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Monitoring of Infill I and II

Project Status: 

Monitoring of Infill I and II - April 3, 2018

Thursday, November 30, 2017, 12:46 pm
Last updated: 
Monday, June 11, 2018, 10:09 am

Dates & Times

Tuesday, April 3, 2018,
5:30 pm to 8:00 pm


City Hall
Colonel By Room, Second Floor City Hall
110 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, ON

Presentation at 6 p.m.

New Meeting Date

Please note that the Infill public information session, scheduled for Wednesday March 21, has been postponed to Wednesday April 3 to accommodate those who wish to attend.  

Presentation on April 3, 2018 [ 7,275 KB ]

You are invited to attend a meeting with Zoning and Interpretation Staff to learn about the findings of the monitoring exercise and possible changes to the zoning regulations for Monitoring of the Mature Neighbourhoods Zoning Overlay (Infill I) and the Alternative Zoning Provisions in Residential Zones (Infill II). 

Staff has reviewed residential development applications within both the Mature Neighbourhoods Overlay (Wards 14 and 15, and parts of Wards 12, 13 and 17), and within the R1 to R4 Zones in Wards 7 through 18 to determine whether these zoning regulations are effective in ensuring that new development fits in with the land use character of existing communities.  Consideration is also being given to adding the following neighbourhoods to the Overlay: Overbrook, Britannia Village, Manor Park, Lindenlea and Dow’s Lake.

There will be an opportunity for formal comment submissions during the statutory technical and public circulation period this spring.

Questions and Answers from Public Meeting regarding Infill Monitoring

What are the yellow marks on the infill map?
The yellow areas on the map were intended to represent different areas of Schedule 342 that are subject to different height requirements.

Dow’s Lake, Manor Park, Overbrook, Vanier are under consideration for the Infill expansion, when will they be added?
We will look to make the technical changes to the By-Law in early 2019, then will consider what geographic areas of the City would next benefit from inclusion.

Why is it so difficult to enforce rules against illegal front yard parking? The community has noticed a lot of parking on soft landscaping. How do we get action?
Zoning infractions are penalties under the Planning Act, rather than the Provincial Offences Act. Accordingly, we can’t just issue a ticket with a fine, but we must try the cases before a justice of a peace after collecting and presenting evidence. It must go through a legal process. Our legal and By-Law team are working with their provincial counterparts to seek changes to allow more timely processing.

In Heron Park, someone paved over their entire front yard. Was reported to by-law, with clear evidence, but no resolution. Can we be kept in the loop? Updates about what is happening with the file would help.
If a case number was filed, then it can be tracked through Service Ottawa.

How does the Committee of Adjustment make a decision regarding existing average grade when the plans don’t always show elevations?
A grading plan shows the elevations, but is not a requirement for submissions to the Committee of Adjustment.

There’s a problem with rear yards on corner lots, where the “postage stamp” yard closes off the rear yards for neighbours along the street. Can corner rear yards be limited to prevent this?
No, the purpose of the “postage stamp” layout for corner lots was so that they could face both streets.

Is it ok to have a second story front wall that pops out? Shouldn’t that be considered the front wall?
Yes, while there have been some issues with the interpretation of front wall, where the second story pops out further than the remainder of the house, that should be considered the front wall for zoning purposes.

How many applications that were denied by the City were appealed to the OMB?
In the monitoring period 2 applications went to the Ontario Municipal Board. One was denied, the other fell under the transition provisions of the Infill 1 and 2 by-laws.

We should use a Floor Space Index to prevent developments from being built out to the lot lines.
The City has provided, through previous planning exercises (Infill 1 and Infill 2) significant controls for bulk, massing and height of new development and refined the building envelope appropriately in keeping with low-rise neighbourhoods. These revised controls are recent, and have been the subject of multiple hearings before the Ontario Municipal Board. In addition to controls provided by the Mature Neighbourhood Overlay (which affects many of the inner-urban neighbourhoods zoned R4), additional controls regulate required amenity areas, rear-yard setbacks, building height, and allowable projections. The City does not support introduction of further FSI controls in areas zoned R4 as existing controls are in keeping with Official Plan policy.

What happens in an area where the MNO is applied, but there’s already a critical mass of overdeveloped buildings? Does that set the standard that everyone else has to follow along the street?
The By-Law indicates that one must meet the character or do better.

How is the SCA reviewed at the City? And how does the Committee of Adjustment review these? (asked by two different people)
When necessary we will our own review to ensure that the SCA submitted by the applicant’s SCA was accurate and then again to ensure that the submitted site plan matches the character group required by the SCA.

Can Community Associations see the SCAs that are submitted to the City to do their own reviews?
No. the SCA is not a discretionary process, it is part of the as-of-right zoning permissions granted under the zoning by-law. There is not a public consultation process associated with this.

Are we encouraging different kinds of driveway pavings, such as wheel strips or more porous materials?
The Zoning By-Law already allows for these kinds of decisions. Ultimately it is up to the private land owner.

How can we improve soft landscaping to avoid things like woodchips on gravel?
We can’t regulate good taste. Ultimately it is up to the private land owner to decide how best to use their land within the rules. The Zoning By-Law sets out what we consider to be soft or hard landscaping. Generally, we want to see things growing in the front yards.

Can we apply SCAs to non-residential uses, as non-residential uses next to residential uses affect the streetscape?
The SCA process applies to residential zones. Non-residential properties are subject to different policy intents under the Zoning and Official Plan.

How does an area without the overlay apply to get it?
There are criteria, and there must be a demonstrated need that a community is under pressure from infill and intensification, or is likely to experience it soon. The MNO process is meant to facilitate intensification, but does not limit or prevent it in any way. As extension of the overlay is a s.34 Zoning Amendment under the Planning Act, an extension must be supported by a technical evaluation and follow a statutory public consultation process. However, as the overlay imposes new regulations and rules on private land owners, staff are interested in seeing that there is community support and understanding before considering extension.

When will the overlay be extended to areas that have applied for it?
We’re aiming to bring forward technical fixes in early 2019, then would look at other area of the City that may benefit. It has to go through a legislative process, including planning committee and a statutory circulation period.

The committee of Adjustment has been approving applications for lots that are 50x100 without looking at the 4 tests, reducing the rear yard setbacks.
A: We have meetings with the Committee of Adjustment to update them about zoning issues. They are a quasi-judicial body, however, and are independent.

How do we deal with “mushroom houses”, which have projections from the front and back which push the average setback closer to the street and rear lot line?
Setbacks are measured from the walls of the building. Permitted projections are allowed to encroach into these setback areas provided they meet the Zoning By-Law requirements.

How much does it cost the zoning department to process Infills 1 and 2?
These are development processes and are not considered separately in staff time accounting.

How do you identify dominant characteristics?
Follow this link to the guide we distribute to applicants for the Streetscape Character Analysis.

Infill 1 was 3 years ago, Overbrook asked for it 2 years ago, do we really have to wait another year?
We are intending to make technical fixes to the by-law, then will consider further extensions as warranted.

There’s an obvious need for the MNO to be applied, the Community Associations want it, the by-law exists, so why isn’t it so simple?
Extension of the by-law requires a statutory process through the Planning Act. We would like to make sure that there’s community support, that staff has the resources and capacity to process the SCAs that will result, and that the department can handle expanding the mechanism.

Is there any intention by the planning department to create an overlay for LRTs to regulate development near those?
Transit stations are part of a TOD plan, and we will be looking at zoning regarding these stations. Not all areas near transit stations are good fits for the Mature Neighbourhoods Overlay, but we might look at regulating intensification by other means.

Are there contradictions between the R4 Review and the Mature Neighbourhood Overlay?
There is no contradiction between the R4 Review and the Mature Neighbourhood Overlay. They complement each other.

Will we see something for neighbourhoods near LRTS soon? Intensification is already happening and it might be too late soon.
Infill 2 already covers the neighbourhoods that will be within the catchment of phase 1.

What is the point of putting the rear yard setback at 10 when the Committee of Adjustment of will often allow the yards to be put back to 9?
The rear yard setback is not 10. It is a proportional scale that is based on the depth of the lot, and can result in up to 30% of the lot reserved for a rear yard. When a variance is requested to change that, the Committee looks at the surrounding context, which might change what would be appropriate on that property while still achieving the intent. That is within their authority.

How the can the Tree By-law be enforced better?
That is not within the Zoning By-Law authority to regulate.

Were there any quantitative benchmarks that were set out in the 2013 monitoring report?
No, the benchmarks were qualitative.

There’s going to be a zoning review, which might mean that the Committee of Adjustment will take a while to adjust. The Committee relies on comments from staff, but they aren’t always present. Can the department do more to include those comments so that the Community Associations will be better able to make arguments?
We’ve identified that staff need to provide more comment and will try to do so.

Over the last 7 to 10 years, applications for developments in Heron Park have been approved over community objections. There’s been almost no success with the committee of adjustment.
The Committee is bound by the area of authority it has, and cannot comment on areas that are outside of its jurisdiction. This includes internal floor plans and building aesthetics. Staff are aware that these continue to be concerns – the R4 study also considers this.

What happens after the Committee of Adjustment denies an application? Where does it go?
Committee decisions are subject to Appeal, if the applicant so desires. An applicant can also make changes and make a new submission if they so wish.


David Wise
613-580-2424 x13877

Mature Neighbourhoods Overlay and Alternative Provisions in Residential Development Areas

In 2015, Council directed staff was to monitor the zoning regulations created through the Infill I and II Studies that resulted in the Mature Neighbourhoods Overlay By-law 2012-147) and the Infill II Zoning regulations (By-law 2015-228) for a period of two years and consider technical amendments that may be required to ensure the intent of the council direction and OMB settlement is maintained.  Staff are collecting comments and will report back to Planning Committee on the effectiveness of these new rules in ensuring that new residential development fits into its surroundings.  If technical modifications to the Infill 1 and 2 regulations are necessary, a report will be presented to Planning Committee along with recommendations for further action.

The Mature Neighbourhoods Overlay (S. 139-140) of Zoning By-law 2008-250 affects all residential dwellings of four storeys or less in the older neighbourhoods in Wards 14 and 15, and parts of Wards 12, 13 and 17, as shown on the Map.  The rules affect all properties where:

  1. new houses are going to be built;
  2. additions are proposed to existing homes;
  3. new or widened driveways are proposed; or
  4. new parking spaces are being considered on one’s property. 

The purpose of the rules is to recognize the main character and use of lands along a street and ensure that new development fits into the look along that street.  Before you may create a new lot, build a house, put an addition on your home or seek a new or widened driveway, a Streetscape Character Analysis (SCA) must be undertaken that determines the existing dominant character of specific land use attributes that affect the look along your street. The rules deal with the use of lands in the front and corner side yards between a house and the street, and between houses along the street, including the amount of front/corner yard landscaping, the driveway width, and location of parking on the property.  The rules also recognize newer forms of development including corner lots and long semi-detached dwellings, where one dwelling unit is behind the other.    

All lots within the Mature Neighbourhoods Overlay that are zoned R1-R4 are also subject to the Alternative Provisions within the Urban Area introduced under the second phase of the Low-rise Infill Housing Study (Infill II).  Consideration is being given to adding the following neighbourhoods to the Overlay: Overbrook, Britannia Village, Manor Park, Linenlea and part of Dow's Lake that was not included in 2015.

The Infill II Study’s resulting regulations affect all residential properties zoned R1-R4 within the inner and outer urban Wards (wards 7-18) as shown on the Map.  Note that not all lots within the Infill II area are subject to the Mature Neighbourhoods Overlay.  The alternative rules affect:

  • building height;
  • rear and side yard setbacks;
  • projections into the rear and side yard setbacks;
  • projections above the maximum building height;
  • rooftop access and terraces;
  • amenity areas; and
  • specified lot severances. 

The purpose of these rules is to limit building height and mass, consider privacy issues, sun obstruction, loss of permeable surfaces and soft vegetation and allow for new dwellings and additions to existing dwellings that fit into their neighbourhoods in these respects.

It is important to note that some of the recently-built dwellings and additions would have been grandfathered under the Transition Clauses that permit any development application that was deemed complete on the dates of passage of these two by-laws to be approved under the rules that applied before these new regulations were introduced.  The transition period ended for each of the two studies in June and July 2017.

The intent of these two zoning by-laws is to capture what is meant by the term ‘character’ in zoning terms and to mitigate land use impacts that may be experienced when new dwellings and additions are introduced into existing residential neighbourhoods. This does not mean whether the architectural features or building materials are similar to those of neighbouring properties.  In zoning terms, the word ‘character’ may only relate to items that may be regulated under S. 34 of the Planning Act, including such matters as:

  • Types of land uses/developments, such as corner lot and flag lot configurations and the introduction of the long semi-detached dwelling form
  • Incidental uses of the land, particularly in the front and corner side yards and in interior yards, landscaping and amenity area, access and parking
  • Location of buildings, accessory buildings and structures
  • Maximum building height and accessory building and structure heights
  • Minimum lot areas and lot widths
  • Proportion of the land area that a building or structure may occupy, which affects the massing and bulk of these
  • Floor area, including the minimum required habitable floor area on the first floor
  • Spacing, which may be regulated by establishing minimum yard setbacks, minimum amount of lot width required for single, shared or double-wide driveways, and
  • Character, which in addition to the land use factors noted above, is determined further by the look along the street of four land use factors that affect the look between houses and their street lot lines, and between houses on separate lots.  The Streetscape Character Analysis (SCA) is required prior to developing within the Mature Neighbourhoods Overlay.

Tell us what you think!

As part of the monitoring, staff wants to hear from you.  We want to make sure that the regulations are reasonable and allow for new development, while making sure that the new fits in with the existing. 

Please submit your comments to the file lead, Beth Desmarais so they can be considered in the staff recommendation and report to Planning Committee.

For more information

David Wise, M.C.I.P., R.P.P.
Program Manager
Zoning & Interpretation Unit
Economic Development & Long-Range Planning
Tel.: 613-580-2424, ext. 13877

You may be interested in

Mature Neighbourhoods Overlay (S. 139-140)
Mature Neighbourhoods Streetscape Character Analysis
Streetscape Character Analysis (SCA)
Section 34 of the Planning Act

Mature Neighbourhoods and Infill II map