City of Ottawa Planning Committee Approval

205 Crichton Street - 15 Dufferin Road, All Green Projects, Build Projects, Design Projects, Plan Projects

VERT-Planning-Committee

Yesterday morning the City of Ottawa’s Planning Committee unanimously endorsed my proposed renovation and addition to 205 Crichton Street.  (Download the Planning Committee Agenda for April 22, 2014.)

This is the third of four levels of approval in the City of Ottawa’s Heritage Permitting process.  The first came from City Heritage Planners in their report concerning the project, issued a week before the Built Heritage Sub-Committee meeting.  The second was obtained at the Built Heritage Sub-Committee meeting on April 10th.  The decision to issue the Heritage Permit or not falls to Ottawa City Council on May 14th.

(Listen to an audio recording of the City of Ottawa Planning Committee meeting.  Discussion of the 205 Crichton Street application takes place from 33:00 to 59:00 of the recording.)

The Chair of the NECA HDC made a presentation to the Committee opposing the proposed addition, that echoed a presentation she made to the Built Heritage Sub-Committee two weeks ago. In response to the NECA HDC presentation, the Planning Committee Chair, Councillor Peter Hume, said “I’m at a loss for words. …In all the discussions that we’ve had around the New Edinburgh Heritage Conservation District …this is the first time that I think we’ve ever had someone come and say Preserve what actually detracts from the heritage fabric of the neighbourhood. Don’t allow something that’s much more sympathetic to the fabric.”

Given the sentiments of Councillor Hume and many others, I remain optimistic that we will be building this year.

Here are some transcripts from the meeting:

45:29 – Lesley Collins, Heritage Planner, City of Ottawa:

“…the Department supports the application because it meets the intentions and objectives of the HCD [Heritage Conservation District], it retains and enhances an existing building, it meets the standards and guidelines, and it provides an appropriate gateway to the Heritage Conservation District.

45:46 – Councillor Peter Hume, Planning Committee Chair:

Quite a quandary isn’t it? You have a proponent who is taking plans that are historic in nature and actually implementing them. …And [you have] the district. And you’re trying to preserve what I consider to be a …it’s not [a] very exciting building, it’s kind ofdull. I mean …and the back part of it, which is that …the sloping onto the road …is really, uh, I mean, not something that I would ever think we …a Heritage Conservation District would want to preserve. Yet, it does. Right? That’s what it wants to preserve. So, if I want to take a building that is a relatively modern building, …find the plans, and build what the builder actually intended, which I think we all would say is more complementary to the real heritage buildings that comprise the district, you’re at a real distinct disadvantage in this process, aren’t you? [Laughter in the room.] Yeah. …That is the dilemma.I can see how this proposal would be much much more sympathetic to the character along Crichton Street than the existing building is.

49:12 – Gail McEachern, Chair, Heritage and Development Committee, New Edinburgh Community Alliance:

I definitely am on the nay side of this particular proposal. …The existing building must remain the dominant presence in the streetscape. …Whether one likes the architectural style or not is irrelevant. …There’s no justification, as far as we are concerned, in turning it into something that it is not. …Because of its size and massing, the proposed structure creates a wall along Dufferin [Road] reminiscent of historic military forts. …It is yet another example of intensification at the expense of the principles and intent of the New Edinburgh HCD.

53:22 – Councillor Peter Hume, Planning Committee Chair:

I’m at a loss for words. …I understand what you’re saying – I really do, but, in all the discussions that we’ve had around the New Edinburgh Heritage Conservation District …this is the first time that I think we’ve ever had someone come and say ‘Preserve what actually detracts from the heritage fabric of the neighbourhood. Don’t allow something that’s much more sympathetic to the fabric.’ …And so, I guess what I’m asking you is, do you not believe that the new construction is much more in keeping with the urban fabric of the district?

54:46 – Gail McEachern, Chair, Heritage and Development Committee, New Edinburgh Community Alliance:

“No, I don’t. …I guess what we’re preserving here is …it is a funny little building – I quite agree with you. It certainly is aesthetically not the nicest building in New Edinburgh, for sure. But, the point is that, um, it, the thing is that it does represent – as I said in my, in my talk – it represents a particular period. We don’t really have many examples, that if I – maybe only one that I can think of – that’s like that in the district – that is kind of like a, um, a, sort-of, um, a post-Second World War, uh, bungalow, modest little bungalow. So that, whether we like it or not …it is included in the district. …We’re really talking about trying to keep the form of what was there, still there, because it was the part of the original district.”

Support for the project was also given by Councillor Stephen Blais, Councillor Rainer Bloess, Councillor Rick Chiarelli, Councillor Katherine Hobbs, Councillor Allan Hubley, Councillor Bob Monette and Councillor Tim Tierney.  (Councillor Jan Harder, (Planning Committee Vice Chairperson) and Councillor Shad Qadri were absent.)

vertCity of Ottawa Planning Committee Approval