Monday, January 16, 2012

Draft Minutes Jan 4 Meeting

DCA Draft Minutes Jan 2012




The DCA met on 4 Jan 2012 at the Dalhousie Community Centre at 7pm.

Present: Eric Darwin(taking the minutes), Maija Kagis, Lisa-Marie Inman, Charles Akben-Marchand, Pat Snair, Craig Haynes, Phil Robinson, Stephanie Strudwick, Don McMaster, Catherine Boucher, Ida Henderson, Michael Hatfield (chair), Archie Campbell, David Seaborn, Don Smith.

Guests: Carla Aynkawa, Linda Buchanan, Pierre Contant (Cambridge Street residents)



72 Cambridge Street – the property consists of a house previously subdivided into 5 bachelor apts and a ground floor corner store. The corner store space was recently converted into two bachelor apts, without permits. There were permits for the structural repair of the building earlier in 2011. There is now a stop-work order on the building.

Complaints focused on several issues: A) the large number of bachelor units some of which were rented very low income persons who supplemented their income with street sales, rumours of drug dealing, etc; b) the habit of the residents congregating on the sidewalk all day, and their furnishing of the sidewalk with sofas, tables, and artwork; c) alcohol consumption on the sidewalk; d)removal of plant material from the city bulbout and the coincident appearance of similar materials in makeshift planters on the paved boulevard; e) the unfinished exterior of the building; f) the building extends to the lot line on several sides, leaving no amenity space and one legal parking space.

There was a lengthy discussion of proven methods to bring problem properties back into community acceptance.

Legal status: the store use was non-confirming, now that it is gone, it cannot be put back. However, the two apts that replaced it are not legal as a converted house can have only four units(exceptionally, this building already has 5 legal units). The owner is being fined by the city for renovations without a permit. The owner must legalize the building status.

The owner is asking the committee of adjustment in mid-January to permit seven apartments. Adjacent residents expressed a preference for the landlord to re-allocate space within the building to five larger apts. This would not generate as much revenue to him, and might result in a higher occupancy of people in the building. Neighbours hope larger units would attract more stable tenants. DCA board members experienced with the CofA suggested it is likely the seven units will be approved.

The DCA safety committee and development committee previously met with the property owner and his agent. We provided him with legal and helpful material on his role as a good landlord and property manager. He subsequently hired a property superintendant to visit the property weekly. Another meeting with the property owner and neighbours is scheduled for 12 January at 6pm.

Update: The DCA ultimately decided to object to the additional apartments and the matter went to the Committee of Adjustment. A delegation of local residents attended. The CofA turned down the request saying it was a problem site now, the changes would just make it worse.

Carling Bayview CDP – the study involves the “brownfields” sites (former industrial and underused properties) along the O-train corridor from the River to Dows Lake. The much-delayed and underfunded study has completed its recommendations for the Ottawa River to Somerset zone. The results are available at the City website and no public meeting is planned by the City.

The study is continuing with meetings in January for the Carling Avenue end of the zone. The DCA will encourage the study zone to be expanded to include the soon-to-be-surplus NR Can properties along Booth and Rochester, some of which are now in the disposal (preparation for sale) process; and to include the Sir John Carling building (slated for demolition). The exclusion from the study of large properties ripe for redevelopment is bad planning.

There is significant cynicism and distrust in the community a regards the city’s intentions. Charges that the study is doomed to irrelevance abound, and that the study will be completed only once all the properties in question have been sold and already rezoned. The Hintonburg Community Assoc has withdrawn from the study advisory committee.

The HCA is spearheading a drive to hold a public meeting where residents can learn more about the study and its recommendations. The DCA agreed to participate in sponsoring the meeting.

Cycling paths – multi-purpose paths – members of the board and its transportation committee have built a good working relationship with the city and its consultants for the north-south path along the O-train corridor. The portion of the path from the Ottawa River to Gladstone Avenue will be built in summer 2012, using the new underpass at Somerset constructed in 2011:

The board agreed to approach the city and HCA to set up a similarly-productive advisory group for the proposed bike lanes on Scott and Albert, and the bike path (“BikeWest”) from Tunney’s Pasture to downtown along the OLRT corridor which will be designed starting in 2012.

Soho Italia – the developer Mastercraft-Starwood has revised the plans for the condo. It is now shorter (from 35 down to 30 stories); the above-ground parking garage has been relocated underground; the podium portion is larger; and the street-level fa├žade has been improved. The Board will meet with the developer and his architects later in January to go over the revised plan in some detail.

Sec 37 - members were provided a handout outlining key parts of the Sec 37 process. Under sec.37 the city can receive monies for community benefits by rezoning a site or permitting a higher building. The Board agreed to send comments to the City including: 1) Minimum threshold of 7,000 sq.m /25% increase in height/density much too high.2)CDPs should trump any “offsets” 3)Staff to ensure that applications are not “slipped through” by CofA approvals; 4)A minimum of 25% of the benefit be ascribed to affordable housing.

Parks – discussion of innovative ways to expand our park spaces was postponed due to lack of time.

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