15. SPARKS street/bank street HERITAGE DISTRICT – SETTLEMENT
That Council support the resolutions of the objections to Heritage By-laws 174-2000 and 175-2000 of the former City of Ottawa based upon the principles outlined in this report.
Recommandation du Comité
Que le Conseil appuie le règlement des oppositions aux règlements 174-2000 et 175-2000 de l’ancienne Ville d’Ottawa, en fonction des principes énoncés dans le présent rapport.
1. Chief Corporate Services Officer's and Deputy City Manager's (Planning and Growth Management) joint report dated 16 March 2006 (ACS2006-CRS-LEG-0004).
That the Local Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee recommend that Planning and Environment Committee recommend to Council that the City support the resolutions of the objections to Heritage By-laws 174-2000 and 175-2000 of the former City of Ottawa based upon the principles outlined in this report.
RECOMMANDATION DU RAPPORT
Que le Comité consultatif sur la conservation de l’architecture locale recommande au Comité de l’urbanisme et de l’environnement recommande au Conseil d’appuyer le règlement des oppositions aux règlements 174-2000 et 175-2000 de l’ancienne Ville d’Ottawa, en fonction des principes énoncés dans le présent rapport.
A heritage conservation district study of the downtown core (Central Area West) was initiated in 1997 following approval of the Study Terms of Reference by Ottawa City Council in 1996. The Study was undertaken in compliance with the policies of the Official Plan of the former City of Ottawa, which were supportive of a heritage district designation for Sparks Street and Bank Street.
The Study Terms of Reference were reviewed by the Centretown Citizen’s Community Association, the Sparks Street Mall Authority, the Bank Street Promenade Business Improvement Area, Heritage Ottawa, the Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Public Works and Government Services Canada and the National Capital Commission, prior to their consideration and approval by the City of Ottawa Local Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee (LACAC), Planning and Economic Development Committee (PEDC) and City Council.
Mark Fram, a heritage consultant from Toronto, was hired to carry out the study in accordance with the City’s selection process.
An evaluation team was established to evaluate the relative heritage significance of buildings in the area in accordance with the City’s approved policy for the evaluation of heritage buildings and areas. This team included the stakeholders noted above, the Ward Councillor, the consultant, staff of the Planning Department and others as noted in the final consultant study. The NCC hosted several of the evaluation team meetings at their headquarters.
Two public meetings were held at the former Ottawa-Carleton Centre (now Ottawa City Hall) during the course of the study. The first meeting, held on March 9, 1998, presented the building research and evaluation, which was carried out as part of the initial phase of the study. The second public meeting, held on September 3, 1998, presented the consultant’s preliminary recommendations including those for heritage conservation district designation. All property owners, residential and commercial tenants, business and community associations within the study area together with the specific stakeholders included in the evaluation phase were invited to these meetings. Newspaper ads promoting these meetings were also placed in the Citizen, Le Droit, Centretown Buzz and Centretown News.
Upon receipt and printing of the final Study by the City, all property owners, as well as residential and commercial tenants in the proposed heritage conservation districts, were notified by letter. Newspaper ads were also placed in the Citizen, Le Droit and Centretown Buzz.
The results of the Study determined that areas on Sparks Street and Bank Street contained a high concentration of architecturally and/or historically significant heritage buildings and were, therefore, worthy of designation under Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act (OHA) as Heritage Conservation Districts (HCDs). These recommendations were included as part of a report to City Council in April 2000. The recommendations for designation of parts of Sparks Street and Bank Street under Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act were endorsed by the Local Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee, Planning and Economic Development Committee and finally Ottawa City Council on May 17, 2000. Two designation by-laws were subsequently passed by the former Ottawa City Council and forwarded to the Ontario Municipal Board for approval. OMB approval is required irrespective of whether or not there are any objections to the designation by-law. Objections were received from a number of property owners and a pre-hearing was held on January 17, 2001 to determine the various issues of the objectors. In accordance with an interim ruling of the OMB chair at that meeting, City Council subsequently approved several large projects on Sparks Street, including the CBC building at 181 Queen and the 131 Queen Street project. Council also approved an application for the Portrait Gallery of Canada at 100 Wellington Street and an office development at 125-127 Bank Street.
Objections to the Heritage By-laws were filed on behalf of several of the property owners in the area. The N.C.C. initially filed an objection, but withdrew it on January 23, 2004. However, until such time as a final Board decision is issued on the Heritage By-laws, any application in the respective districts is subject to the provisions of Part V in the Ontario Heritage Act.
The latter two areas, which are the subject of the designation by-laws, are noted on Annex 2 of the current City of Ottawa Official Plan as approved by Council in May 2003.
At the Ontario Municipal Board pre-hearing, it became apparent that there were two major concerns. For convenience, each of these will be discussed below.
Issue 1 – Heritage Overlay
The owners were concerned that the designation of their lands under Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act would be followed by the imposition of the Heritage Overlay. The Heritage Overlay is contained within the zoning by-law for the former City of Ottawa, sections 14 to 19. The major issue is that it limits any replacement building to the same height, bulk, size, and floor area of the building that it is replacing. In effect, the owners are concerned that the approval of the Heritage Districts would be utilised as justification for the enactment of a zoning amendment imposing the Heritage Overlay with respect to their properties.
Issue 2 – Heritage Expectations
The second major concern stated by the property owners was the expression of the view of uncertainty as to what type of design for redevelopment would be consistent with the Sparks and Bank Heritage Districts. The certainty sought by the owners related to two aspects. The first is that they claimed to need more detail as to what was worthy of protection from a heritage perspective and thus would have to be retained in any redevelopment proposal. Secondly, the owners wanted further details as to the general nature of what forms of redevelopment within the Bank and Sparks Heritage Districts might be acceptable to the City.
The parties to the Ontario Municipal Board proceedings participated in a pre-hearing as well as two subsequent mediation sessions in July 2001 and November 2001. A proposed settlement was reached which is now submitted to Committee and Council for their approval. The actual implementation of portions of the settlement will require an Ontario Municipal Board order. The two key elements to the proposed settlement are set out below.
(a) Contingent Order:
The first key element is that the Board would be asked to issue a contingent order approving the Heritage By-laws. The contingency is that the order will remain conditional until January 1, 2022, unless the following occurs:
Pursuant to the provisions of subsection 87(1) of the Ontario Municipal Board Act, the Board orders that the interim approval granted in [this] order shall be terminated and shall be conclusively deemed never to have been granted upon the happening of the following specified event:
The final enactment by the Council of the City of Ottawa of a zoning by-law, pursuant to the provisions of section 34 of the Planning Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. P.13, amending the zoning of any of the lands, buildings or structures within the Heritage District in such a fashion as to further restrict or remove any development right, including the imposition of a Heritage Overlay, existing at the date of adoption of By-law 174/5-2000.
Despite [this] Order, a zoning amendment removing development rights upon planning principles excluding reliance upon the Heritage Conservation District granted interim approval pursuant to [this] Order shall not terminate the interim approval granted in [this Order].
The above order would not prohibit the City from imposing the Heritage Overlay. However, should the City do so prior to 2022, such an action would vitiate the approval of the Heritage By-laws. Further, the City would be put to the task of defending the heritage designation as well as the heritage overlay at the same time. In addition, the order would also clearly provide that, if a downzoning occurs for reasons unrelated to heritage, the heritage district would remain in place.
(b) Draft Letter:
The second major element of the settlement is a proposal that a letter signed by the Director, Planning and Infrastructure Approvals, be issued to the appellant property owners in the two districts. This letter will serve two purposes. Firstly, by referencing the background report, the letter provides information as to the basis for the historical significance of the buildings in the district. Secondly, it provides staff views as to how any redevelopment of the property should be approached.
The ultimate decision with respect to the approval of a future redevelopment proposal lies with Council, subject to an appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board. However, subject to the site specific case, the participants are prepared to accept the letter as an expression of senior staff opinion which they can take to future Councils or place before the Ontario Municipal Board in the event that they bring forward a development application.
Rationale for Settlement
It is the opinion of staff that the settlement is reasonable under all of the above-noted circumstances. Of primary significance is the fact that it will permit the approval of the Heritage By-laws while avoiding the expense of a full O.M.B. hearing. In addition, it sets forth sound principles for the protection of redevelopment of the buildings of significant heritage value while compromising with respect to those buildings considered to be of lesser value. Finally, this settlement does not prohibit the imposition of a heritage overlay, but rather provides that if such is the intention of the City prior to 2022, then all heritage-related issues would be resolved at one hearing.
As noted in the Background portion of this report, in addition to the Committee meeting where the by-law was recommended to former City of Ottawa Council, two public meetings were held prior to the enactment of the two heritage by-laws. A pre-hearing with the OMB and two subsequent mediation sessions amongst the appellants with the OMB in attendance were also held. Further, as also noted above in the Proposed Settelment, the draft order must be submitted to an open hearing of the Ontario Municipal Board in order to receive the Board’s approval.
If this matter proceeded to a hearing, the City would need to retain the services of Mr. Fram as a witness. Funding for this purpose is available in Acct. 990234 Heritage Study-Central Area West.
Should Planning and Environment Committee and Council approve this report, it will be brought forward by Legal Services to the Ontario Municipal Board for the resumption of the hearing to seek the issuance of the contingent order described herein. Upon issuance of that order, the draft letter will be signed and forwarded by Planning and Growth Management to the property owners or their representatives.