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High-rise urban design guidelines and zoning study

Project Status: 
Completed

Purpose

This research-based study updated the 2009 Urban Design Guidelines for High-Rise Housing and proposes new zoning provisions for high-rise buildings.

The study addresses how high-rise buildings should be designed in locations where they are currently permitted by Council-approved policies and regulations like the Official Plan, Secondary Plans, Zoning By-law, and Community Design Plans.

This study did not consider where high-rise buildings are permitted or how tall these buildings may be.

Timeline

  • February 2018: Circulation of the draft urban design guidelines and zoning provisions for public review and comment
  • May 8 and May 23, 2018: Approval of Urban Design Guidelines for High-Rise Buildings by Planning Committee and City Council
  • September 26 and October 9, 2019: Zoning provisions for high-rise buildings to Planning Committee and City Council

Background

High-rise buildings are defined in the Official Plan and Zoning By-law as buildings that are ten storeys or higher.

The Urban Design Guidelines for High-Rise Housing were originally approved in 2009. A new set of guidelines was developed to reflect current best practices.  The scope of the new guidelines has been expanded to include non-residential high-rise buildings.

Currently, the Zoning By-law does not regulate how high-rise buildings relate to development on adjacent properties. New zoning provisions have been proposed to address design challenges posed by high-rise buildings, such as appropriate separation distances between towers to ensure that light is able to reach the street. The proposed amendments include new general provisions for high-rise buildings, provisions for the Mixed-Use Downtown Zone, and provisions for suburban areas where high-rise buildings are currently permitted.

Draft Zoning Provisions for High-rise Buildings

The draft zoning provisions were received by Planning Committee for information on May 8, 2018. Planning Committee directed staff to resolve appeals of the high-rise building policies in Official Plan amendment 150, and to bring the zoning provisions back to Committee once the appeals have been resolved. The appeals were resolved with the issuance of a decision from the Local Planning Appeals Tribunal on July 18, 2019. Accordingly, the zoning provisions for high-rise buildings will be brought to Planning Committee and Council on September 26 and October 9, 2019 for approval.

New zoning provisions for high-rise buildings are proposed to regulate separation distances between high-rise buildings and to require a minimum lot area for high-rise building development. Three sets of zoning provisions for minimum separation distance and minimum lot area have been developed for different areas of the city: provisions for the MD-Mixed Use Downtown Zone; provisions for high-rise buildings located inside the Greenbelt; and, provisions for high-rise buildings located outside the Greenbelt.

The intent of these provisions is to avoid impacts that can occur when high-rise buildings are built in close proximity to one another or to lot lines, such as reduced access to light and privacy-related issues. The minimum lot areas for high-rise buildings are proposed to ensure that the lot is large enough to accommodate a high-rise development.

To read the report and review the proposed provisions for high-rise buildings, please go to the agenda for the September 26, 2019 meeting of Planning Committee.

Contact

For further information, please contact:

Zoning provisions

Carol Ruddy, Project Lead
Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development
Tel.: 613-580-2424, ext. 28457
Email: carol.ruddy@ottawa.ca

Urban design guidelines (currently in effect)

Randolph Wang, Project Lead
Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development
Tel.: 613-580-2424, ext. 27969
Email: randolph.wang@ottawa.ca