balsam/rochester townhouse project

Fanto developments is proposing a townhouse project to replace the existing houses at Balsam and Rochester Streets. Here are sketches of the Rochester and Balsam sides:

755 Somerset Street West, Ottawa, Ontario, K1R 6R1

11 July, 2011

Doug Bridgewater, City of Ottawa
Planning and Growth Management Dept.

Re: Zoning By-Law Amendment Proposal: Balsam & Rochester Streeets.

Dear Sir,

We strongly support the concept of low-rise townhouses on this site.

However there are some fundamental problems with the layout presented. Perhaps this is why the developer and the architect have not returned our calls and we have been able to acquire only a vague documentation from the Planning Dept. The dev/apps web page still contains the four year old apartment tower plans, and not the current ones. Our comments are therefore based only on a site and landscape plans dated Feb/Mar 2011 and an undated partial perspective sketch.

• With only nominal property line setbacks proposed at the rear northeast corners of the site, the usual mutual open space in the centre of residential blocks is missing. This creates an adverse impact on the abutting properties present and potential enjoyment of light, air and hopefully green space. This is uncharacteristic of the neighbourhood. Units 5, 6 12 and 13 compromise the usual 7.5m rear yard setback. They should be eliminated in favour of green space.

• The 4 storey units (Block D) shown in the sketch seem incompatible with the lower rise adjacent properties. 4 stories would be more appropriate along Rochester and at the corner of Balsam, leaving lower units for where they are adjacent to existing 2 storey buildings. The height variance would not required if the 4 storey units were kept within the present “Rochester” zoning area.

• There is an inappropriate lack of trees and green landscaping. Only 7 dwarf trees are proposed and none on Rochester. There ought to be 8 trees along Rochester, one more on Balsam and many more internally. The huge wasteland of impermeable asphalt, all presumably directing rainwater to sewers, is a poor environmental solution.

• Most of the units are extraordinarily close to the adjacent lot lines, which will impair the use and privacy of those properties and may severely restrict those owners ability to redevelop their properties

• The units on Rochester, despite the slender entries, do not address the street. As per the Urban Design Guidelines, these units should provide “eyes on the street”.

• We do appreciate that practically all the garages are off the internal street.

We hope that the proposal can be modified to reflect these concerns and that revised plans will be forthcoming. We are prepared to meet anyone, any time to review this proposal further.

Eric Darwin, President
Dalhousie Community Association

Cc: Councillor Diane Holmes