Part I: The Preamble
The location, and lands affected by this Official Plan Amendment are known as the St. Joseph Boulevard Corridor, within the Orléans Planning Area, former City of Gloucester as shown on Schedule A. The lands include the public right-of-way and those lands lying adjacent to St. Joseph Boulevard as identified on Schedule B – Land Use.
The proposal is to redesignate the subject lands from ‘Industrial, Residential, Neighbourhood Commercial, and Core Activity Area to one new land use designation - Mixed Commercial/Residential Area. Joseph Boulevard is a major arterial road in the City of Ottawa’s east end. St. Joseph Boulevard is the perfect location for revitalization and intensification. It is one of the City’s major arterial roads that provides continuous access right across the City. St Joseph Boulevard becomes Montreal Road in Vanier, Rideau in downtown Ottawa and Wellington Street in front of the Parliament Buildings. There is no reason that the character of development abutting St. Joseph Boulevard cannot evolve to the more urban form that exists along this street as it extends west into downtown Ottawa.
Transform the nature, character and function of St. Joseph
The purpose of this Official Plan Amendment is to establish a framework to guide the evolution of a new form of development along St. Joseph Boulevard. This new form of development will transform the function and character of the street and will promote a lively, vibrant and diverse district with a mix of places to live, work, shop and play. Transit is key to the success of this area, as it is a key ingredient for intensification. With intensification of use and a new urban form of development, the function of the road will change. Travel speeds will be reduced, on-street parking will cause “friction” causing vehicles to travel more cautiously through this new urban district. Traffic operations will take on the conditions typical of Montreal Road, not a suburban arterial road.
Revitalization is needed
The City of Ottawa, in collaboration with local stakeholders, has recognized that there is a need to initiate a comprehensive revitalization of St. Joseph Boulevard. A consultant was retained by the City of Ottawa to “take a fresh look” at the corridor within the context of current planning policies and recent design studies. The need for change has recently been reinforced in Charting a Course, a background paper for the City’s new Official Plan. More importantly, however, is the observable need to enhance the overall image of St. Joseph Boulevard such that it can be transformed into a vibrant, diverse and economically successful component of the new City of Ottawa’s urban structure.
Charting a Course establishes key principles
As noted, Charting a Course sets out key principles that form the foundation for managing long-term growth and change in the new City of Ottawa. To a great extent, those principles also form the foundation of the revitalization strategy for St. Joseph Boulevard. Specifically, the following principles provide guidance:
- Achieve diversity through a focus on community design – The new City of Ottawa will promote and preserve diversity. The City intends to encourage neighbourhood diversity by planning places to work, live and play within walking distance of each other in compact communities. Streets will be planned for pedestrians and cyclists, as well as cars. The City will focus on community design by changing the way they plan and evaluate development to put less emphasis on zoning and greater emphasis on building design.
- Build vibrant, active and attractive centres – The new City of Ottawa will ensure that the downtown, main streets and town centres are as vibrant, active and attractive as the traditional villages. Ottawa is envisioned as a city with many centres of activity connected by excellent transit. Town centres in Orléans, South Nepean and Kanata will be planned to incorporate a mix of residential and employment uses with a variety of housing options. This will create diverse centres that are alive both day and night, and that will accommodate change. Public transit is one key to success, in particular rapid transit service to connect the town centres with one another and with downtown is important to shape plans for intensification.
- Build a compact city – It is the new City’s ambition to rejuvenate and infill already developed areas. St. Joseph Boulevard is a perfect location to add more housing to rejuvenate established neighbourhoods and bring more people to help support local shops, services, schools and transit. To help intensify development, the City intends to devote less land to parking by reducing minimum parking requirements, using on-street parking and promoting shared use of parking.
- Keep the City Green – The new City intends to manage growth by seizing every opportunity to conserve and regenerate the natural environment of landform, watershed and vegetation. They recognize that this must happen at every level – from individual sites, to neighbourhoods, to the City as a whole. Green spaces that perform important linkage functions must be identified and protected.
Change will require a comprehensive strategy
Private sector redevelopment along the St. Joseph Corridor is expected to occur incrementally, over a relatively long period of time. Further, an understanding of the market forces in the Corridor indicates that there is a need for some form of “incentive package” to stimulate change. The idea of an incentives package is to stimulate private sector redevelopment by reducing the cost of development, influencing the market for redevelopment and reducing the inherent risks of the approvals processes. This Official Plan Amendment promotes an incentive package based on:
- Making planning regulations and approval processes less onerous and less cumbersome; and,
- Providing a framework through which the City may offer a variety of incentives for redevelopment, including the potential for direct financial incentives.
The rules, regulations and processes identified in this Official Plan Amendment are in keeping with Charting a Course. It is the intention to establish a simplified planning framework that recognizes both the importance of urban corridors within the new City of Ottawa and the tremendous redevelopment and intensification opportunities that these corridors, and specifically the St. Joseph Corridor, provide to the long-term development of the City.
To achieve the goals of the new Official Plan, it is important to remove the current disincentives that have frustrated redevelopment and intensification in the past. Key issues include parking requirements and density restrictions that make redevelopment difficult and uneconomic and the array of planning rules and regulations that are difficult to assess and to understand on a site by site basis. Furthermore, given the dramatic shifts in retail development patterns, there appears to be limited market support for major commercial redevelopment in the Corridor. There does, however, appear to be some market support for medium density residential forms of development, and a market for niche retail and office.
This Official Plan Amendment establishes a single Official Plan Land Use designation for application to the entire St. Joseph Corridor. A complimentary zoning regime will also be suggested that provides sufficient and realistic incentives to promote redevelopment, while at the same time minimizing the impacts on abutting low density housing and ensuring an appropriate relationship between the buildings and the adjacent streets, especially at the identified urban gateways. Design guidelines have also been prepared to ensure that the City’s intentions for redevelopment are well understood.
Part II: The Amendment
1.0 Introductory Statement
All of this portion of the document entitled Part II: The Amendment, and attached map entitled Schedule ‘B’ constitutes Amendment Number __ to the Official Plan for the City of Gloucester.
2.0 Details of the Amendment
Item 1: That Schedule “A2 Land Use” of the Official Plan for the City of Gloucester, Orléans Planning Area be amended as shown on Schedule ‘B’ to this Official Plan Amendment.
Item 2: That a new Section 22.214.171.124 be added as follows:
126.96.36.199 St. Joseph Corridor
The St. Joseph Corridor extends for approximately 3.5 kilometres from the former City of Gloucester / Cumberland municipal boundary (just east of Place d’Orléans Drive) to the edge of the Greenbelt (or west side of Youville Drive), in the Orléans Planning Area. The current right-of-way width is approximately 32 metres along most of the roadway, with isolated sections in the older area having a right-of-way width of approximately 25 to 28 metres.
It is expected that, over time, the nature and character of development adjacent to St. Joseph Boulevard will evolve from a suburban commercial strip, to a more intensely developed, mixed-use urban district. With intensification of use and a new urban form of development, the function, nature and character of St. Joseph Boulevard will also change to reflect the planned urban environment.
As a result of this anticipated evolution, and notwithstanding any other provisions of the Official Plan, the existing right-of-way of St. Joseph Boulevard shall be maintained as it currently exists, with the exception that 26.0 metres will be sought for sections of the corridor located in the area between Edgar Brault Street and Gabriel Street currently at 25.0 metres. In addition, the City will enhance the visual appeal of the right-of-way, and will ensure that the function, nature and character of St. Joseph Boulevard is compatible with the planned urban environment. The City will consider more on-street parking, reduced centre lane widths, the provision of shared cycling facilities and encourage the reduction of private accesses leading to St. Joseph Boulevard.
Item 3: That a new Section 7.2.3 Mixed Commercial/Residential Area be added as follows:
7.2.3 Mixed Commercial/Residential Area
The Mixed Commercial/Residential Area designation establishes a framework to guide the evolution of a new form of development along the St. Joseph Boulevard Corridor. This new form of development will transform the function and character of the street and will promote a lively, vibrant and diverse district with a mix of places to live, work, shop and play. Transit is key to the success of this area as it is a key ingredient for intensification.
With intensification of use and a new urban form of development, the function of the road will change. Travel speeds will be reduced, on-street parking will cause “friction” causing vehicles to travel more cautiously through this new urban district.
The St. Joseph Corridor shall function as a focus of activity for the surrounding low-density residential neighbourhoods. Ideally, the St. Joseph Corridor will offer a high quality environment, providing the opportunities to live, work and shop in close proximity.
The St. Joseph Corridor shall redevelop with a variety of compatible, well-integrated and higher density developments. The built form shall be comfortable in scale and design such that pedestrian activity is enhanced.
Land uses within the St. Joseph Corridor will be linked together by the road network, bicycle paths and pedestrian walkways. Development densities will help to support existing and potentially enhanced transit facilities along the Corridor.
The primary purposes of the Mixed Commercial/Residential Area designation are:
- To establish the St. Joseph Corridor as a focus of activity by promoting new development that includes a broad mix of land uses at generally higher densities than the adjacent neighbourhoods.
- To maximize pedestrian, bicycle, transit and vehicular accessibility and safety.
- To establish an urban design and planning policy regime that result in a high quality of built form and landscaping on both public and private sector properties.
Development objectives for the Mixed Commercial/Residential Area designation are:
- Encourage redevelopment with an array of land uses that support transit and provide a comfortable and attractive pedestrian environment.
- Promote new buildings that create an improved image for the Corridor, contain the street and accentuate gateways and intersections.
- Encourage redevelopment with higher densities that support transit and provide a comfortable and attractive pedestrian environment.
- Encourage appropriate and achievable redevelopment at a scale that is financially feasible.
- Promote a level of uniformity of built form adjacent to the street edge.
- Reduce parking standards and permit on-street parking to promote a more intensified and transit supportive urban environment.
- Promote a rational reduction in the number of accesses to St. Joseph Boulevard.
- Establish a program of financial incentives and a regulatory regime that facilitates appropriate redevelopment.
- Ensure that all new development and redevelopment has regard for all design guidelines that are applicable to the St. Joseph Corridor and that have been approved by Council.
- The Mixed Commercial/Residential Area will be designated on Schedule A2 of this Official Plan.
- All new development and redevelopment will have regard to the applicable design guidelines contained in the St. Joseph Boulevard Corridor Study.
- Permitted Land Uses – It is the intent of this land use designation to encourage redevelopment with an array of land uses that support transit and provide a comfortable and attractive pedestrian environment. Single use and mixed-use buildings are permitted. Permitted land uses may include:
- Medium and higher density forms of housing;
- An array of commercial facilities including retail stores, convention centres, hotels,
restaurants and all types of offices;
- Community, cultural, entertainment and recreational facilities; and
- Public utilities, parking structures, surface parking lots and all forms of parks and open
Notwithstanding any other permitted use, outside storage shall be specifically prohibited.
- Height – Promote new buildings that create an improved image for the Corridor, contain the street and accentuate gateways and intersections.
- Density – Encourage redevelopment with higher densities that support transit and provide a comfortable and attractive pedestrian environment.
- Built Form – Promote new buildings that create an improved image for the Corridor, contain the street and accentuate gateways and intersections. It is the intention of this Plan to promote buildings that are of high quality individually, and when considered collectively, create an attractive streetscape with appropriate pedestrian amenity. Policies with respect to built form include:
- The proportion of the ground floor coverage of the building footprint should be maximized
and building heights should create a street space scaled to pedestrians;
- Landmark buildings, higher density and taller buildings shall be located at intersections.
Additional built and/or landscape features should be included in the design of these sites
to accentuate their importance;
- All new buildings adjacent to St. Joseph Boulevard shall be sited to face, front and
feature the street. They should create continuous frontages, close to the edge of the right-
of-way. Minor variations may be considered in the review of site plans to accommodate
appropriate urban design features, such as an urban square and/or additional landscape
- Windows and door entrances will face the road, and provide for direct pedestrian access
to the city sidewalk – windows and door entrances will occupy at least 50% of the
building façade adjacent to St. Joseph Boulevard;
- Canopies or other weather protection over entrances and the pedestrian zone should be
considered adjacent to retail, personal service and restaurant frontages; and,
- Loading and service areas associated with any permitted use must not be located
adjacent to, or visible from St. Joseph Boulevard.
- Parking – Consider a reduction in parking standards within the implementing zoning by-law to promote a more intensified and transit supportive urban environment. In addition, the following policies apply within the Mixed Commercial/Residential Area designation:
- The City, in reviewing and approving any development within the St. Joseph Corridor
shall explore every opportunity to promote shared parking among adjacent landowners.
- Whenever possible, development applications shall be considered on a comprehensive
basis in association with abutting lands and the nearby on-street parking supply.
Consideration shall be given to consolidating access points to St. Joseph Boulevard, as
well as shared parking facilities.
- When redevelopment occurs, parking shall be adequately screened from abutting
residential zones, and from all public streets and landscaped to ensure an attractive
- Shared Access – Promote a rational reduction in the number of private accesses to St. Joseph Boulevard. The City, in reviewing and approving any new development within the St. Joseph Corridor shall explore every opportunity to promote shared access among adjacent landowners. Alternative side yards setbacks may be considered to recognize shared access driveways and/or structured parking facilities.
- Zoning By-law – The implementing zoning by-law shall, in conjunction with all design guidelines that are applicable to the St. Joseph Corridor and that have been approved by Council, establish the parameters for development within the St. Joseph Corridor.
- Site Plan Control – All development within the St. Joseph Corridor shall be subject to site plan control in accordance with the City’s Site Plan Control By-law.
- From time to time, the City may receive development applications that do not achieve all of the objectives, policies and guidelines for the St. Joseph Corridor as identified in this Plan, and in other applicable planning documents. In these instances, the City will review the application on its merits, and may consider the application for approval if it is demonstrated, to the City’s satisfaction, that the proposed development:
- Does not preclude the ability to build additional permitted density at a later date; and,
- Otherwise achieves all of the other applicable policies of this plan, including the approved urban design guidelines.
- Community Improvement – The entire St. Joseph Corridor shall be considered a Community Improvement Area and the City may establish, by by-law, the Corridor, or specific components of the Corridor, as a Community Improvement Project Area. The City may identify and delineate a Community Improvement Project Area in areas that display any or all of the following criteria;
- Inadequate municipal infrastructure, including piped services, roads and streetscapes,
public parking facilities and/or storm water management facilities;
- Inadequate community services such as public recreational/cultural facilities, public open
space and/or social services;
- Building and/or property deterioration to the extent that it negatively affects the overall
image of the St. Joseph Corridor;
- Development at densities that are too low to support planned transit facilities; and/or
- Site contamination levels that require environmental site remediation prior to
In addition, for areas within the Mixed Commercial/Residential Area designation that have
been further identified, by by-law as a Community Improvement Project Area, the following policies apply:
- The City may prepare a detailed Community Improvement Plan. In the preparation of a
Community Improvement Plan, the City will solicit the input of affected residents,
property owners and other interested stakeholders. Community Improvement Plans, and
subsequent amendments thereto, may be adopted by Council.
- During the preparation of a Community Improvement Plan, the City shall explore options
for the provision of financial incentives to the private sector. The review of all
development applications within the St. Joseph Corridor shall have regard for all design
guidelines that are applicable to the St. Joseph Corridor and that have been approved by
Council and, further, the eligibility requirements for any financial incentive program
offered by the City shall require new development to conform to the guidelines.
- When the City is satisfied that the intent of an Improvement Plan has been carried out,
Council may, by by-law, dissolve the Community Improvement Project Area.
The Mixed Commercial/Residential Area designation is specific to the identified portion of the St. Joseph Corridor as identified on Schedule A2 – Land Use. As such, the purpose, objectives and policies of this land use designation may, in some instances, be in conflict with other policies of this Official Plan. Where the intent and details of this land use designation conflict with the other, more general policies of this Official Plan, the policies of this designation shall prevail. In addition to the above, the provisions of Section 11.2.4 of the Official Plan of the former City of Gloucester shall apply.
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