DCA Minutes, 5 Oct 2011

 In Attendance:

Eric Darwin, Michael Powell, Ida Henderson, Michael Hatfield, Archie Campbell, Stephanie Strudwick, David Seaborn, Charles Akben-Marchand, Lori Mellor, Lisa-Marie Inman, Pat Snair, Maija Kagis, Anil Naidoo, Sean Darcy, Pamela Connolly,Councillor Diane Holmes

1) Presentation from Jeff Polowin and Rod Lahey regarding SoHo Italia development by Mastercraft Starwood

a. Polowin indicated that they had met with city staff, but no decisions had been made yet. Had also met with the Councillor. Are planning on bringing this to planning committee in December.
b. They are doing the rounds with stakeholders because of changes from initial design.
c. Lahey indicated emphasized that M-S is not just a “Toronto” firm, but has lots of roots in town.
d. Lahey also indicated that:
i. There were concerns about height and podium in original design.
ii. Planning department indicated that it would be a good idea to increase the lot size.

1. Were concerened about the next proposal coming with something even higher.
iii. M-S acquired a 15,000 sq.f piece of adjacent property, increasing the lot size but not increasing the building.
e. Lahey indicated that he will send a letter detailing changes to Eric Darwin.
f. Changes to design, outlined by Lahey, include:
i. Reduction in height to 28+1 stories, 7m higher than the current zoning
1. Includes an 8m setback at the 25th floor.
ii. Podium is now 5 stories, but will look more like 4 stories.
iii. There is a 3m setback above the podium, and a distance of 4.5m from the lot line.
iv. Ground floor is 2 stories tall.
v. New design removes “waviness”, which does not work at reduced height.
1. +1 floor is for mechanical, enclosing what the zoning allows to be put on the roof
vi. Will reduce total number of units to 168-178
vii. Parking is reduced to 123 spots, and they are aiming for the smallest possible ratio.
1. .5 for residens, increased amount of commercial (20), less visitor parking (13)
viii. FSI went from 13.8 to 8.6; zoning allows 6.5
ix. Ground floor museum is axed, as there is no interest. Will be all retail.
1. Full preston frontage is 6600 sq.f of retail; 4400 sq.f in basement.
2. Food/retail is the aim.
3. There will be space for sidewalk uses
x. Working with artist James Lahey on Podium cladding. There is an opportunity to do something neat as part of the entrance to the community.

g. Comments from board:
i.  they should not assume that we like the design because we don’t say that we hate it.
ii. what about proposed Section 37 benefits?
1. Lahey indicated that they were yet to be defined, but could go to the art.
iii.  why the garage was not underground, allowing for a 4-floor height reduction, and allowing for a more “alive” building.
1. Lahey indicated that he did not think and underground garage was the right thing to do here, and allows for something unique to be done. Thinks this is alive. Suggested that the problem with other podium garages (i.e. Mondrian) is in interpretation.
iv.   the building may or may not be right for the sight, but is concerned everyone always looks so grim.
v.   balconies had to be recessed.
1. Lahey indicated that this is not city policy; both Mondrian and Central have jutting-out balconies.
vi.   height of garage as compared to the co-op adjacent to the site.
1. It will be 1-1 ½ floors below.
vii. has city staff had seen the redesign.
1. Lahey indicated that they had, but not yet commented. It has been to the Urban Design Review Panel
viii. has review panel had commented on the garage.
1. Lahey indicated that it seemed to intrigue them, particularly with the art proposal.
ix. will all outdoor space on the 6th floor will be for amenities and whether it would be usable in winter.
1. Lahey indicated yes to both questions.
x. will anything will be underground.
1. Lahey indicated that there will be no parking underground, but it will allow for a bike room.
xi. what about the blank space on the western façade.
1. Lahey indicated that it will abut the adjacent condo building.
xii.   how many new people will live in the building.
1. Lahey suggested that it will be around 300 people, maybe as few as 250. The plan is for 9 units per floor,6 1-bedrooms and 3 2-bedrooms.
xiii. there is a community need for a grocery store.
1. Lahey suggested that it is hard to work with Ottawa food retailers, suggesting farmboy requireds 13,000 sq.f.

2) Presentation from Anil Naidoo, NDP Candidate for Ottawa Centre
a. Naidoo made several comments:
i. He has heard lots about the OMB on the doorstep.
1. We are the only province that has such interpretive powers, communities are losing trust in the process.
ii. Council has moved hard to the right, and inside the greenbelt has had a rough go since amalgamation.
iii. Believes that the planning act is outdated, it is not flexible or current enough.
iv. OMB takes the accountability off of council making hard decisions.
v. OMB is also developer biased, developers keep winning.
b. members questions on taxation and debt levels, and whether the NDP would investigate life insurance industry.
i. Naidoo said that debt is critical, and that it has doubled in the last few years.
ii. Does not believe that we are going to grow our way out of deficit, and that we are leaving people behind.
iii. Suggested it was bad policy to offer tax cuts to corporations.
iv. Would require that we add value here, by Ontario.
c. members indicated that the NDP was dead wrong on cutting the gas tax.

3) Passing last minutes
a. This was deferred to email.

4) Development Committee update
a. 317 Cambridge proposal. Are proposing bachelor/1 bedroom apartments.
1. Quality of façade will be raised.
2. 4+ ½ story
3. Under the zoning
ii. members indicated that it was not objectionable, but could be made better.
iii. Diane Holmes indicated that they are asking for brick exterior, not metal and stucco.

b. 801 Albert development by Phoenix.
i. Are proposing 2 office towers at 33 stories high at western end, 5 story structure near walnut court.
ii. members are concerned that there is no residential.
iii. Are asking for more less than minimum FSI

c. Chinese Alliance Church.
i. Street residents did not like the proposed compromise.
ii. DCA planning committee felt that the church hall was too big for the street.
iii. There was discussion and it was agreed that the institutional use was a problem.

d. Chi Condos.
i. The façade has been moved back, with the mass added to the top.
ii. some members indicated that he likes building something on the site, and more development will come, heights will change.
iii. others suggested that the original intent of the zoning is still valid.
iv. members expressed concern we might be offered worse later on.
v.   there was value in getting development going on that stretch, as it was depressing.
vi. There was no agreement amongst the board on how to proceed.

e. Cousin Edy’s.
i. A townhouse proposal for the site is coming.
f. Lada Dealership.
i. A Vancouver developer now owns the site, and a “Vancouver-style” development is expected.

g. Small infill Housing.
i. Alternative zoning changes are to restrict width of driveways, remove requirement to have parking at some.
h. There was some discussion as to how to proceed with future planning committee updates. It was agreed that a brief summary would be given for approval by the board. In situation of time constraints, the DCA planning committee was given the right to send off materials.

5) Transportation Committee Meeting Update
a. The committee did not meet.

6) City Centre Coalition Update
a. Ida Henderson updated
i. That the Western LRT route decision will come after the provincial election.
ii. Meetings are now the last Wednesday of the month.
iii. The Island Park representative suggested querying safety and transit studies. They are currently funded by the developers, which is a conflict of interest. Asked why the city does not currently contract them.
1.   the city currently peer reviews them.
2. Holmes agreed that there is a conflict.

b. PPRA update
i.   OC Transpo has closed of the Prince of Wales bridge, posted guards.
1.   the rationale for action had something to do with transport Canada regulations for unfenced railways.
ii. There was complaint that the north end of preston has been closed again.
1.   there is a plan to start remediating the soil there, with the access route going to be there.
2.   a path should be built from the bridge to Bayview station.

7) Bronson Reconstruction update
a. David Seaborn indicated that the Public Advisory Committee went well.

8) Commemorating famous residents by naming intersections as squares
a. Eric Darwin proposed that we name some intersections after local notables.
i. Used example of Larry Robillard, who was a WWII war hero that lived on Elm St.
ii. There was some discussion, and it was agreed that the space committee will work on it.

9) Councillors Update:
a. Diane Holmes indicated:
i. That 6 new trains have been purchased for the O-train, will come in 2014
ii. That the draft budget will be tabled with Council on October 26th.
iii. She is concerned about the direction of Preston street, with Little Italy having tried for years to maintain its flavor. She thinks tall buildings at the foot will make the street less welcoming, more difficult for people to come up Preston. There is a risk of it becoming a canyon.
iv. Must try to stop it now with the first one.

Meeting Adjourned.