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Old Ottawa East Secondary Plan

[Amendment 92, September 23, 2011]

10.1 Introduction/Planning Strategy

The Old Ottawa East Secondary Plan is a guide to the long-term design and development of this community taking into consideration land use, urban design, zoning, transportation, existing street conditions, compatibility of new development, and other issues of concern to the local community. The Secondary Plan provides a framework for change that will see this area develop towards the vision that the community desires while meeting the planning objectives of the City’s Official Plan. The unifying vision and underlying objectives set out the policy framework for the specific strategies that focus on land use and building profiles, as well as a greenspace network strategy. This Secondary Plan is to be read and interpreted as City Council’s policy direction for municipal actions, particularly the undertaking of public works and the review of development proposals, zoning changes and Committee of Adjustment applications.

This Secondary Plan provides the legal framework that supports the Old Ottawa East Community Design Plan (CDP), a joint staff-community effort to develop a vision for the community as an attractive and viable place for all to live, work and play. The CDP includes detailed background information on existing conditions and community issues as well as additional guidance for zoning and development.

10.1.1 The Planning Area

The Old Ottawa East Secondary Plan study area is focused on Main Street, which is the primary street that provides services to the community. This street links Smyth Road and Riverside Drive on the south with Colonel By Drive and King Edward Avenue on the north. Also of importance are the intersecting streets, including Hawthorne Avenue to the west, which links the community to the Glebe and Centretown. Lees Avenue, and Greenfield Avenue to the east connect to Highway 417 (Queensway) and the Sandy Hill neighbourhood.

In its first visioning workshop the community expressed a strong desire to extend the area covered by the Plan beyond the boundaries of Main Street to include the whole neighbourhood. The community believes it is on the cusp of a major transition (intensification of the inner-city neighbourhood) and, in order to maintain and build a “distinct, liveable community” (Principle of Ottawa 20/20) the future of the neighbourhood and its main street must be planned together. This direction expanded the planning area to the entire land area between the Rideau Canal and Rideau River, from Sandy Hill on the north to Riverdale on the south

10.1.2 Objectives of the Plan

The goal of this study is to prepare a Secondary Plan focused on Main Street but also responsive to a vision of the Old Ottawa East community as a whole. The Plan shall be based on the Design Objectives and Principles of the Official Plan Section 2.5.1, and shall use the Design Considerations of Annex 3, as well as the “Design Guidelines for Development along Traditional Mainstreets” and “Infill Housing Design Guidelines”.

The Plan is meant to provide a broad and integrated twenty-year vision and guidance for the growth of the area. It shall provide guidelines, boundaries and pathways from which the enabling conditions for sustainable development will emerge, and be of sufficient detail to guide change in both the public and the private realms, as implemented through urban design guidelines and Zoning Bylaw provisions.

The following objectives and deliverables are considered important to the achievement of this goal:

  • A land use plan indicating the location, nature and extent of activity in the area;
  • To express the main themes from the Community Vision in the policy direction of this plan;
  • The identification of areas particularly suited to intensification, and those areas of special importance to the community that should be preserved (heritage, aesthetic or religious importance, etc.);
  • Carry forward the recommendations from the Transportation and Streetscaping Study of 2000 and integrate with pedestrian and bicycle routes.
  • An assessment of sewer and water capacity and storm water management;
  • An urban design strategy including a framework of urban form components, open space, buildings (setbacks, height, bulk, massing) and streetscape;
  • A park and open space plan with consideration to urban natural features;
  • A 3D model and cross-sections showing general building form along the Traditional Mainstreet;

An implementation strategy and resulting zoning by-laws is directed by the following policies.

10. 2 General Land Use and Design Policies

10.2.1 Land Use and Design Policies

  1. Lands designated Traditional Mainstreet, Mixed-use Centre, Mixed-use Medium-Rise, Residential Medium-Rise, Residential Low-Rise, Institutional and Open Space are shown on Schedule A to this Plan.
  2. Notwithstanding the provision for greater building heights set out in the Official Plan, no buildings will be allowed higher than six storeys and 20 metres within the area of this Plan other than the height limits allowed within the precincts referred to in Sections 10,3.4 and 10,3.7 of this Plan.
  3. To reduce the impact on adjacent low-rise residential areas, within the Traditional Mainstreet designation, the City will require building setbacks from both the front and rear property lines and above the fourth floor of all new buildings. The Zoning By-law will establish these setbacks as described in the CDP.
  4. Building heights within the low-rise area will not exceed four storeys. [Amendment #228, LPAT case no PL190376, June 23, 2020]
  5. In order to provide wider and more attractive sidewalks and to encourage pedestrian traffic along Main Street and Hawthorne Street the City will require new buildings to be set back from the street.
  6. When the City undertakes reconstruction of Main Street and Hawthorne Street opportunities will be explored to reduce the width of travelled lanes in the roadway and transfer any excess to the sidewalks.
  7. Streetscape improvements will be provided at the time of road reconstruction to encourage pedestrian use within the intensified Traditional Mainstreet environment.
  8. It is recommended that the segment of Main Street south of Clegg Street be designated as a General Urban Area. This will allow for some residential infill and intensification while maintaining a low-rise form that is compatible with the adjacent neighbourhood.
  9. North of Clegg Street along Main Street development can be accommodated within the building type envisaged in the Official Plan for the Traditional Mainstreet designation as implemented in the TM zoning.
  10. The Traditional Mainstreet (TM) zoning will provide for the minimum density requirements of the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) while ensuring compatibility with the adjacent neighbourhood through setbacks of the building mass at grade and above the 4th floor.
  11. Despite Section 10.2.1., Policies 3 and 10, new development at the properties municipally known as 113 and 115 Echo Drive is permitted a building envelope generally in accordance with the Traditional Mainstreet zone, and the building mass requires a setback above the fifth storey. {Amendment #174, November 25, 2016]

10.2.2 Built Heritage

  1. The properties designated under the Ontario Heritage Act are protected from demolition and incompatible redevelopment. Approval of City Council is required before significant alterations are made to designated properties. City Council approval is also required before a designated property may be demolished. Heritage Grants are available for restoration work.
  2. Design guidelines will be prepared to encourage infill development that is compatible with adjacent buildings. The Design guidelines will offer a means of conserving the cohesiveness of existing streetscape types and discouraging incompatible infill development.
  3. An architectural conservation study will be undertaken with respect to any proposal for redevelopment of a property that is included on the Heritage Reference List as shown on 3.11 Heritage Resource Strategy. The study will determine the suitability of the existing buildings and landscape features for conservation or adaptive reuse as part of any redevelopment proposal. This study will be submitted as part of a Site Plan Control application.

10.2.3 Intensification Target

Consistent with the growth management strategy in the Provincial Policy Statement and the Official Plan, the City will set targets for the intensification of dwellings and jobs within the urban area of the city. The target areas include Traditional Mainstreets and Mixed-use Centres, such as Main Street and Lees Avenue East in Old Ottawa East. The charts below outline the minimum number of new dwelling units and jobs for these areas. They expand on the targets outlined in the Residential Land Strategy for Ottawa 2006-2031 (February, 2009) to include all lands other than Immaculata High School and St. Paul University.

Traditional Mainstreet:

Street (property)

Dwelling Units

Main Street (Clegg Street to Echo Drive)


Hawthorne Avenue


Oblate Lands, Sacre Coeur


Church Properties


Mazenod School



1500 Intensification Target

Mixed Use Centre:

Mixed Use Centre

Dwelling Units


Lees Ave. East



Target Density - 250 people, jobs/gross hectare

10.2.4 Affordable Housing

The shortage of affordable housing is one of the most compelling problems confronting the City. Section of the Official Plan defines affordable housing as housing, either rental or ownership, for which a low or moderate income household pays no more than 30% of its annual income. Section encourages the production of affordable housing in all areas of the City to achieve an annual target of (i) 25% of all new rental housing to be affordable to households up to the 30th income percentile and (ii) 25% of all new ownership housing to be affordable to households up to the 40th income percentile. These policies will be applied to all new housing built annually in Ottawa East to ensure the annual target is being achieved. Any incentives will be tailored to each affordable housing project that is submitted.

10.3 Neighbourhood and Precinct Policies

10.3.1 Hawthorne Avenue- Colonel By Parkway to Main Street

  1. Designate this precinct as a Traditional Mainstreet.
  2. Intensify lots on the north side that back onto the 417 Highway in a mixed-use format. The massing of buildings may allow for the rear wall to provide a sound barrier to the traffic noise.
  3. Develop Ballantyne Park for leisure use and as an ornamental landmark feature at the head of Main Street in association with the Ottawa East Community Centre (former Archville Town Hall) at the northeast corner of Main and Hawthorne.
  4. Develop the south side of this corridor in accordance with the TM zoning. With lot depths ranging from 26 to 30 metres the stepped building envelope massing is important to achieve compatibility with the low-rise residential on Graham Street to the south.
  5. Provide for wider sidewalks to the extent possible to accommodate pedestrian traffic on Hawthorne Avenue.
  6. Priority will be given to burial of overhead wires along this Traditional Mainstreet.
  7. Mark a gateway to the community with a distinctive corner treatment of the buildings at the intersection with Colonel By Drive.
  8. Create a distinctive building corner treatment at the southwest corner of Main and Hawthorne to signify this important landmark location.

10.3.2 Main Street north of the Highway 417 Hwy.

  1. Develop this precinct of the Main Street corridor as a Traditional Mainstreet with the standard building envelope provided by the TM zone.
  2. Limit commercial uses required on the ground floor, to personal-service business, retail store, retail food store and full-service restaurant.
  3. Limit building heights to low-rise within the neighbourhood located north of Highway 417. This will allow for low-rise infill and intensification along arterial streets like Greenfield Avenue.  Create a mixed-use medium-rise edge abutting the Nicholas Street overpass. [Amendment #132, OMB File #PL140185,  March 9, 2015]
  4. Rationalize the width of travelled lanes in the roadway and transfer any excess to the sidewalks as Main Street is reconstructed.
  5. Expand sidewalks within the required building setbacks on private land.
  6. Encourage pedestrian use within this intensified Mainstreet environment by means of streetscape improvements.
  7. Despite Section 10.3.2., Policy 2, the following applies to the properties municipally known as 113 and 115 Echo Drive:
    1. A building may contain only residential uses;
    2. Permitted non-residential uses are limited to personal service business, retail store, retail food store, and full-service restaurant, and such uses are restricted to the ground-floor and basement only;
    3. Notwithstanding Policy (b) above, the following non-residential uses are permitted provided they are entirely contained within a Dwelling Unit:
      1. Artist Studio;
      2. Instructional Facility;’
      3. Medical Facility; and
      4. Office   [Amendment #174, November 25, 2016]

10.3.3 Main Street south of Highway 417 to Springhurst and Immaculata High School

  1. Accommodate a full cross-section of Traditional Mainstreet built form within the deeper lots of this precinct.
  2. Achieve the intensification target while maintaining compatibility with the flanking lots within the adjacent residential neighbourhoods by adhering to the TM zone building envelope.
  3. Maintain the former Archville Town Hall building as the Ottawa East Community Centre, providing a public landmark at the head of the street.
  4. Utilize the compact mixed-use built form of the Traditional Mainstreet as churches in the precinct redevelop over time.
  5. Adapt and reuse the existing school buildings and infill with built form compatible with the contiguous area in the redevelopment of the Ottawa Catholic School Board properties located at 88 Main Street and 20 Graham Street.
  6. Permit and continue to expand on the existing community-serving uses, such as schools, arts and culture venues, recreational facilities, retirement homes and residential dwellings in the redevelopment of the Ottawa Catholic School Board properties.
  7. Improve the public realm, including streetscapes, parks and plazas relative to the potential level of intensification in this precinct of the Traditional Mainstreet.

10.3.4 East side of Main Street Springhurst to Clegg

  1. This precinct has been planned in greater detail due to its potential for redevelopment and the extensive public consultation that ensued as the land owners engaged in the planning process. It extends along Main Street, south of Springhurst, including St. Paul University, the Convent of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart and the property of the Oblate Fathers. It will develop as a Mainstreet with an adjoining mixed-use neighbourhood extending east to the river.
  2. A Demonstration Plan has been prepared for this precinct, which is attached as Appendix 1. The Plan illustrates how these lands could be developed over time in conformity with the community’s vision as set out in Section 1.5 of this CDP. While the land may not develop precisely as illustrated its purpose is to provide guidance for the redevelopment of these lands, establish the basis for the preparation of an implementing Zoning By-law, and ensure consistency with the policy framework that follows.
  3. A holding zone will be applied to the area shown on the Demonstration Plan (Appendix 1) other than St. Paul University. It will be removed when a Site Plan Control application is approved that includes this entire area and fulfils the following conditions:
    1. Stormwater management for the subject lands;
    2. Traffic impact analysis and management plan;
    3. Water and sewer servicing design; and
    4. Parkland and pathway dedication relative to the development of the subject site.
  4. Achieve a Diversity of Uses, Activities, and People
    1. Provide for a variety of residential building types and tenures for a rich and diverse community to accommodate a full demographic profile of households. A range of housing options are needed to ensure affordability and accommodate a variety of users including families, seniors, empty nesters, single room occupancy and smaller households.
    2. Encourage a diverse mix of uses that contributes to the overall self-sufficiency and sustainability of Old Ottawa East. These include a broad range of housing types as described above, live-work units, public/civic uses, commercial uses that contribute to the vibrancy of Main Street, and a strengthening of the institutional presence of St. Paul University.
    3. Encourage a complementary architectural treatment of buildings, including finish, colour and materials, together with a consistent design treatment of common elements on the property, such as fencing, landscaping, gateway features, street lighting and signage.
    4. Achieve compatibility with existing lower profile neighbourhoods bordering the subject lands by ensuring an appropriate transition of use and built form as set out in Section 4.11 of the Official Plan.
    5. Extend the surrounding public street grid and axial views to order and deploy the built form in the redevelopment of these properties. However, primary vehicular access/egress within the site shall be oriented to Main Street. Vehicular access/egress to Clegg Street shall be secondary.
    6. Provide a range of building heights between five to nine storeys in the Residential Medium-Rise designation. The related zoning will reflect a gradual transition between the heights in this range and buildings in proximity of lower height. [Amendment #228, LPAT case no PL190376, June 23, 2020]
    7. Locate parking for the medium-rise buildings primarily below grade. Where necessary, surface parking related to all development in this precinct should be obscured from view by means such as placement behind buildings and landscaping.
    8. Provide a range of buildings heights between three and nine storeys in the Mixed Use Medium-Rise designation as shown on Schedule C to this Plan.  The related zoning will reflect a gradual transition between the heights in this range and buildings in proximity of lower height.  In areas with height reference included on Schedule C, projections will be permitted above the maximum height, including but no limited to mechanical and service equipment penthouses, elevator or stairway penthouses, landscaped areas, roof-top gardens, terraces and associated safety guards, access structures, and washrooms  [Amendment #228, LPAT case no PL190376, June 23, 2020]
  5. Promote a Vibrant and Thriving Mainstreet
    1. Create a pedestrian-friendly environment along street frontages and main facades with primary doors at ground level facing the street and accessible from the public sidewalk.
    2. Provide active and inviting uses, such as shops and restaurants at-grade along Main Street, with pedestrian-friendly amenities, including outdoor seating areas and patios.
    3. Maintain a maximum height of six storeys and mix of uses in the built form of the Traditional Mainstreet, with a general lot depth of 40 metres.
  6. Celebrate Legacy and Heritage
    1. Recognize, support and commemorate the presence of the existing institutions as part of the community in the redevelopment of these lands.
    2. Conserve the Deschâtelets Building by maintaining its heritage attributes while adapting it to new uses over time to ensure its ongoing utility.
    3. Designate the Deschâtelets Building and appropriate parts of its associated cultural heritage landscape under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act.
    4. Conserve the allée and forecourt of the Deschâtelets building as cultural heritage landscape. (Appendix 1)
    5. Respect the cultural heritage value of the designated places in the design of all new development.
    6. Retain the statue of the Blessed Virgin and associated grove of trees to commemorate the Sisters of the Sacred Heart.​
  7. Integrate Green Space and Ensure Connectivity
    1. Integrate existing trees in the development to the extent possible.
    2. Maintain public access through the new development by establishing east-west pedestrian/cycle paths between Main Street and the Rideau River as well as north-south between Springhurst and Clegg.
    3. Ensure connectivity to nearby transit stations.
    4. Design storm water ponds to be naturally shaped and generally enhance the open space within and adjacent to this precinct.
    5. Provide a range of high quality landscaped spaces within the development.
    6. Provide the opportunity for a community gathering place in the forecourt and allée leading to the Dechâtelets building.
    7. Design the intersection of Main Street and the tree-lined allée leading to the Deschâtelets building as a gathering space for the community (for example, through the creation of attractive outdoor seating associated with commercial activity on Main Street)
    8. Naturalize the river frontage along a 30 metre open space corridor as measured from the Normal Highwater Mark of the Rideau River at the rear of the Oblate land, in consultation with the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority.
    9. Apply a parkland dedication of 1 ha. / 300 du. (max. 10% land area) subject to the Parkland Dedication By-law.
    10. Accommodate future parkland needs related to the development of the Oblate property by providing a rectangular block adjacent to Clegg Street suitable for active recreation. This area will be zoned for open space as well as mid-rise residential to allow for the use that is determined at the time of development.
    11. Provide a 10 metre wide block of land related to the development of the Oblate property extending along the western edge of the 30 setback from the river to accommodate a Multi-Use Pathway as designated in Schedule I of the Official Plan.
    12. Relocate community gardens from Oblate property to City-owned open space as development occurs.
    13. Encourage partnerships to provide for community facilities and activities within this precinct.
  8. Promote Health and Sustainability
    1. Implement sustainable design measures in the redevelopment of this precinct through the development review process and by utilizing 3rd party certification, such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), including the following:
      1. Limit stormwater runoff and rehabilitate natural surface water drainage patterns;
      2. Reduced energy use;
      3. Reduce water use;
      4. Reduced resource use in construction;
      5. Renewable energy and renewable building materials;
      6. Reuse and recycle resources on site, including water, compost, and solid waste;
      7. Support alternative transportation options; and
      8. Maximize south facing exposure for solar gain, and provide passive shading from trees.

10.3.5 West Side of Main Street Immaculata High School to Clegg

  1. Maintain and expand the healthy cluster of retail around the corner of Hazel Street and Main Street as it redevelops and converts to a mixed-use Traditional Mainstreet.
  2. Prioritize the burial of overhead wires for this precinct due to the shallow lot depth.
  3. Maintain the Traditional Mainstreet built form of six storey buildings with setbacks above the fourth floor, rear yard setback and angular plane of the TM zone to mitigate for the shallow lots fronting Main Street. [Amendment #146, April 2, 2015]

10.3.6 Old Ottawa East Residential Neighbourhoods - Archville, Spenceville and Rideau Gardens

  1. Maintain the general character of these neighbourhoods as expressed by the existing zoning.
  2. Maintain the traditional pattern of pedestrian priority along the street with any garages relegated to the side or rear of homes and not projecting forward or otherwise dominating the building façade.
  3. Intensify these neighbourhoods primarily at their edge, as a transition to denser development sites and where they abut an Arterial or Collector road. Notwithstanding this, building heights will be maintained at low-rise levels overall.
  4. Infill with residential development that is consistent with the Infill Housing Design Guidelines for Low and Medium Density.

10.3.7 Mixed-Use Centre (MUC) precinct at the east end of Lees Avenue

  1. Encourage convenience, personal service, and retail shops on the ground floor of buildings throughout this Mixed-Use Centre.
  2. Care should be taken as the University of Ottawa campus intensifies to ensure a compatible relationship with the Rideau River, Highway 417 and the Transitway by means such as, spatial separation, vegetative buffers, earth berms, and buildings as barriers.
  3. Link the campus area by pedestrian and bicycle pathways to the Lees Avenue Transit Station and the University of Ottawa Campus to the north.
  4. Encourage mixed-use development at the Lees Avenue Transit Station.
  5. Infill the high profile residential neighbourhood adjacent to the west of the campus with buildings that improve the relationship of the existing buildings to the street at a human scale. [Amendment #132, OMB File #PL140185, March 9, 2015]
  6. Front all buildings on a public street or private lane with a clear demarcation of the front door.
  7. Locate residential units or offices on the second floor or higher.
  8. Measures will be taken with construction of the AVTC to ensure that unencumbered pedestrian access is provided along Lees Avenue and that the Major Recreational Pathway along the Rideau River is not obstructed at grade for pedestrians and bicycles.
  9. Construction of the AVTC will include the mitigation measures outlined in the Environmental Assessment such as, noise attenuation and implementation of the landscape concept.
  10. Provide access from Lees Avenue to the Major Recreational Trail along the Rideau River by means of the City-owned parcel on the east side of the AVTC. Sidewalks along Lees Avenue will be expanded to the extent possible to improve the pedestrian linkage of the Mixed-Use Centre and Main Street.

The minimum densities set out in this Secondary Plan will result in the achievement of transit-supportive development densities over the long term.  The intent of requiring minimum densities is to set the stage for intensification so that development with increased densities can occur in context-sensitive locations at the time market pressure for density exists.  In response to this the implementing TD zones provide flexibility by permitting existing constructed uses of land to be expanded and rebuilt at densities under the targets in this Secondary Plan.  Also in response, land estimated to be subject to development intensification pressure beyond 2031 in the TOD Plan for the related station area is permitted to remain in the existing zoning until such time as the owner requests rezoning in response to intensification pressure.  At that time the property is to be rezoned to the appropriate TD zone in accordance with this Secondary Plan and the minimum densities and maximum building heights specified in the TD zone will take effect. [Amendment #132, OMB File #PL140185, March 9, 2015]

10.4 Implementation and Interpretation

The implementation and interpretation of the policies and land-use designations in this Plan shall be consistent with the provisions of the City’s Official Plan as amended unless explicitly stated otherwise.