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LPCA Feedback on 2946 Baseline development application


Dear Kieran Watson, members of the Planning Committee and City of Ottawa Councillors,


We are submitting this feedback as the Leslie Park Community Association on behalf of the residents of Leslie Park, a neighbourhood of approximately 800 residences which sits adjacent to and east of the 2946 Baseline block. With respect to this local development application, while we are enthusiastic about its possible benefits, we are concerned that elements of the design, if done poorly, would erode our valued sense of community. Fitting with Ottawa’s vision of the 15-minute community, and on behalf of an active and engaged community, we support development that provides better walkability and more amenities for our neighbourhood and residents. It is our request, through this development application process, that the City of Ottawa will ensure that the site plan is revised to better support this vision.


Moreover, we recognize the need for new housing within the greenbelt and support intensification that is done well. As stated above, this application is critical for Leslie Park and needs to meet or exceed acceptable standards. We feel that there are several design aspects that should be improved.


15-minute community


We know that the 15-minute community is an aspiration conceived of for the City of Ottawa by Ottawa Public Health & Planning with population health, health equity, and climate action top-of-mind. So self-sustaining, walkable, and health-centred community development is paramount. Best practices inform Ottawa’s accepted standards of design for designated retail spaces (i.e. size, amenities, parking) that recognize the 15-minute community.


When we reflect on the planned demolition of the existing site building which currently houses both a medical clinic and a pharmacy currently serving immediate and adjacent communities, we must ask whether these important amenities will be replaced or displaced. Will the medical centre and pharmacy become part of local history just as the grocery store which was promised in phase 1 but has since vanished from discussion? One would think that a grocery store would satisfy the lowest requirement in the spirit of the 15-minute community.


In Phase 2, we as a community would like to know what we can expect from the developer as per community amenities that make a difference to residents. Development designed to meet this simple mandate should be a no-brainer. This includes meeting industry best standards for retail space to attract tenants that fulfill the vision of a 15-minute community. How could the retail layout in Phase II be re-envisioned to better attract a grocery store tenant, given that the current retail space in Phase I remains vacant.


Affordable Housing


We want to more clearly understand how this development responds to the Official Plan’s expectations of affordable housing and request that this development meet or exceed the minimum requirements of the 2016 Housing Act Amendment with 10% of units being affordable units.



DESIGN ASPECTS


Additional design aspects that we are requesting be revisited, many of which were raised during the Urban Policy Review Panel, include:

  • Retail space: Does the size and placement of the retail spaces meet industry best practices to attract retailers that will fit within the definition of amenities for a walkable neighbourhood.

  • Podium Massing: The size of the podium and the massing is out of scale with the surrounding area. The proposed massing of the podium at 4+1 stories is larger than many that we see along Carling, for example. We request that this be brought down to a more human scale.

  • Phase I and II coherence: Marry or make uniform the designs of buildings 1-2-3 and 4-5-6 so they do not contradict one another, including improved colour of the towers.

  • Transition with neighbouring houses: Find a softer transition from the Phase 4 building to the neighbours to the south.

  • Building Height: Does the building height conform to the Ottawa Official Plan parameters when ground elevations are taken into consideration from north to south? Was the height of the towers calculated using the correct angular plane? This is asked noting that the height is dramatically taller than the surrounding planning context, despite it being within the Official Plan parameters.

  • Transportation Planning: We anticipate that the City’s regulations for transportation planning such as turning radii within the development are adhered to, ensuring access for vehicles but also maximum safety for pedestrians. We are also requesting that an updated On-site Traffic Utilization Study be considered, given that the data contained in the current study is from 2014.

  • Parkland Dedication: We want to ensure that the 10% required Parkland Dedication will be unencumbered and flexible for park planners and maintenance crews with the City of Ottawa. We want trees to have a chance to grow and not be locked into hard landscaping that risks their viability. The park block is to service not only the proposed development but to provide additional park amenities to the entire community. Has requested park amenities been demonstrated through a Facility Fit Plan? The proposed park block as currently illustrated does not function as a public park for the community.


We are pleased to note that there has been a high degree of engagement by Leslie Park residents in the review and feedback process for this development application Many residents have shared their feedback with us, and while the majority are generally supportive of intensification and hopeful for increased walkability and amenities for our neighbourhood, they also universally raise questions related to specifics of the development application relating to building height, design, parking (both within the development and into neghbouring streets), emergency preparedness for the towers, transit infrastructure and traffic, including cut-through traffic in Leslie Park.


The Leslie Park Community Association has a history of 10+ years investing in discussions and providing feedback to the City of Ottawa regarding the future of 2946 and 2940 Baseline. This includes a long-standing and clearly stated need for increased amenities within walking distance, including a grocery store. In closing, we ask that the City of Ottawa review this development application putting the surrounding neighbourhoods front of mind, not only for the residents of Leslie Park and Valley Stream and Qualicum-Graham Park but also for the future residents of 2946 Baseline. And as stated in the introduction to the Official Plan, we ask that you ensure that this is a project that solidly positions and builds Ottawa to be flexible, resilient, and above all, a city where people want to live, work and play.

LPCA Feedback on 2946 Baseline development application (JULY2023) 2023-07-31 22-25-40
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