property is NOT situated in the McEwen Ambleside apartment neighbourhood where the rules they are citing do apply.
Fotenn would want you to believe that the City does not follow Provincial Policy Statements and had not undertaken their duty in the study for the Cleary New Orchard Transit Secondary Study (now called the Sherbourne New Orchard Secondary Study), even though this process is less than five years old and is in the pending OP schedule 2A as per all other secondary and transit plans for urban Ottawa.
Fotenn has chosen to pick and choose from planning documents to attempt to present a case for their project in ways that do not tell the complete story, misrepresent existing policy and plans and downplay guidelines to suit their version of the story. For example, they call the secondary plan by its old name and then undermine its value and relevance by referring it as ASP -Area Specific Policy. We can only presume that since they did not participate in the Secondary Plan, they see it as another hurdle to knock down.
The shiny glass tower proposal rising above the light rail station is a harbinger of a future community, one not rooted and complementary in the existing or surrounding communities or reflective of the human scale envisioned in the Secondary Plan. It is shocking that in the entire proposal the consultant did not once refer to Woodpark or Woodroffe North - the adjoining and established communities. It takes a highly skilled google maps user to be able to avoid community names while looking at the area. The Sherbourne Cleary Secondary Plan itself states in the introductory section: “This area includes parts of the following existing mature neighbourhoods: Ambleside, Woodroffe North, Woodpark and Carlingwood". By not mentioning the surrounding communities, it is clear that Fotenn’s proposal attempts to present a story that does not need to consider the needs of and impacts on the adjoining established communities.
The Pending New Official Plan and its Sherbourne New Orchard Secondary Plan
The Official Plan of Ottawa responds to the needs envisaged by the Province where the City will grow over the next 25 years by some nearly 400,000 people. Using nodes and corridors and an ever increasing infill rate the City and the community figured out density numbers to have grown more inwards vs. outward that meet this massive growth challenge.
Nodes and corridors are one of the main techniques used to increase intensification along main streets and also to support active transportation and transit by placing significant housing options beside transit stations -nodes.
Through the planning and design stages for Stage 2LRT, the City’s planning department conducted many studies to support an understanding of the area, the unique challenges and opportunities of each locale and engaged with communities to conduct the study and build a comprehensive PLAN.
These Transit Secondary Studies are a direct response to the abject failure of the former RMOC Transitway and not having lower tier municipalities up-zone lands -intensification adjoining the route. More recently; they are responding to a common sense directive from the Provincial Policy Statement whereby the Province wanted to ensure the largest bang for their transit investment dollar.
Sherbourne New Orchard Secondary Plan is tucked away in schedule 2A with other urban secondary plans of the new Official Plan having been incorporated August 1, 2018 in the existing OP. When this study was undertaken it was known as Cleary New Orchard Transit Secondary Study, but the alignment of the track and station house were moved. The new name better reflects the new station location.
This kilometre and bit stretch along Richmond RD has Byron Linear Park running beside this busy arterial road and envisioned a single load main street with the park to the south and mid-rises along its north side.
The recently completed plan states “The Sherbourne and New Orchard Secondary Plan provides the strategic planning direction to guide future development and redevelopment of lands that are in close proximity to Sherbourne and New Orchard O-Train Stations". It further notes that “Cleary and New Orchard are neighbourhood stations located in established neighbourhoods. They are not key transfer stations. Therefore, the type and scale of development, while needing to be dense, urban and compact, will not be a profile comparable to what may be found at key transfer stations or Mixed-use Centres along the rapid transit lines” From the introduction it envisions “intensification will be compatible and complement adjacent neighbourhoods, with an emphasis on human scale pedestrian interaction to foster and support the Cleary and New Orchard O'Train Stations and the built environment that leads to the stations". Clearly by NOT referring to adjacent communities, Fotenn is attempting to ignore or avoid the question of how this development integrates into adjacent established communities.
As the study was being undertaken, 3 properties were already in the planning approvals phase. These three properties; the Azure at 19stories (176units) ; Homestead phase 2 at 11stories (130units) and the Kristy property at 24stories (235units) were all developed and played by the guidelines. The Kristy site at 24 stories is at the Sherbourne O’Train station area and is considered a mid-rise Transit Oriented Development. Fotenn does not want to follow the rules.
The plan in Schedule 2C created a density distribution map to reflect these guidelines. The subject property of 1047 Richmond Road participated in the process at a separate consultation for commercial property owners and was given as-of-right 20stories / 25 meters through the process. Now they want double!
They claim double is reasonable because they are TOD -Transit Oriented Development, and that they meet the goals of the City’s OP and Provincial Policy Statement. But they want everyone to forget about HOW we get to urbanized growth – which is a much more complex situation.
The secondary plan holds the aspiration of growth while also holding the conflicting notion of how we get growth.
In the new OP the City goes on about 15minute neighbourhoods and human scale. Interesting enough a number of years earlier these principles were put in practise in the Sherbourne New Orchard Plan and this proposal steam rolls over these ideals:
The human scale to the streetscape means that the sun penetrates to the street and it is a pleasant urban experience for pedestrians.
It means the entire north side of Richmond RD from Woodroffe AVE to Sir John A MacDonald is not a glass curtain.
It means that while the City meets density goals in an area, and one block doesn’t have massive density while the next minimal.
The enjoyment of the Byron Linear Park and its horizontal promenading experience is not just to link rail houses but also to have pleasant green space. 40 Story towers dominating the horizon will dramatically interfere with this existing and soon to be refurbished public park amenity.
The secondary study envisioned low and mid-rise buildings framing the park. “Low and Mid rise park framing 2.1.6 The scale and character of existing neighbourhoods will be preserved through appropriate height transitions of new development, with an emphasis on ensuring that new development supports Light Rail Transit over individual automobile transportation". It purposely pushed hi-rise buildings of 30 stories to the apartment neighbourhood just west of the subject property as stated in Section4.1 Built Form Hi-Rise Building.
The Woodpark community directly south of the development wholly recognizes that we are embarking on a new era of mass urbanization. Being in the Inner Urban Transact we know there are very large and demanding corridor density numbers that need to be achieved to support the OP. With currently three properties under construction and a host of applications no extra compensation is needed to induce development in the Carling Richmond Woodroffe Lincoln Fields area. Even with a current O’Train one-year delay RioCan and other developers are preparing to invest in the inner west area of Ottawa. As a community we welcome this new urbanization in ways that support and complement the established communities as laid out in the plans – to a max of 20 stories.
Absurdity of Height
Fotenn as the consultant worked very hard for their client to find a technique to increase height but not pursue the sky; at a 41+story building. They begin by using to its east a 1978 29story “condo in a park” setting of 1025 Richmond RD to show how its height is really in keeping with some existing structures. This angular plane calculation fails to recognize how the two developments have few similarities other than the happenstance of the made up height calculation. The 1047 proposal abuts Richmond RD whereas 1025 has grass beside the sidewalk and manicured landscape around the front of the property. 1025 does not have a podium, so the pedestrian experience is a hit of green grass and nature not glass and cement. The consultants decide by the calculation of angular plane of 40 degrees from 11m high with Richmond RD and Byron Linear Park and moving the rear tower to just the right location they could have an interesting podium with tower complex twice the as-of-right prescribed in the Aug 2018 plan, only 3 1/2 year ago.
If the Linear Park can be included to generate the calculation, then why not the whole of Byron AVE right-of-way, or the centre line of the Sir John A MacDonald. The City park and the station house automatically precluded it from ever being incorporated as function of the Richmond RD right-of-way. Richmond RD will not be incorporating Byron linear park as part of new wider multilane road. Its absurd that new points can be utilized in this self-serving process that cannot be sustained in other manners.
The bigger challenge is that if this site as one of six properties that went through the density distribution schedule along Richmond RD can be DOUBLED. Then what holds back the remaining 5 properties along Richmond Road west of Woodroffe from pursuing the same? Most of these properties suitable for ready redevelopment are held by the Dilawri family and Dilawri Properties. If Fengate gets double then Dilawri gets double and the Community LOSES in enormous ways.
There are a number of properties along Richmond Road west of Woodroffe. Most of these properties suitable for ready redevelopment are held by the Dilawri family and Dilawri Properties. These holdings are outside of the Automative Properties REIT.
The four Dilawri properties in question, Ottawa Honda 955 Richmond RD, Topps Carwash 979 Richmond, Tim Hortons 993 Richmond Rd and Used Ottawa Honda 1075 Richmond RD. Their heights as outlined in Schedule C of the Secondary Plan in order are for 9, 16, 18 and 14; doubling from east to west would make them 18, 32, 36 and 28 – absolutely out of alignment with the existing established community.
Doubling of all height of properties will build the curtain of glass along the north side of Richmond RD and will completely neglect the Official Plan goals of balanced growth and 15minute neighbourhoods and destroy a human scale community. Compounding the issue is the lack of public amenity space as Dovercourt the closest and easier sited recreation centre is bursting at the seams.
It quickly becomes apparent how the curtain of glass along the north side of Richmond RD could occur if the Secondary Plan and its guidance of human scale development are discarded. It should be noted there are lots of development applications in process in the broader area. The pending OP and its goals are in sight and can be achieved with diligence and attention to the secondary plans.
Traffic, Parking and Cycling
A little over a year ago the Woodpark community participated in the review of an application process for a large building at the NW corner of Carling and Woodroffe. That development needed a parking ratio of 75%.
The Transit Oriented Design applied to the 1047 Richmond proposal as defined by the City is very optimistic and readily achievable. The orientation of doors towards pedestrian flow is hardly ground breaking and we suspect many of the guidelines would be readily incorporated by thoughtful planners and architects. Allowing a building with zero parking before Phase 3 of LRT is truly optimistic and unrealistic.
There already exist parking challenges in the McEwen and Ambleside apartment area. New Orchard is often full due to workers from the Long Term Care Home and some of the buildings nearby. Compounding the issue those in the towers or their guests are also looking for parking. Many years ago the Woodpark community worked to get parking restrictions along Byron to limit Richmond RD commercial visitors from parking in the community. We will need the City’s support to systematically control and limit parking in the community either because of O’Train commuters or because of new apartment residences. On Compton AVE for instance already has overnight parking from 945 Richmond RD and during the day workers from the Azure construction. Pedestrians in Woodpark cannot safely walk and navigate the community if the streets are filled with parked cars. Our community should not be a parking lot for other developments.
Prior to the pandemic the traffic on Richmond RD at New Orchard traffic lights were frequently backed up to McEwen during morning rush hour. There is no guarantee that LRT Phase 3 will be built as envisioned to connect south Barrhaven and Kanata. Phase 3 coupled with a link to Gatineau would address regional commuter traffic which usually surrounds the neighbourhoods’ arterial roads. We felt our roads during rush hour were at capacity and the Woodroffe Carling intersection regularly fails. The City has failed to undertake the origin destination study associated with the Transportation Master Plan. This development and the host of others which are to be under TDM-transportation demand management initiatives are going to make it nearly impossible for community members to enter or leave the community during rush hour just to run errands.
The Traffic Impacts Assessments are not worth the paper they are printed on. They are highly speculative, for instance we don’t understand the level of acceptance of riders on the O’Train. We have no appreciation how many government workers will be in office versus tele-commuting or hi-bred model post pandemic? There are no facts to ground this report into the Ottawa experience.
Phase3 of the LRT system does not even have a viable plan/proposal to seek a higher level of government support. After Phase1 their willingness to participate may have drastically changed. KEV in December has already given notice to the City that they are a year behind schedule and that was before this winter’s construction season.
Hope is not a business plan. The communities in this area have asked for help in the past to manage cross commuter traffic from Barrhaven and Kanata as it flows to Gatineau and downtown. Adding to the challenge will be the thousands of new residents - many of which may not be well served with transit due to location or schedule demands and thus will hop into their cars or ride-share.
This site at the top of New Orchard is highly accessible to SJAM cycling network. Ideally many new residents in this and other buildings will be well served by the MUP for recreation and commuting. Many cyclists who commute to work have a bike dedicated to that task but also have a second bike for pleasure or if necessary back up. With 50% bike parking per unit and a number of units having two or more residents, presumably some households will have 4 or more bikes. Many apartment management groups don’t like bikes going through the lobby. More bike capacity is needed.
Adequacy Of Public Service Assessments.
This report goes through the availability of water-including fire, storm water and sewer capacity
Richmond Road Sanitary Sewer Analysis map denotes area A1 under existing situations from Woodroffe AVE to New Orchard AVE N for the north side Richmond Rd. It denotes the current multi-residential units of 412u and commercial. However it does not pick up from the Secondary Study Schedule C the pending development applications for the three sites to the east. It should be noted that Used Ottawa Honda at 1075 Richmond RD as per Map A1 would be labelled MH5 would flow to New Orchard AVE N too. Unfortunately the incremental one off’s of each development impacts the future development, even those that have been given as-of-right.
Some people might have been surprised by Fotenn’s application in support of 1071 Ambleside development application. But with the new OP’s lower parking requirements these types of applications should have been foreseen. This application for 30Story just under 300units is also competing to fill the sewer pipe just north of Richmond RD.
The redevelopment of Lincoln Fields Mall by RioCan of 5 towers over 20stories will compete for space in this same pipe.
The full calculations for all the development applications and coupled with the as-of-right pre-approved and a second calculation with the doubling along Richmond RD needs to occur to ensure that all the developments in the area can be positively supported within the existing services. It’s unfair to think that one group doubles their requirements while removing space to other future as-of-right developments.
The summer afternoon sun is lost to the street from around 3pm onwards and the park at 4pm loses its sun and by 6pm multiple blocks based on doubling the height blocks the sun from the corner of Harcourt to two blocks east to Ancaster growing as far south to Joanne and continues to expand as the sun sets.
We don’t understand how there is no 9am sun in December in Woodpark. The sun is obviously to the south but there is a wide assortment of housing styles and roof lines and variously sized trees. Its very disingenuous to just say there is no winter morning sun because its weak.
Vertical sprawl has a detrimental affect on the surrounding community. In this case the street receives less afternoon sun. As well the super sized height will diminish the comfort people will feel while utilizing the linear park.
There has always been a wind corridor traveling eastbound down Richmond and Byron. Often you can look into Britannia Bay and see storm’s travel down the Ottawa River cross the SJAM and continue on eastbound. The affects of this wind tunnel picked up with the cutting of the trees in the Byron Linear Park in support of Stage 2 LRT. It will take sometime for the plantings to establish in the once cherished park. We would be concerned that with the podium and the three towers these prevailing winds will be more dramatic and detrimental to the surrounding community and the parfter consultation with our community and adjoining neighbourhood, the Woodpark Community Association wants to affirm that:
We support the secondary and official plan developed in consultation with countless residents of Ottawa
We encourage City staff, members of the Planning Committee and City Council to uphold the new Official Plan and associated secondary plans rather engage in one-off developments that damage the vision of the plans, and have negative impacts on existing communities
We support urban growth and densification and developments adjacent to our established neighbourhood of 20 stories or less that integrate and complement the community
We support transit oriented development and the growth of light rail throughout Ottawa in ways that support an integrated and viable transit system that supports the entire City. We believe that development along the light rail line is important – but that development needs to be viable and part of a vision and plan
We are against insincere and incomplete applications for development that attempt to portray development in ways that do not consider adjacent or established communities, that run the risk of overwhelming local services and that are documents of public spin rather than true planning proposals
We are against one-off developments with unintended and negative impacts that don’t consider the vision of local areas
We encourage City staff, Planning Committee and City Council to reject this inappropriate development application as it is not in alignment with the official and secondary plans and would harm adjacent and established communities.
We encourage City staff, Planning Committee and City Council to see this application for what it is – an attempt to spin a development to achieve a private developer’s goal.
We encourage City staff, Planning Committee and City Council to see that this application is about more than a single development, and instead recognize the opportunity to fulfill the vision of the official and secondary plans and to demonstrate and build public trust with our community.