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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.

Zoning Recommendations – October 2020

Staff have completed zoning recommendations for the Westboro study area. These recommendations are available at the following links:

Zoning Recommendations [ 847 KB ]

Policies and Regulations By Area [ 220 KB ]

The proposed zoning amendment includes a number of proposed regulations intended to permit infill development in a manner that addresses important community characteristics, as noted and expressed throughout the study and by residents during the study’s consultation:

Density – focusing higher density on major streets within the study area including Byron Avenue and Churchill Avenue, and lots in close proximity to those streets, while generally ensuring flexibility in terms of permitted housing types

Rear Yard Treatment – ensures that soft landscaping is provided in rear yards, in order to ensure consistent greenspace and space for existing or new trees

Building Envelope – ensures that the height of buildings is not inconsistent with the existing streetscape context on local streets, while permitting taller low-rise buildings on major streets. In addition, ensures that deep lots do not permit buildings that are significantly larger and deeper than neighbouring lots.

Parking – ensuring that parking, where desired, does not supersede the other necessary functions of an infill development, and does not have an impact on other elements including rear yard greenspace and streetscape character

You are invited to review the zoning recommendations and provide comments by November 5th, 2020.

It is expected that a report with final recommendations will be presented to Planning Committee in December 2020. Pursuant to Section 38 of the Planning Act, and Ontario Regulation 149/20, Interim Control By-law 2018-326 is to be repealed on January 15, 2021, and thus it is expected that a decision be made on the zoning for the study area by Council prior to that date.

It is recognized that a number of issues related to infill in Westboro, as noted throughout the study and by residents. Many such issues have been areas of concern more broadly relating to infill within the City, and as such are being considered through related studies and By-law amendments. A short summary of some of these issues, and their related studies, are as follows:

  • Excessive hard surfacing and/or insufficient greenspace in front yards
    • The Infill By-law Amendments propose to introduce a minimum aggregated landscaped area in front yards, which must be met prior to providing any other features including driveways and permitted projections. This aggregated area must abut the front lot line, such that it can contribute to greenspace on the City Right-of-Way and provide space for front yard or street trees.
  • Driveways in front yards
    • The Infill By-laws set maximum limits on the width of driveways in front yards. There are also restrictions on permitted parking configurations via the requirement for a Streetscape Character Analysis in association with new development.
    • The amendments to these By-laws also set out the requirement that a single width (or double width) driveway is only permitted where that type of driveway is confirmed to be a dominant characteristic through the Streetscape Character Analysis process.
  • Permitted parking configurations
    • This study intends to address permitted parking arrangements involving side and rear yards.
    • The Infill By-law Amendments, through changes to the Streetscape Character Analysis and introduction of a minimum landscaped area, will also impact regulations for permitted parking to ensure that such features are not out of context with the neighbourhood.
  • Tree coverage/tree removal and replacement
    • The Urban Tree By-law Refresh, which was passed by Council this year, includes major revisions to how the City will regulate and maintain the urban tree canopy, particularly in the context of infill and redevelopment.
  • Exterior design of infill buildings (facades, projections, building materials)
    • While certain aspects of exterior design, such as the materiality of buildings, are outside the purview of zoning, the City is in the midst of developing updated Low-Rise Infill Urban Design Guidelines with the intent of addressing the issue of compatibility of design.
  • Waste management of multi-unit buildings
    • The R4 Zoning Review (Phases 1 and 2), while focusing mainly on provisions specific to R4 zones, introduced provisions relating to waste management requirements for multi-unit buildings of a certain size. In particular, it is required for waste management areas to be contained within a building (either the principal building or an accessory building), and there must be a clear path available for waste and recycling containers to be brought to the street.

Prior material, including both discussion papers, as well as the “As We Heard It” reports summarizing public comments throughout the study, are available below.

Discussion Paper 2 – April 2020

The second discussion paper [ 2.97 MB ] aims to set out a vision for the Westboro study area, based on both existing policies as well as the Council-adopted preliminary policy direction for the new Official Plan.

It also sets out a number of potential regulations and zoning standards that can be used to help achieve this vision, and address comments and concerns put forward by residents and the surrounding community.

The comment period on the 2nd Discussion Paper recently completed in June 2020. Staff have provided a summary of the comments received in an As We Heard It Report [ PDF 160 KB ].

Robert Sandercott
Ottawa City Hall
110 Laurier Avenue West, 4th floor
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 1J1

Previous Events and Related Documents

Open House – December 12, 2019

As We Heard It - Open house comments [ 151 KB ]

An open house on this study was held on December 12, 2019 at the Churchill Seniors Centre (345 Richmond Road). The purpose of this open house was to explore and discuss some of the major themes encountered from comments on the study’s initial Discussion Paper, with the goal of developing an overall vision for the residential growth of the Westboro neighbourhood.

Discussion Paper 1 – September-October 2019

Discussion Paper 1 [ 1.60 MB ]

As We Heard It – Discussion Paper 1 Comments [ 1.10 MB ]

The first Discussion Paper for the Westboro Infill Zoning Study focuses on the underlying trends of infill and development within the Westboro study area, as well as trends and data with respect to the existing neighbourhood context. The purpose of this paper is to facilitate discussion about the types of housing that should be permitted in the study area, as well as how to address concerns related to infill development in the neighbourhood.

Timeline

The Interim Control By-law has been extended to October 2020. The timelines for this study have been updated as a result. It is expected that any proposed zoning changes will proceed to Planning Committee prior to the By-law’s repeal.

December 2019
Public meeting and engagement session

Winter to Spring 2020
Review and development of zoning strategy

Summer 2020
Proposed Zoning Amendment circulation, comment period and review by Planning Committee/Council

Fall 2020
Adoption of Zoning Amendment by 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 2020, it is intended for changes to be brought forward to Planning Committee in September, such that they can be adopted by Council prior to the By-law’s expiry.

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