3 October 2013 (rev. 17 October, 21 January 2014)
Following the tabling of a first draft of the proposed Official Plan Amendment on June 25, 2013, it became clear that there are three issues about which Councillors should hear the voice of citizens who are concerned that the City adopt sound environmental protection policies.
In two of the three cases, staff has proposed a policy which will be beneficial to the environment but there is a lot of resistance to them by the development industry. In the third case, staff is unwilling to support a change but it is an opportunity to remind Council of a promised by-law to regulate destruction of vegetation and topsoil on private land.
The issues are (and click on the title to access the 2-page briefs; they include suggested points you may wish to make in oral or written interventions):
The final Official Plan Amendment will be tabled about six days before a special Planning Committee meeting which will be held on Friday, November 8, 2013. Write to the members of Council any time but preferably before November 8. Come out to speak on November 8 if you can. Or write to the Coordinator of Planning Committee before the date of the meeting.
The Council members’ email addresses are here.
The Coordinator of Planning Committee is Christopher.Zwierzchowski@ottawa.ca .
The project leader for this Official Plan review is Marica.Clarke@ottawa.ca .
UPDATE – 5 November 2013
The revised Official Plan Amendment tabled on Friday, November 1 for consideration by Planning Committee on November 8 contains a few surprises, some of which are related to two of the three “wedge” issues below. (Go to Agenda Item 2 for the November 8 meeting to access all the documents.)
Re Keeping Stormwater Ponds out of the Flood Plain
The clause (on page 2-76 of the revised OPA) has been withdrawn.
On October 25, the “Conservation Partners” (the three conservation authorities — Rideau Valley, Mississippi and South Nation) wrote a strong letter of support for including a policy that stormwater facilities must stay out of the flood plain. Staff acknowledges the letter (in Document 7, page 15/16) and promises that the general practice of keeping ponds out of the flood plain will be maintained.
As a summary of conservation authority policies shows, the Mississippi and South Nation CAs do not have a clear policy on this matter. This letter now binds them to the policy as adopted by the Rideau Valley and many other CAs. As this commitment is hereby on the record, we may call this a “win” despite the regrettable fact that the Official Plan clause has been withdrawn.
Meanwhile, we got wind of a complementary policy proposal that would have stated that stormwater ponds must be located within the Urban Boundary. It seems a developer in Kanata is arguing otherwise. This proposal didn’t even make it into the June 25 draft!
If you haven’t written to Committee and Council yet, or have and want to do so again, you may wish to express your regret that the policy has been deleted and repeat your support of the Conservation Partners’ expressed policy. You may also wish to state that developers should not be allowed to expand the urban boundary through the back door.
Re Country Lot Estates
The proposal to prohibit future country lot subdivisions stands with revised and simplified introductory wording. However, the remainder of the policy (page 3-45) is now proposed to be completely deleted! In the current Plan, and through the proposal tabled on June 25, subclauses (a) through (g) spell out the criteria by which applications for CLEs are to be assessed. Of all the CLEs that will or may be allowed still (comprising a total 2800 lots), a significant proportion is only in the application stage. We have asked for the rationale to delete these clauses but were told only that “This change was recommended following a detailed re-evaluation of the previous approach by our legal department.” Of course, while the prohibition will be appealed (which it surely will) the current policy stands but why take the gamble? These criteria should be deleted only when the era of country lot estates is good and well behind us.
We advise to oppose these deletions.
Some good news
New since June 25:
– a policy on Complete Streets (page 2-20)
– supportive language about food production (pages 1-6 and 2-6)
Not good news
A new clause that would encourage green infrastructure in parking lots has been withdrawn (page 4-7).
The Alliance’s submission for November 8 is here.