801 Albert Street, proposed development


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

16 October 2011

Councillor Diane Holmes, City of Ottawa

Cc: Jeff Polowin, Hill & Knowlton
Councilor Katherine Hobbs

Dear Councillor,

Re: Re-Zoning of 801 Wellington St.

On Sept. 20 ’11, representatives of the Dalhousie and Hintonburg Community Associations were given a presentation of perspectives and other drawings of office towers for the 801 Wellington site opposite Bayview Station. The developer did not leave any documents with us. There was no assurance that any resultant buildings would look like what was presented. We were merely being informed that this was the basis of a re-zoning request which would eliminate the existing 1.5 FSI, allow 196, 184 and 95m heights ASL, and drastically reduce commercial parking requirements. Some shadow studies were later submitted electronically.

Site Planning:
A preliminary review indicates that the principal pedestrian and vehicle circulation and connectivity issues of the site have been met including views through the streets foreseen in the draft CDP, except that the gap between the two tall towers should be accessible around the clock.

Section 37:
The proponent committed to partial funding of a Wellington St. footbridge over the O-train, connected by a sidewalk and shared driveway/path along the south side of the site. We did not think anything else of significant was being provided that wouldn’t be required under the usual requirements of the OP. Replacing sewers is not a community benefit.

Mixed-use Centre:
As per the OP, Mixed-use Centres should be characterized by a broad variety of uses. In our view a significant residential component is essential in such a large development to insure the area is not dead after 5pm. Accordingly, at least 1/3 of the FSI should be residential. Thus the FSI should not be eliminated. Rather a max. FSI for commercial and a minimum FSI for residential should be applied. The great expanse of non-residential use between north Hintonburg and Walnut Court needs to be linked with some residential. A mixed use project will better contribute to knitting the communities together.

We support a “Mainstreet” style connectivity between northwest Dalhousie and north Hintonburg. This will require considerable care to ensure that Albert does not continue to be a speedway in this area.

Studies were only forwarded for 10, 12 and 2 o’clock. Other shadow studies were requested but not yet provided. We would like a shadow study that instead of focussing on the new buildings, focuses on when and for how long the adjacent residences will be shadowed. The total FSI proposed should be less than 8.0 to reduce excessive shadowing.

The requested reduction in commercial parking might just be sufficient in such proximity to a LRT station, but we have seen no parking study that backs this up. The possible impact on the nearby residential communities could be severe.

And there is no provision for residential parking, even though some non-office uses, such as residences or a hotel, were mentioned by the proponent. More parking needs to be incorporated into the development to accommodate a residential component. There will be no means to do so later.

All exterior parking should be short term only or the support uses will not function. Indeed, we favour most of the interior parking also being short term rather than monthly. Once it is monthly-only parking, the neighbourhood will be plagued by day parkers.

Compensating bicycle parking is required since vehicle parking is so reduced. We would like to see the bike parking facilitiy on the west side elaborated.

Design Review:
The proponents claim exemption from Design Review. Design review should be a condition of any re-zoning of such a prominent site.

This proposal is not yet ready to proceed to a re-zoning in its present form.

Yours truly,

Eric Darwin, President


cc: Alain Miguelez, Planning & Growth Mgmt. Dept.
Randolf Wang, Planning & Growth Mgmt. Dept.