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Westboro Infill Zoning Study

Project Status: 
Underway

Project outcome

The result of the study, with the participation of residents, will be new regulations to guide the introduction of new infill development, including triplex development, and monitor the rate of change resulting from such development, in the Westboro neighbourhood.

Engagement opportunity

A Discussion Paper has been completed in support of this study, summarizing some of the issues that have been encountered with infill development within Westboro. This includes a number of questions for discussion. You are encouraged to provide comments on this issues, as well as any related issues we may have missed, by October 25, 2019.

Opportunities to participate in upcoming open houses and group discussion sessions will be announced soon and will take place after completion of the Discussion Paper comment period.

Contact Robert Sandercott for more information: 613-580-2424, ext. 14270 or robert.sandercott@ottawa.ca.

Timeline

The proposed timelines include, but are not limited to, the following actions:

August 2019 
Discussion Paper circulation and comment period

September 2019
Public meeting and engagement session

Fall 2019 to 2020
Proposed Zoning Amendment circulation and review by Planning Committee/Council

Background

In October of 2018, Council adopted an Interim Control By-law [PDF 656 KB] covering the Westboro neighbourhood to give City staff the chance to study the neighbourhood’s ongoing infill development issues, with a focus on three-unit dwellings (triplexes).

The study area is shown on the map below, and includes:

  • South of Byron Avenue
  • North of Dovercourt Avenue
  • East of Golden Avenue, and
  • West of Tweedsmuir Avenue

Study area map [PDF 441 KB]

Most of the study area is within the R3 – Residential Third Density zone, with most properties within either the R3R or R3S subzone. This zone permits a range of low-rise residential uses, with a triplex being the highest density permitted use. While most R3 zones also permit the development of townhouses, the R3R and R3S subzones prohibit this use.

The City’s Mature Neighbourhoods Overlay (Infill I) regulations, as well as the Infill II regulations, are in effect in this study area, and Westboro as a whole.

FAQs

Why is this study being undertaken?

This study is required by Interim Control By-law 2018-362, which prohibits the development of new three-unit dwellings (triplexes) within the study area. This By-law was enacted in response to growing development pressures within the Westboro neighbourhood, focusing on the primarily residential area located south of Byron Avenue which forms the study area.

Why are three-unit dwellings (triplexes) a concern?

The development of triplexes has, in many cases, taken place on newly-created lots that are smaller in size than what the R3R and R3S zones require for such a use (i.e. a minimum lot width of 12 m and lot area of 360 sq m). Three-unit dwellings in these zones are also permitted a building height limit of 11 metres, which generally equates to a three-storey building, whereas most other dwelling types are permitted an 8 m building height, which is more typically that of a two-storey building.

In some cases, triplexes have been built with basement space which the developer intends to convert into a fourth dwelling unit after-the-fact through a subsequent rezoning. This results in a use (low-rise apartment building) that is not permitted in the current R3 zoning, and is beyond what the present zoning contemplates for the neighbourhood.

It is necessary to consider whether present zoning provisions adequately address the desirable characteristics of the neighbourhood, current development and present housing demand.

Given that the Interim Control By-law focuses mainly on triplexes, could the main issues be solved by prohibiting this use within the neighbourhood?

Much of the impetus behind this study is in response to the issues associated with the recent development of three-unit dwellings within the study area. In many cases, these are developed on newly-created lots that are smaller than the minimum lot sizes presently contemplated by the R3R zoning.

However, it must be recognized that Westboro is a relatively central neighbourhood within the City; this residential area is located close to numerous shops and amenities within walking distance, and also has access to public transit and cycling infrastructure. Staff must also consider the applicable policies of the City’s Official Plan, which contemplate and support intensification within the urban neighbourhoods of the City. A prohibition of three-unit dwellings would not comply with the intent of these policies.

As such, Planning staff are of the opinion that multi-unit dwellings such as three-unit dwellings are an appropriate land use within this area, but more must be done to manage the manner in which multi-unit dwellings occur in the neighbourhood. It is reasonable to expect that, as the City grows and develops, this neighbourhood as a whole will gradually evolve into one that no longer predominantly consists of detached and/or semi-detached homes.

As part of the study, it will be necessary and appropriate to assess how and where within the study area such growth and intensification might be best directed. Consequently, it is reasonable to take measures to ensure that multi-unit developments including triplexes are designed in such a way as to be sensitive to and compatible with their surrounding characteristics. However, Staff are of the opinion that any solution that would result in an overall net downzoning of the entire neighbourhood would not be in keeping with the Official Plan, and would not represent good planning.

How will this affect existing regulations which apply to infill within the neighbourhood?

The City has recently adopted two Infill By-laws, both of which presently apply to the Westboro neighbourhood:

  • Infill I, also known as the Mature Neighbourhoods By-law, introduced the requirement for a Streetscape Character Analysis in support of new residential development. The Mature Neighbourhoods Overlay covers the older central areas of the City, which includes the Westboro neighbourhood in its entirety. The regulations in this By-law pertained to the treatment and use of front yards, including landscaping, driveway access and parking configuration.
  • Infill II, which applies to all residentially-zoned neighbourhoods inside of the Greenbelt, introduced a number of additional regulations pertaining to the permitted height, massing, and rear yard setbacks of buildings.

As part of this study, it is intended that the regulations introduced by these By-laws will continue to apply within the study area and within Westboro as a whole.

With that in mind, the City is presently finishing its monitoring of the Infill regulations and is in the process of proposing amendments to ensure that they are adequately addressing their intent. Any such changes will apply to the entire area affected by the Infill By-laws, including Westboro. 

When will changes to the Zoning By-law be brought forward?

As the Interim Control By-law is presently set to be repealed in October 2019, the goal is to bring proposed zoning changes forward to Planning Committee in early fall of 2019 at the earliest.

However, depending on the progress and direction of public consultation that takes place in response to this study, the City has the authority under the Planning Act to extend this By-law for one additional year, to a maximum of two years. As such, such zoning changes may not occur until 2020.

Contact

For more information with respect to this study, or to be added to our notification list, please contact:

By mail:

Westboro Interim Control By-law Study
c/o Robert Sandercott
Ottawa City Hall
110 Laurier Avenue West, 4th floor
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 1J1

By phone: 613-580-2424, ext. 14270

By fax: 613-580-2459

By email: robert.sandercott@ottawa.ca