This site uses JavaScript. Please enable JavaScript in your Browser and reload the page to view the full site.

Executive Summary

On May 28, 2008, Council directed staff to initiate the preparation of design guidelines for gateway features. Council directed staff from the Department of Planning, Transit and Environment (PTE) to prepare detailed guidelines and standards pertaining to the design, construction, financial opportunities, and long-term maintenance for future Gateway Features. The guidelines and standards were based upon the fourteen principles detailed in the Phase 1 committee report that was presented to Planning & Environment Committee, Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee and City Council in May of 2008.

Each of these principles was examined with the result being a set of guidelines and standards that City staff can use to regulate the design and implementation of gateway features. A formal hierarchy has been developed and revised from the Phase 1 report. Specific requirements have been prepared for each category (Community, Primary Neighbourhood, Secondary Neighbourhood and Private / Condo) within the hierarchy. It is recommended that the City may assume responsibility for the installation of some Community features and also assume ongoing maintenance. Primary Neighbourhood features capital construction costs will be borne by developers who will also be responsible for initial maintenance until the warranty period closes. The City will be responsible for ongoing maintenance after the release of securities posted by the developer. Secondary Neighbourhood features will be temporary features installed, maintained and ultimately removed by private developers after the individual development is built out and securities required to guarantee removal have been released. Private / Condo features will also be the responsibility of the developers; however, the ultimate maintenance will be taken over by a condo / community association upon the release of securities.

Design of gateway features has been streamlined without affecting opportunities for creativity and aesthetics. Low maintenance materials have been specified while materials that have proven to be less durable have been restricted.

The process has taken into account public and stakeholder input through directed surveys, two Open Houses, Technical Advisory Committee meetings, Councillor input and individual research with City staff.

1. Background

In September of 2007, Stantec Consulting Ltd was retained by the City of Ottawa to evaluate the current maintenance policies and design guidelines for gateway features in residential land development projects. The consultant report provided a comprehensive view of the current situation in conjunction with existing precedents from other municipalities, and input from the local development community in order to provide a starting point for the City to move forward with the assessment of current City practices and policies. As a result of this report Council directed the preparation of guidelines for the design, implementation and maintenance of gateway features, based upon the principles listed below.

Gateways can be thought of as community signatures and their design should somehow reflect elements of local culture, natural landscape, built form or community history. Gateways help to clearly define community boundaries. Gateway features are typically thought of as some form of structure (not necessarily man-made) which may incorporate text or a logo and integrated with landscaping. Materials can range from natural stone to concrete or brick products.

In May 2008, Council directed staff from the Department of Planning, Transit and Environment (PTE) to prepare detailed guidelines and standards pertaining to the design, construction, financial opportunities, and long term maintenance for future Gateway Features, based upon the principles detailed in the Phase 1 committee report. See Volume 2, Appendix ‘A’ for the staff report and Council motions.

The direction for the creation of guidelines and standards was outlined in the May, 2008 staff report and was based on the following principles, which are referred to throughout this document.

Council Directed Principles:

Principle #1 Gateways shall be designed to limit financial burden to the City or private landowners
Principle #2 Gateways shall be designed for longevity and low maintenance
Principle #3 Gateways shall be placed in such a way as to eliminate conflicts with utilities or snow storage
Principle #4 Gateways shall be designed and located in the safest possible manner
Principle #5 Gateways shall be aesthetically pleasing
Principle #6 Gateways shall be integrated with community and its surroundings
Principle #7 Gateways shall be maintained by developers through a warrantee period
Principle #8 Gateways shall be certified by a qualified professional prior to acceptance by the City
Principle #9 Proliferation of Gateways on public property shall be discouraged and limited
Principle #10 Contributions to a life cycling fund shall be made by developers who wish to locate Gateways on Public Property
Principle #11 Gateway on-going maintenance and life cycling costs shall be monitored annually and budgeted accordingly
Principle #12 Gateways shall be clearly defined, with an established hierarchy and shall be planned for integration with the community
Principle #13 Consultation should occur with a broad range of external stakeholder groups in the development of the guidelines including community groups, Business Improvement Associations, etc.
Principle #14 Guidelines shall be developed so as to streamline and harmonize existing policies.

In addition, as a separate assignment, Council directed that Public Works and Services staff complete an assessment survey of existing gateway features so as to determine the appropriate amount of funds required for ongoing maintenance. This inventory details the location and relative condition of features and is intended to provide staff with the necessary information to provide Council with an estimate of the funds required to be included in the 2009 budget for the reinstatement of maintenance of publicly owned Gateway Features. PTE staff was also directed to ensure consultation with the public in the preparation of the guidelines. The City subsequently retained Stantec Consulting Ltd to develop draft Guidelines. In conjunction with Stantec’s work, another consultant was retained by Public Works and Services to prepare an inventory of the existing gateway features and to provide an opinion on the state of repair of these features.

This report builds on the Phase 1 committee report and provides guidelines and standards for the design, implementation, maintenance, funding and replacement of gateway features in the City of Ottawa.

2. Consultation

As per Principle #13 from the Phase 1 committee report (“Consultation should occur with a broad range of external stakeholder groups in the development of the guidelines including community groups, Business Improvement Associations, etc...”) the consultation for this project was broad based and extensive. Consultation was conducted throughout the length of the project from initiation in early June 2008 up until completion of the draft Phase 2 report in September 2008.

The consultation process began with surveys of Community Associations, City Councillors, developers and City stakeholders. Over 100 surveys were sent out to Community Associations (CA) and Business Improvement Associations (BIA) registered with the City of Ottawa. Surveys were also distributed to City Councillors and Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) members (as representatives of stakeholders). The developers were engaged by a Developer Roundtable where a survey was also completed as a group. Two Open Houses (one in the west end and one in the east end) were advertised on City web pages and in local newspapers. The Open Houses made available to the public the current project findings and comments were invited. The Technical Advisory Committee also had periodic meetings throughout the process to provide insight and comments on the consultant’s findings. A local Community Association representative and developer representatives participated on the TAC with the internal stakeholders. Volume 2, Appendix ‘B’ contains a summary of the survey responses received from the various parties.

2.1 Community Association / Business Improvement Association

The Community Associations and Business Improvement Association’s provided a 13 per cent response rate to our survey. The overall impression from these groups was that gateway features were generally attractive but that some could be improved and could be enhanced to reflect the changing nature of some communities. Important aspects of gateway features included visibility, relating to historic events, reflecting the uniqueness of an area, providing a sense of identity and creating a feeling of arrival. The CA / BIA respondents were of the opinion that the number of gateway features should be limited to 4-5 per community and only on major entry roads to the community in order to limit proliferation and limit costs. They also viewed that these features add value to the community by welcoming visitors, providing a sense of belonging and community and by showing that the community cares enough to maintain an attractive feature. The CA / BIA’s observed that these features should be permanently in place but should be adapted to reflect changing neighbourhood characteristics or removed altogether if the change is too drastic. The constraints that were noted related to initial capital costs and maintenance costs, as well as, concerns about utility conflicts. Opportunities noted included developers covering costs in new subdivisions and getting community input prior to granting approval. The CA / BIA’s noted that they could not cover the initial capital cost of these features but would be willing to assist (with funds or labour) with soft landscape maintenance items such as regular pruning and weeding.

2.2 Developers

Seven of the fourteen invited developers attended a Developer Roundtable at the consultant’s offices. The developer views from the roundtable and in-meeting survey was somewhat different from the impressions that were gained in the Phase 1 stage. Developers this time were not as concerned about community level features as they were primary neighbourhood features. They viewed community features as a City responsibility although they did want to reserve the opportunity to provide assistance if a community feature was related directly to one of their projects. The developers preferred to have primary neighbourhood gateway features placed on Major Collectors and Collector roads and they were not opposed to give extra land to provide a wider road right-of-way (ROW) thus keeping the features on public land. If the extra land was not available they would like to install features on private property and they did not seem too concerned about future homeowner issues. The concept of Residents Associations (similar to condo associations) maintaining features was discussed since it has been done in Alberta, but the possibility of something similar working in Ottawa was viewed as unlikely due to the typically smaller sized developments. The developers also expressed some concern over what to do if the gateway feature was included as part of a noise attenuation fence and how this situation would be treated. The developers did not support any type of fund which required contributions for future maintenance. The development community was represented on the TAC committee by two participants. One participant attended meetings and both participants were copied on all TAC document distribution. Volume 2, Appendix ‘E’ contains a summary of the Developer Roundtable meeting minutes and presentations.

2.3 Stakeholders

The stakeholders group, which was made up of City staff and developer representatives on the TAC committee, noted some obstacles in relation to gateway features. The primary obstacle is the budget for maintenance after being turned over to the City, internal administration / resources and supervision / inspection. Clear design requirements were requested and a clear determination of responsibility for maintenance items was also important. A database / inventory of gateway features and guidelines for design were encouraged. This group saw opportunities for attractive features and to have a positive impact on visitors and residents. They did not want features to be solely advertisements for developers, unless the features were removed at the developers cost when the site was built out. They were in favour in having one clear approvals process and maintenance group in the City.

2.4 City Councillors

Councillors also were given the opportunity to input into this report and six responses to our survey were received. Overall Councillors observed that most gateways features were attractive, with some exceptions due to neglected maintenance. They felt that community involvement typically resulted in an improved feature. The Councillors were divided on whether gateway features provided any benefits or value to the community, with some stating that features should not be installed at all, while others contended that they were good for the community since they helped preserve community identity and provided a sense of belonging, pride and ownership. All Councillors agreed that there should be limits on the quantity of features with various suggestions on locations.

Councillors were divided on how long these features should be in place with some recommending removal when marketing need is done and others suggesting rehabilitation based on the community sense of ownership of the feature. When the topic of funding was addressed Councillors preferred that developers primarily fund these features and should contribute to long-term maintenance in some way. Some respondents suggested community groups could assist with maintenance in a small way. Other concerns were the inconsistency of take-over by the homeowner or community association after the area was built out. There is an expectation of a City approval process by homeowners even if the feature has been built on private property. There was still some sentiment that gateways are common to the entire City and should be funded by the City if replacement was required.

2.5 Open Houses

The two Open Houses were held, one in July and one in September. Both were advertised in local newspapers and on the City’s web page. In the end the information gained was no different than the information received in the Community Association and Business Improvement Association surveys. Volume 2, Appendix ‘C’ contains a summary of the Open House attendance and comments received.

2.6 Technical Advisory Committee

The Technical Advisory Committee meetings were very constructive and provided direction throughout the project on internal City procedures, policies, by-laws, issues to address and proposed solutions to the issues. Volume 2, Appendix ‘D’ contains a summary of the TAC meeting minutes and presentations.

3. Principles / Direction

3.1 Hierarchy

The hierarchy (or ranking) of gateway features has been discussed in Phase 1 of this process and has been clarified during our public consultation. According to Principle #12 from the Phase 1 committee report (“Gateways shall be clearly defined, with an established hierarchy and shall be planned for integration with the community”) and this report has built on that principle. During the Phase 1 study several hierarchy levels were proposed ranging from Community to Primary Neighbourhoods and Secondary Neighbourhoods and finally Private / Condo features.

It has become clear that a Community Level Gateway Feature is the highest level possible. These features will typically define a large, easily recognizable community as defined by the City of Ottawa Official Plan. Villages, certain larger growth area communities that have had Community Design Plans prepared and heritage conservation districts are candidates for these signs. Community Design Plans for established areas rather than growth areas such as for specialty street corridors (e.g. Bank Street) are not intended to receive Community gateway features. Some examples of community level features include Kanata, the Village of Richmond, or Stittsville. These features would typically be installed on arterial road right of ways and be maintained by the City of Ottawa.

The Primary Neighbourhood features are typically installed within the larger communities and in the past have been defined by large tracts of developer owned land. This means that the larger the developer (and subsequently larger tract of land) the larger the area that is covered by the Primary Neighbourhood feature. There is typically a theme established by the feature that assists with the initial marketing and future re-sale of the homes in the area. An impression of exclusivity and independence is the goal of many of these features in order to attract home buyers and encourage a sense of community. In the past primary neighbourhood features have been installed in the road ROW under the policies of the former municipalities surrounding Ottawa. Currently in the amalgamated City of Ottawa these features are not permitted in the ROW according to the Tourism and Public Services Signs (TPSS) policy. It is now recommended that Primary Neighbourhood features be installed on the road ROW and that the TPSS policy be amended to permit this.

Smaller developers would like to install gateways features as well but due to land holdings their features are typically found within the larger tract of land bounded or owned by another developer. The smaller developer would like to provide a unique identity to their land and therefore install the Secondary Neighbourhood features. These features will occasionally take on the “theme” of the Neighbourhood feature but may also be completely different in order to be conspicuous when compared with the larger developer’s features. Larger developers also install secondary neighbourhood features in order to differentiate between different phases of their larger holdings. In accordance with Council approved Principle #9 from the Phase 1 committee report (“Proliferation of Gateways on public property shall be discouraged and limited”) the decision has been made to limit the quantity of gateway features. Therefore it is recommended that secondary neighbourhood features be temporary features that would be removed when the development project is fully built out and the marketing asset is not required anymore.

The final level that has been determined is the Private / Condo gateway feature. These features are most like signs and typically will include addresses and contact information. They are installed on private property and typically are maintained by the Condo or Community Association that is affiliated with the site. The design and implementation of private / condo features would also be controlled under the City’s Signs (Permanent Signs on Private Property) By-law No. 2005-439 as amended.

It is recommended that this unofficial hierarchy of gateway features (modified from the Phase 1 report) be adopted since it is recognizable and provides clear distinctions between the levels of features. Volume 2, Appendix ‘F’ contains examples of good and bad gateway features that have been separated into this unofficial hierarchy.

3.2 Location

According to Principle #3 from the Phase 1 committee report (“Gateways shall be placed in such a way as to eliminate conflicts with utilities or snow storage”) location of gateways features is important. The placement should be coordinated with engineering design plans, and more specifically, wherever possible the Composite Utility Plan prepared by the developer’s consultants. Setbacks from roadways and offsets from underground and overhead utilities when a feature is proposed for public land shall conform to the City’s Signs on City Road By-law No 2003-520 as amended and Encroachments on City Highways By-law No. 2003-446 as amended. When a feature is proposed for private land it shall conform to the City’s Signs (Permanent Signs on Private Property) By-law No. 2005-439 as amended. See Volume 2, Appendix ‘G’ for details on City Policies and By-laws.

Table 1.0 Location of Gateways Features
Hierarchy Level Description Location
Community Permanent Located on the right of way of arterial roads. This can include medians, roundabouts or intersections.
Primary Neighbourhood Permanent Located on the right of way of major collector road intersections or at the intersection of major collectors and arterial roads. This can include medians, roundabouts or intersections.
Secondary Neighbourhood Temporary Located on private property at the intersection of collector road intersections or at the intersection of collectors and major collector roads.

3.3 Design

The design of gateways features is intended to provide interesting, unique, attractive and long-lasting features that enhance the surrounding landscape while still being distinct enough to provide wayfinding and identity to the designated area. The following Council approved principles from the Phase 1 report have guided the preparation of design guidelines and standards for Phase 2.

Problems with painted wood sign, no coping to protect brick wall, unruly plant material and lack of maintenance.

Problems with painted wood sign, no coping to protect brick wall, unruly plant material and lack of maintenance. City of Ottawa, Stittsville Main Street & Wintergreen Dr.

  • Principle #2 Gateways shall be designed for longevity and low maintenance
  • Principle #4 Gateways shall be designed and located in the safest possible manner
  • Principle #5 Gateways shall be aesthetically pleasing
  • Principle #6 Gateways shall be integrated with community and its surroundings

It must be emphasized that a gateway feature does not have to be a man-made “sign” or structure with text or a logo in order to succeed but could be entirely made of natural, living materials. Use of landform, berming, native stone and plant material is encouraged. Any proposed feature must also be subjected to technical design reviews in addition to aesthetic design reviews to ensure that they are designed appropriately and safely. Safety shall be addressed by using appropriate materials that will not deteriorate or become a hazard and by locating features in areas that do not obstruct traffic visibility or pedestrian movement. The height of structures shall also be regulated to add to a safer pedestrian environment.

Example of gateway feature without built structure.

Example of gateway feature without built structure. City of Ottawa, Portobello Blvd and Valin Street

Materials that would deteriorate quickly or require periodic maintenance to preserve the initial look of the feature should not be used on gateway features. Examples of materials that should not be approved would include painted wood, clay brick, painted metal fences / logos / plaques, extensive mulch beds that become weed-filled and plant material that requires frequent pruning. Longer lasting materials such as natural (or manufactured) stone, native plant material that doesn’t require pruning, planting beds that do not require extensive weeding, galvanized metal, concrete wall products or poured in place concrete would be recommended for future gateway feature projects. Concrete or stone structures must be properly “capped” to avoid moisture infiltration into the structure.

Construction techniques and design plans must be certified at the design, installation and end of warranty stages to ensure compliance with all safety and materials codes. Certified professionals in design and engineering are required to prepare the design plans. It is recommended that all stone products (natural or engineered) must be properly designed and installed to reduce deterioration due to water infiltration into the mortar or behind the stones.

Example of gateway feature without proper construction techniques to protect stone from moisture.

Example of gateway feature without proper construction techniques to protect stone from moisture. City of Ottawa, Greenbank and Wessex

The size of features must also be in scale with their surroundings and integrated into the architectural style of the adjacent areas. The feature should not obscure traffic signs and must be situated out of the sidelines for the level of road that is adjacent to the feature. Natural features (i.e. trees) should not obscure buildings and therefore create unsafe areas for illegal activities. Each feature in the proposed hierarchy shall have a maximum and minimum size that is recommended. Safety and aesthetics are also important when choosing the text style and font for a built feature. The guidelines discourage the use of brush or script type fonts that are difficult to read at long distances. Lettering should be wide enough to be seen in contrast with the background material. Materials that discourage vandalism and / or are easily cleaned are recommended.

3.4 Approvals

The current approval process when gateways are proposed as part of a development project with the City currently has gateway features approved as part of the subdivision or site plan approval process. Sometimes this process requires multiple Departments with multiple groups within the City reviewing the plans depending on where it is located and what it is proposed to say or be constructed of. Without one central group reviewing all applications there is sometimes ambiguity in determining who provides final approval for a gateway feature design.

When gateways are proposed outside of a development project they are subject to various City by-laws depending on whether they are proposed for private property or publicly owned land. When a feature is proposed for public land, it shall conform to the City’s Signs on City Road By-law No 2003-520 as amended and Encroachments on City Highways By-law No. 2003-446 as amended. When a feature is proposed for private land it shall conform to the City’s Signs (Permanent Signs on Private Property) By-law No. 2005-439 as amended.

Example of gateway feature without built structure.

Example of gateway feature without built structure. City of Ottawa, Portobello Blvd and Innes Road

Therefore, in keeping with Principle #14 (“Guidelines shall be developed so as to streamline and harmonize existing policies”) and in order to consolidate the procedures required by the existing bylaws, polices and regulations at the City, it is proposed that any gateway feature design that is proposed as part of a development application be approved by the Director of Planning under the Delegation of Authority Bylaw. City staff, with the approval of Council, shall provide an amendment to the by-law to provide this authority when needed.

Example of entrance feature that is in proper scale with the surrounding area, even though it is a large feature.

Example of entrance feature that is in proper scale with the surrounding area, even though it is a large feature. City of Ottawa, River Road and Rideau Forest Drive

As noted earlier, on public and private land the City has various by-laws which apply. Tourism and Public Service Signs policy (TPSS) section 7.10 and 7.11 from Traffic and Parking Operations must be amended to allow primary neighbourhood gateway features in the ROW while the policy must be clarified to exclude secondary neighbourhood features from the ROW. The Signs on City Road By-law No 2003-520 as amended and Encroachments on City Highways By-law No. 2003-446 as amended will need to be amended to include primary neighbourhood gateway features. In addition secondary neighbourhood features shall become temporary features and shall be referred to in the Signs (Permanent Signs on Private Property) By-law No. 2005-439 as amended. The Signs (Permanent Signs on Private Property) By-law No. 2005-439 as amended may need to be adjusted to include built form gateway features and non-built form (natural) features rather than only signs as currently referred to in the by-law. See Volume 2, Appendix ‘G’ for details on City Policies and By-laws.

In addressing Principle #9 from the Phase 1 committee report (“Proliferation of Gateways on public property shall be discouraged and limited”) it is proposed to limit the quantity of gateway features as shown in Table 2.0. We have used the Riverside South Community Design Plan as a model to produce these recommendations. The numbers would potentially be different for different CDPs due to variety of street patterns and development; however, all of these recommendations are upset limits and would be subject to the Director of Planning Branch’s discretion regarding the final quantity permitted.

Table 2.0 Recommended Quantity of Features
Gateway Feature Hierarchy Maximum No. of Featuresper Community * Maximum No. of Featuresper Hectare (ha)** Description
Community 2 1 / 800 ha Permanent
Primary Neighbourhood 16 1 / 100 ha Permanent
Secondary Neighbourhood See Signs (Permanent Signs on Private Property) By-law 2005-439 as amended See Signs (Permanent Signs on Private Property) By-law 2005-439 as amended Temporary
Private / Condo See Signs (Permanent Signs on Private Property) By-law 2005-439 as amended See Signs (Permanent Signs on Private Property) By-law 2005-439 as amended Permanent / Temporary

* It was determined that a maximum of 2 gateway features per community OR 1 gateway feature per 800 hectares would be permitted, whichever is less.

** It was determined that a maximum of 16 primary neighbourhood features per community OR 1 primary neighbourhood feature per 100 hectares would be permitted, whichever is less.

The actual number of features permitted may be restricted to less than the above at the discretion of the Director of Planning Branch.

According to Principle #8 from the Phase 1 committee report (“Gateways shall be certified by a qualified professional prior to acceptance by the City”). Any proposed feature must be subjected to technical design reviews to ensure that they are designed with safety and longevity in mind. As such, professional certification by a professional engineer shall be required at the design, as-built and end of warranty stages. Certification shall consist of professional “stamping” of design plans at the site / subdivision plan approval stage; approval of as-builts after construction at the reduction of securities stage; and certification at the end of warranty / release of securities prior to acceptance of maintenance by the City. Features must also be aesthetically designed by a design professional certified by the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects (OALA) or the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) in addition to the internal City design reviews.

3.5 Funding

Funding is proposed in a variety of ways depending on where a proposed gateway feature falls within the hierarchy. In keeping with Principle #1 from the Phase 1 committee report (“Gateways shall be designed to limit financial burden to the City or private landowners”) it is recommended to limit the quantity of gateway features for which the City will have responsibility, thus reducing the financial burden. See Table 2.0 Recommended Quantity of Features. Community features may be installed and maintained by the City subject to Council approval of funding. Developers may be involved with this level on occasion but the City shall drive the process at the City’s discretion. Features shall be installed and then maintained through the warranty period by developers when the feature have been installed by developers. The City shall then assume maintenance tasks following acceptance. As per Principle #10 from the Phase 1 committee report (“Contributions to a life cycling fund shall be made by developers who wish to locate Gateways on Public Property”) the developers shall contribute to a Supplementary Maintenance Fund (Table 3.0) on a sliding scale to assist with future maintenance and thus help off-set City costs. It is recommended that the developer contribution be placed in a specific and separate fund for future use. In addition to developer contributions, Public Works and Services staff would recommend funding to be used for long term maintenance and life cycling in annual budgets. The numbers for the developer’s contribution were arrived at by using an economic model used for life cycling buildings. A standard of 2% of the construction cost per annum for an average of 20 years is used for buildings; however, since these features are not as complex as a building we have used a 0.5% standard. For our purposes we have also assumed a 20 year lifespan and a $100,000 structure for our base percentage. For features below $100,000 the percentage has been raised. It is emphasized that the developer contribution is a one-time contribution which is provided prior to the City assuming responsibility for maintenance and release of securities. The developer contribution is not an annual life cycle commitment.

Even with the developers contribution it is recommended to reduce the number of primary neighbourhood features (see Table 2.0) to limit the future costs to the City.

Table 3.0 Supplementary Maintenance Fund Formula
Initial Cost Percentage used to calculate Supplementary Maintenance Fund Amount supplied toSupplementary Maintenance Fund
$250,000 maximum of $25,000 $25,000
$200,000 10% $20,000
$150,000 10% $15,000
$100,000 10% $10,000
$50,000 15% $7,500
$25,000 20% $5,000
$20,000 25% $5,000
$15,000 or less minimum of $5,000 $5,000

It is also recommend that, with the database created from the gateway feature inventory initiated by Public Works & Services, the City perform annual reviews of ongoing maintenance and replacement costs on gateway features in accordance with Principle #11 from the Phase 1 committee report (“Gateway on-going maintenance and life cycling costs shall be monitored annually and budgeted accordingly”). This will assist in establishing accurate current and future budgeting requirements.

4. Recommended Guidelines and Standards

4.1 Community Features

4.1.1 Location

Guidelines
  • Community level features shall be installed on arterial road rights of way at the discretion of the City.
Standards
  • Location shall be determined by the City’s Signs on City Road By-law No 2003-520 as amended, Tourism and Public Service Signs Policy and Encroachments on City Highways By-law No. 2003-446 as amended.
  • Installed on arterial road intersections only.

4.1.2 Design

Guidelines

Materials

  • Items that require re-application or frequent maintenance are not permitted.
  • An emphasis on natural materials (trees, rocks, landform, berming etc….) is encouraged. Vandal resistant materials are also recommended.
  • Ensure plant material is installed to the sides and rear of gateway features to avoid obscuring the feature over time.
  • Certified professionals in design and engineering are required to design and review the plans.
  • It is recommended that all stone products (natural or engineered) must be properly designed and installed to reduce deterioration due to water infiltration into the mortar or behind the stones.
  • Materials shall be long lasting with limited requirement for ongoing maintenance activities.

Size

  • The size of gateway features should be in proportion to the scale of the surrounding landscape and adjacent buildings.
  • Natural features (trees, stones, berming etc…) shall not obscure a majority of the facade of adjacent buildings when they are at mature height / width.
  • Each feature in the proposed hierarchy shall have a maximum and minimum size.
  • The feature should not obscure traffic signs and must not obscure the sightline of a motorist, pedestrian or cyclist.

Legibility

  • The type of font used is the most important factor for legibility. Designers should consult the appropriate federal and provincial legislation for signage legibility.
  • Corporate or marketing text / logos are not permitted. Community logos are permitted at the discretion of the City.
  • The use of brush or script type fonts that are difficult to read at long distances is not permitted.
  • Block style fonts or variations shall be permitted.
  • Lettering should be wide enough to be seen in contrast with the background material
  • Avoid use of shadow lines that may detract from the primary text.
  • Ensure the material that the text / logo is made out of is not highly reflective.
  • Ensure high contrast between the text / logo and background material is achieved.
Standards

Materials that shall not be permitted are:

  • Wood (with or without painting),
  • Mechanical, electrical, lighting or water components,
  • Painted metal fencing,
  • Painted signage (any material),
  • Clay bricks,
  • Plant material and planting beds that require frequent watering, weeding and / or pruning.

Materials that shall be permitted are:

  • Natural stone (must be a dense stone that does not spall, chip or shatter easily),
  • Engineered stone.
    • All stone products (natural or engineered) must be properly installed and “capped” to reduce deterioration due to water infiltration into the mortar or behind the stones. One method of performing this would be to apply copper sheathing over the wall prior to installing the coping or pillar cap.
  • Natural vegetative materials (long lived trees, shrubs that do not require annual pruning, plants with winter interest i.e. conifers). Plant material must be installed to the sides and rear of gateway features to avoid obscuring the feature over time.
  • Landform and berming that provides a unique identity,
  • Galvanized metal elements that have been proven to resist deterioration.
  • Non-painted steel (that will naturally oxidize) is an option but must be approved for aesthetic purposes and must be installed away from salt spray.
  • A built form Community gateway feature must be a maximum of 3.0 metres in height and 10.0 metres in width, subject to other design criteria noted herein.
  • A built form Community gateway feature should be a minimum of 1.0 metres in height and 3.0 metres in width, subject to other design criteria noted herein.
  • Text shall be minimum 300mm height.
  • Community logos shall be a minimum 600mm height and 900mm width.
  • Site lines (i.e. the daylight triangle) as per City of Ottawa Traffic & Parking Operations (TPO) Branch, Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) and Transportation Association of Canada (T.A.C.) guidelines shall be respected and consulted when designing and placing gateway features.
  • The daylight triangle shall be at the size recommended by City standards, MTO requirements and T.A.C standards where applicable. Typically the daylight triangle defines the ROW limits, however, additional land may be added to the ROW by conveyance (without expanding the daylight triangle) if necessary to provide room for a gateway feature.
  • The design shall avoid conflicts with utilities by being prepared in conjunction with the Composite Utility Plan where possible.

4.1.3 Approvals

Guidelines
  • Any gateway feature design that is proposed as part of a development application shall be submitted for review and approval to the Director of Planning under the Delegation of Authority Bylaw.
  • Features must also be aesthetically designed by a design professional, certified by the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects (OALA) or the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) in addition to the internal City design reviews. Design plans must be certified by one of these professionals at the design, installation and end of warranty stages.
  • Construction techniques and design plans must be certified by a professional engineer at the design, installation and end of warranty stages.
Standards
  • An upset limit of two (2) community gateway features per community OR 1 community gateway feature per 800 hectares, whichever is less
  • The actual number of features permitted may be restricted to less than the above at the discretion of the Director of Planning Branch.
  • Developers shall be required to submit cost estimates for construction and maintenance at the time of development application. This will assist in determining quantities for securities and the Supplementary Maintenance Fund.
  • The features shall be warranted for 5 years following build-out of the development.

4.1.4 Funding

Guidelines
  • City may fund installation of community level features subject to Council approved funding.
  • City funds ongoing maintenance.
  • City may form partnerships with developers or community associations but shall retain control of installation / removal / maintenance of gateway features.
  • On occasion the Developer may become involved with the design and construction of these features (at the discretion of the City). If this situation occurs the guidelines and standards for Primary Neighbourhood features shall be followed.
Standards
  • When constructed by developers 100% securities must be posted regardless of hierarchy.

4.2 Primary Neighbourhood Feature

4.2.1 Location

Guidelines
  • Primary Neighbourhood features should be installed on major collector road rights of way and maintained by the City. Expanded ROW shall be provided by conveyance if required by the City.
Standards
  • Location shall be determined by the City’s Signs on City Road By-law No 2003-520 as amended and Encroachments on City Highways By-law No. 2003-446 as amended.
  • These features shall be installed primarily on major collector road intersections, or on occasion the intersection of arterials and major collectors may be permitted.

4.2.2 Design

Guidelines

The design of Primary Neighbourhood features shall be similar to the design of Community level features other than the scale / size of the feature.

Materials

  • Items that require re-application or frequent maintenance are not permitted.
  • An emphasis on natural materials (trees, rocks, landform, berming etc….) is encouraged. Vandal resistant materials are also recommended.
  • Ensure plant material is installed to the sides and rear of gateway features to avoid obscuring the feature over time.
  • Certified professionals in design and engineering are required to design and review the plans.
  • It is recommended that all stone products (natural or engineered) must be properly designed and installed to reduce deterioration due to water infiltration into the mortar or behind the stones.
  • Materials shall be long lasting with limited requirement for ongoing maintenance activities.

Size

  • The size of gateway features should be in proportion to the scale of the surrounding landscape and adjacent buildings.
  • Natural features (trees, stones, berming etc…) shall not obscure a majority of the facade of adjacent buildings when they are at mature height / width.
  • Each feature in the proposed hierarchy shall have a maximum and minimum size.
  • The feature should not obscure traffic signs and must not obscure the sightline of a motorist, pedestrian or cyclist.

Legibility

  • The type of font used is the most important factor for legibility. Designers should consult the appropriate federal and provincial legislation for signage legibility.
  • Corporate or marketing text / logos are not permitted. Community logos are permitted at the discretion of the City.
  • The use of brush or script type fonts that are difficult to read at long distances is not permitted.
  • Block style fonts or variations shall be permitted.
  • Lettering should be wide enough to be seen in contrast with the background material
  • Avoid use of shadow lines that may detract from the primary text.
  • Ensure the material that the text / logo is made out of is not highly reflective.
  • Ensure high contrast between the text / logo and background material is achieved.
Standards

Materials that shall not be permitted are:

  • Wood (with or without painting),
  • Mechanical, electrical, lighting or water components,
  • Painted metal fencing,
  • Painted signage (any material),
  • Clay bricks,
  • Plant material and planting beds that require frequent watering, weeding and / or pruning.

Materials that shall be permitted are:

  • Natural stone (must be a dense stone that does not spall, chip or shatter easily),
  • Engineered stone.
    • All stone products (natural or engineered) must be properly installed to reduce deterioration due to water infiltration into the mortar or behind the stones. One method of performing this would be to apply copper sheathing over the wall prior to installing the coping or pillar cap.
  • Natural vegetative materials (long lived trees, shrubs that do not require annual pruning, plants with winter interest i.e. conifers). Plant material must be installed to the sides and rear of gateway features to avoid obscuring the feature over time.
  • Landform and berming that provides a unique identity,
  • Galvanized metal elements that have been proven to resist deterioration.
  • Non-painted steel (that will naturally oxidize) is an option but must be approved for aesthetic purposes and must be installed away from salt spray.
  • A built form Primary Neighbourhood gateway feature must be a maximum of 2.0 metres in height and 5.0 metres in width, subject to other design criteria noted herein.
  • A built form Primary Neighbourhood gateway feature should be a minimum of 1.0 metres in height and 3.0 metres in width, subject to other design criteria noted herein.
  • Text shall be minimum 200mm height.
  • Community logos shall be a minimum 450mm height and 600mm width.
  • Site lines (i.e. the daylight triangle) as per City of Ottawa Traffic & Parking Operations (TPO) Branch, Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) and Transportation Association of Canada (T.A.C.) guidelines shall be respected and consulted when designing and placing gateway features.
  • The daylight triangle shall be at the size recommended by TPO, MTO and T.A.C. Typically the daylight triangle defines the ROW limits, however, additional land may be added to the ROW by conveyance (without expanding the daylight triangle) if necessary to provide room for a gateway feature.
  • The design shall avoid conflicts with utilities by being prepared in conjunction with the Composite Utility Plan where possible

4.2.3 Approvals

Guidelines
  • Any gateway feature design that is proposed as part of a development application shall be submitted for review to the Director of Planning under the Delegation of Authority Bylaw.
  • Tourism and Public Service Signs Policy (TPSSP) from Traffic and Parking Operations must be amended to allow primary neighbourhood gateway features in the ROW and exclude secondary neighbourhood features from the ROW.
  • Features must also be aesthetically designed by a design professional, certified by the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects (OALA) or the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) in addition to the internal City design reviews. Design plans must be certified by one of these professionals at the design, installation and end of warranty stages.
  • Construction techniques and design plans must be certified by a professional engineer at the design, installation and end of warranty stages.
Standards
  • An upset limit of sixteen (16) primary neighbourhood features per community OR 1 primary neighbourhood feature per 100 hectares, whichever is less.
  • The actual number of features permitted may be restricted to less than the above at the discretion of the Director of Planning Branch.
  • Developers shall be required to submit cost estimates for construction and maintenance at the time of development application. This will assist in determining quantities for securities and the Supplementary Maintenance Fund.
  • The features shall be warranted for 5 years following build-out of the development.

4.2.4 Funding

Guidelines
  • Developers shall fund installation of primary neighbourhood gateway features.
  • Developer shall maintain features during the warranty period, which is 5 years following build-out of the development. Features must receive their final certification prior to take over of maintenance by the City.
  • City shall fund ongoing maintenance supplemented by funds from a developer financed Supplementary Maintenance Fund (SMF).
  • It is recommended that the developer contribution be placed in a specific and separate fund for future use. In addition to developer contributions, City funding would also be used for maintenance and life cycling.
Standards
  • The developer financed Supplementary Maintenance Fund shall be supplied by a variable percentage of the cost of construction of primary neighbourhood features to the City to supplement the City’s ongoing maintenance after taking over the feature. The minimum contribution to the fund shall be $5000 and the maximum shall be $25000. The actual number shall be based on a sliding percentage scale (see Table 2.0) depending on the actual cost of the feature.
  • If the developer does not want to commit to the developer financed Supplementary Maintenance Fund they shall be required to remove the feature at the end of the warranty period.
  • Securities shall be posted at development registration and prior to installation to ensure funds are available for removal, if necessary. The developer financed Supplementary Maintenance Fund contribution, as set out in Table 3.0, shall be paid at registration.
  • At the end of the developer’s warranty period and after the feature has received final certification the securities will be released and the City becomes responsible for ongoing maintenance.

4.3 Secondary Neighbourhood Feature

4.3.1 Location

Guidelines
  • Secondary Neighbourhood features shall be temporary installations on private land and shall be maintained and removed at the developer’s cost.
Standards
  • Location shall be determined by the City’s Signs (Permanent Signs on Private Property) By-law No. 2005-439 as amended.
  • These features shall be installed on private property adjacent to the ROW in the vicinity of collector road intersections or on occasion in the vicinity of collector and major collector intersections.

4.3.2 Design

Guidelines
  • Secondary neighbourhood features are temporary features and therefore may not have as stringent design guidelines as the primary neighbourhood and community features but are subject to the requirements of City by-laws.
  • Wood, metal and painted materials are permitted as long as they meet the requirements of Signs (Permanent Signs on Private Property) By-law 2005-439 as amended. The duration that the feature is anticipated to be in place will influence the durability of the materials used by the developer.
  • Prior to construction technical certification is required if a built structure is proposed.
  • Features may be constructed in similar manner to the primary neighbourhood and community features; however, the developer must still remove the feature when the sign permit is revoked.
Standards
  • Various materials and sizes are permitted as long as they meet the requirements of Signs (Permanent Signs on Private Property) By-law 2005-439 as amended.
  • A Secondary Neighbourhood feature should be smaller than the maximum size of a Primary Neighbourhood feature and must meet all by-law requirements.

4.3.3 Approvals

Guidelines
  • Approval of secondary neighbourhood features shall fall under the City’s policies and bylaws.
  • The size of the features shall conform to the overall size requirement in the Signs (Permanent Signs on Private Property) By-law and shall count towards the total signage area allowed for the development.
Standards
  • Secondary neighbourhood features shall meet the requirements of Signs (Permanent Signs on Private Property) By-law 2005-439 as amended.
  • Securities shall be posted at the design stage and will be released at the end of the permit period when the feature is removed to the City’s satisfaction.

4.3.4 Funding

Guidelines
  • Developers fund installation, maintenance and removal of all secondary neighbourhood gateway features.
  • Securities shall be posted at registration and prior to installation to ensure funds are available to the City for removal, if necessary.
Standards
  • Developer shall maintain features during the period that the development is in progress with annual renewals of the signage permit under the Signs (Permanent Signs on Private Property) By-law 2005-439 as amended.

4.4 Private/Condo Feature

4.4.1 Location

Guidelines
  • Private / Condo features shall be installed on private property.
Standards
  • Location shall be determined by the City’s Signs (Permanent Signs on Private Property) By-law No. 2005-439 as amended.

4.4.2 Design

Guidelines
  • Design of private / condo features shall be governed by these guidelines but shall also fall under the City’s Signs (Permanent Signs on Private Property) By-law 2005-439 as amended. Therefore more text and / or logos are permitted than would be permitted for Community and Primary Neighbourhood features.
  • City shall request design certification through site plan application process to protect private groups. A maintenance clause shall be on the title documents that shall include these features as part of the common elements of the development and therefore maintenance shall be the responsibility of the Condo Association or similar entity.
  • Gateway features for private / condo sites should not be placed on individual homeowners’ lots with the expectation that the owner assumes maintenance responsibilities when the development and warranty are completed.
  • Warning clauses on title shall be prepared to ensure that the Condo / Community Association will assume maintenance responsibilities after the developers warranty has expired and securities have been released.
Standards
  • Various materials and sizes are permitted as long as they meet the requirements of Signs (Permanent Signs on Private Property) By-law 2005-439 as amended.

4.4.3 Approvals

Guidelines
  • Approval of private / condo features shall fall under the existing City’s policies and bylaws.
Standards
  • Private / Condo features shall meet the requirements of Signs (Permanent Signs on Private Property) By-law 2005-439 as amended as amended.
  • The size of the features shall conform to the overall size requirement in the Signs (Permanent Signs on Private Property) By-law 2005-439 as amended.

4.4.4 Funding

Guidelines
  • Developers pay for installation of initial features and maintain during the warranty period, which is 5 years following build-out of the development.
  • Community association, condominium association, tenants in common association, joint use maintenance agreement or similar group take over maintenance and replacement after warranty expires.
Standards
  • Developer shall maintain features during the warranty period under the requirements of the City’s Signs (Permanent Signs on Private Property) By-law 2005-439 as amended.
  • Securities shall be posted at the design stage and will be released when the condo / community association assumes responsibility for the feature.
  • The developer shall be required to maintain securities until a condo / community association is in place.

5. Conclusion

In conclusion, we have addressed the Council directed principles from the Phase 1 committee report and prepared guidelines and standards to allow the City to proceed with the design and implementation of new gateway features. Our consultation occurred with a broad group of stakeholders including the public, City staff, City Councillors, developers and CA’s / BIA’s.

We have limited the financial burden to the City by limiting the proliferation of features and by creating a requirement for a developer funded Supplementary Maintenance Fund. We have limited the financial burden to the private homeowner by making secondary neighbourhood features temporary constructions which will be removed after the development is completed. Gateways have clear guidelines and standards to ensure longevity and reduced maintenance without sacrificing design aesthetics and creativity. The locations of gateway features are specified to avoid conflicts with utilities / snow storage and provide an opportunity to integrate the features with the community and its surroundings. Safety of the public and durability of gateway features has been addressed by requiring design certification, as-built certification and certification at the release of securities prior to acceptance by the City. The existing unofficial hierarchy as adjusted in this report should become an accepted standard and will provide clear direction in the future when defining the status of a gateway feature. The guidelines that have been prepared also streamline the existing policies by placing responsibility for gateway approval for publicly owned features as part of development applications with the Director of Planning Branch under the Delegation of Authority By-law. The existing policies and by-laws will require amendments as outlined in this report to fit in with the hierarchy and naming we have proposed.

This report, in conjunction with the inventory of existing features that Public Works & Services are preparing will provide City staff with the tools to move forward in a positive way to maintain existing features and determine the design of new gateway features.