Say YES to compatible development - Say NO to 8 Storeys on Bank Street in the Glebe
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The City of Ottawa is currently considering a proposal for an 8 storey building on the Beer Store site, as well as 6 storeys where the Mr Muffler used to operate on Bank Street.
While the proposal includes some good features, the proposed building is out of scale for this section of Bank Street. It does not "incorporate the common characteristics of its setting in its design" as Ottawa’s design principles say that it should. Nor does it "respect the character of existing areas". It overwhelms it.
For instance, is a sheer 8 storey wall going up next to existing 2 ½ storey residential homes on Monk Street respectful of the character of the area? How can this possibly be viewed as an “appropriate transition”? And what sort of precedent will it set?
The developer points to Lansdowne to justify the additional height they are asking for on Bank Street. But this argument is the definition of a slippery slope. Not to mention that the developer ignores the low-rise properties surrounding this site in trying to make this argument or that Lansdowne has a completely different set of zoning rules.
About a year ago, roughly 900 residents (many from outside of the Glebe) participated in the ImagineGlebe visioning project sponsored by the Glebe Community Association. The resulting vision for Bank Street: “A historic main street in the heart of a vibrant urban village; A thriving social and commercial district that is welcoming and walkable and features green spaces”. Does an 8 storey building among low-rise commercial buildings and residential homes fit with this vision? No.
Ottawa’s Official Plan says that “Introducing new development in existing areas that have developed over a long period of time requires a sensitive approach and a respect for a community’s established characteristics”. But this proposal is neither sensitive nor respectful. Nor does it contribute to the overall coherency of the urban fabric.
The community would love to see this site redeveloped. We are in favour of promoting intensification and increased density. But this can be achieved without almost doubling the height of the zoning by-law.
Say YES to the City following its own Urban Design and Compatibility principles and policies. 4 storeys would work fine. 6 storeys can probably fit in if the upper storeys are pushed well back so they don’t impact negatively on the street or the neighbours next door.
But say NO to 8 storeys on Bank Street.
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