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21 Withrow Avenue, Kilmorie House - Community levy vote

Project Status: 
Underway

Overview

On February 12, 2020, City Council approved a community-wide vote to determine support for a potential special area levy to purchase 21 Withrow Avenue – Kilmorie House.

Voting will take place from February 24, 2020 and until March 13, 2020 at 4 p.m. Property owners in the catchment area will receive an information package from the City of Ottawa that contains background information, information on how to vote, a ballot and a prepaid return envelope in the mail.

More information regarding the special area levy and the voting process is included below.

Background Information

21 Withrow Avenue is located in the City View neighbourhood. The existing detached dwelling on the subject property, sometimes known as Kilmorie House, dates back to the 1840s. The City designated the structure under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act on May 11, 2016.

On November 27, 2019, City Council approved the development of 21 Withrow Avenue. The developer, Theberge Homes, has been granted zoning to restore Kilmorie House and build an additional 13 infill homes on the surrounding property.

Following the community’s efforts to preserve the property, the owner stated that if the draft plan of subdivision and zoning by-law were not appealed to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal, he would wait until April 15, 2020 for a decision as to whether the lands would be acquired by the City on behalf of the community. The appeal period for both applications has expired and no appeals have been filed.

The developer has agreed to sell the property for $3.95 million should a special area levy be approved. As there is no intent to expropriate 21 Withrow Avenue, any proposal for a special area levy would need to be based upon the price at which the owner has indicated he is willing to sell the property. In addition to this purchase amount, City staff have identified an additional amount of approximately $750,000 in order to provide for land transfer tax, net H.S.T., and the renovation of Kilmorie House itself, as described below.

Purchasing 21 Withrow Avenue and the Estimated Tax Levy

To comply with the Municipal Act, 2001, the City of Ottawa would have to purchase the property from the owner on behalf of the community after collecting the special area levy. Should 21 Withrow Avenue be acquired by the City, it is proposed that it be operated as a form of community facility with public access to the surrounding grounds. The details of such operations remain to be determined.

The purchase would require funds to be raised from all affected residential and commercial property owners by way of a special area levy. If approved by City Council, the special area levy would be added to annual property tax bills over ten years, beginning in 2021 until 2030. The annual amount of the special area levy is anticipated to be approximately $31.83 per $100,000 of 2019 assessed value or approximately $128.43 per year for the average home in the area.

The special area levy is based on $4.7 million ($3.95 million for the purchase of 21 Withrow Avenue, approximately $150,000 for land transfer tax and net H.S.T., and approximately $600,000 in renovation costs to assist with bringing the structure up to minimum code requirements for public access). As City staff have not been inside the house and a detailed survey of the property has not been conducted, the above noted cash allowances may need to be adjusted.

As there is no City budget available for the operational funding of this facility, an annual operating special area levy will be required and will continue past the 10-year period of acquisition. At this point, City staff cannot specify with certainty what the ongoing operating costs will be. However, based on the experience of Fairfields Heritage House (3080 Richmond Road, Nepean), an operating cost of approximately $150,000 per year may be appropriate. Based on this amount, the operating special area levy will be approximately $7.85 per $100,000 of 2019 assessed value, or approximately $32.65 per year for the average home in the area.

Should the levy values prove to be insufficient or too high, staff will report back to City Council and request that the special area levy be adjusted accordingly.

Ballot Question

The ballot question is: Do you support paying an annual special area levy in order for the City of Ottawa to purchase and operate 21 Withrow Avenue – Kilmorie House on behalf of the community?

Properties subject to the proposed special area levy will receive an information package which includes information on how to vote, one ballot and a prepaid return envelope in the mail.

The Catchment Area and List of Affected Properties

In considering which area of the city would benefit from the acquisition for the property, the City View Community Association has recommended that the catchment area be bound by Woodroffe Avenue, Baseline Road, Merivale Road/Clyde Avenue and the Rail Corridor. The list of affected properties and a map of the catchment area can be found here:

List of Affected Properties - Select 'download' on the right side of the linked page.

Map of the Catchment Area

Voting Information and Process

Ballots can be submitted from February 24, 2020 until March 13, 2020 at 4 p.m.

Property owners or authorized agents have two (2) options to cast their ballot:

  1. Completed ballots can be mailed to the Office of the City Clerk, City of Ottawa, 110 Laurier Ave. W, Ottawa, ON, K1P 1J1 using the prepaid envelope included in their package; or
  2. Completed ballots can be dropped off in person at the James Bartleman Centre (City of Ottawa Archives) located at 100 Tallwood Dr, Nepean, K2G 4R7 from Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Please note that only one (1) ballot per assessed property is permitted.

If a property owner or an authorized agent is casting their ballot during the last week of voting, please consider dropping it off in person to ensure that the ballot is received on time. Ballots received after 4 p.m. on March 13, 2020 will not be accepted.

If you require any assistance with voting, please contact us by email at kilmorielevy@ottawa.ca or by telephone at 613-580-2424 ext. 29817. A staff member from the Office of the City Clerk would be happy to assist you.

Results

The 21 Withrow Avenue, Kilmorie House, community levy consultation is now complete. City staff will report back to the Finance and Economic Development Committee. 

Staff from the Office of the City Clerk have reviewed and counted all submitted ballots. The ballot results are as follows:

YES to the Levy 199
NO to the Levy 1,298
Blank Ballots 7
Spoiled Ballots 12

Ballots will be preserved as records and retained in accordance with the City’s Record Retention and Disposition By-law.

Contact Information

For more information on the Kilmorie House special area levy, please contact us by email at kilmorielevy@ottawa.ca or by telephone at 613-580-2424 ext. 29817.