A new bad development along Bank Street

It wasn’t that long ago that city council capitulated to a dishonest and deceitful development group for a proposal along Bank Street in the Glebe. The group wanted to break the current CDP zoning (that was a dumb mistake), building higher than was allowed, bigger than was allowed and casting more shadows than were allowed.

It was also pretty ugly, but they at least tried to remedy that.

During the process, the development group lied about the size of development in relation to zoning limits, and lied about their reliance on the Lansdowne redevelopment and the Lord Lansdowne tower as precedence for what they wanted to do.

The community was pretty much in agreement that this development was inappropriate and that the developers should be made to adhere to the zoning (they offered no real trade-offs for all the allowances they sought).

Well, now there’s a new proposed development just a block away, and at least one part of that group is back to help spread falsehoods, once again

The proposal for the redevelopment of “Bank + Fifth” (otherwise known as Fifth Avenue Court) seeks to maintain the Bank Street retail strip, tear the rest down and put up an eight storey tower (seeking a maximum height of 26 metres where 15 metres is the limit).

Once again, the proposal is fairly ugly.

There’s a lot to get into, but here are a few quick initial thoughts:

  • They call this a “Minor Zoning By-law Amendment”. They’re asking to increase the height by 73%. Whether that’s appropriate or not, it’s certainly not minor. Maybe they put the whole thing in capital letters because it’s a name they’ve given it rather than an accurate description.
  • Will zoning regulations ever mean anything?
  • Where will the vaunted “urban caucus” be on this. For the development at 890-900 Bank Street, there was some resistance by councillors Leiper and Nussbaum, but it was limited (there was also a sense of futility in any opposition). Nussbaum is the one who forced a meaningful compromise for the development in Old Ottawa South. Will he, or anyone, do so for this? Where will Fleury and McKenney be on this?
  • I’m predicting the community will oppose this. Will Jody Mitic* apply the same standard for this proposal–deferring to the community–as he did when something came up in his ward, or will this be another OIMBY situation?
  • Will Bob Monette also fall into the OIMBY category, considering his opposition to a proposed development in Orleans?
  • Two other corners of that intersection are or have recently been under construction. There will be construction a block away. A few years ago, they finally finished Lansdowne. Is there ever a point where we say, no, it’s too much re-development in a small area in a short amount of time? This is an honest question that I don’t have an answer for.
  • Why the hell would we allow someone to add 122 parking spaces to the Glebe? The proper amount for this sort of proposal is somewhere around zero.
  • Worse, why the hell does the city require 56 parking spaces for this sort of proposal? That’s utter madness. The Glebe has a traffic problem already. Cars are destroying the planet and making us sick. The development will be on routes 6 and 7. We have one of the highest modal shares for bicycling in Canada.
  • Will there be any trade-offs for the breaking zoning regs? At this point, no, there are none that I could see in the planning document. But hey, how about you axe all the parking spaces and then we can talk about going a little higher.
  • Will the mayor sell the community out to developers again?
  • Will developers that are clearly misrepresenting facts (at best) or lying (at worst) and who demonstrate little understanding of the neighbourhood and urban development in general be held accountable for all their deceit?
  • Will city planners carry water for developers just like they did for the 890-900 Bank Street proposal?
  • Will the development team use the 890-900 Bank Street proposal, the Lord Lansdowne and the Lansdowne towers as precedent for what they want to do…oh wait, they’re already doing that. Will they lie about this?
  • Why can’t developers just play by the rules? Why can’t they be honest?

My assumption is that this will go exactly like the 890-900 Bank Street proposal. I assume that many suburban councillors will support it. I assume that these same councillors will then vehemently object to any similar proposals in their own wards. I assume that the same people who will claim we need all those parking spots will later complain about all the traffic.

Ottawa’s crappy political balance will continue, unchanged.

*As has been reported, councillor Mitic is currently dealing with personal issues and health issues. It is quite understandable that he may be away from his duties for a while. I don’t know what the timeline for this proposal will be. I’m operating under the assumption that he will at council when this comes up (if it comes up this term of council). I think it would be unfair to assume otherwise.

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