Soho Italia, 500 Preston, again


755 Somerset Street West, Ottawa, Ontario, K1R 6R1
Eric Darwin, President

9 February 2012

Alain Miguelez,
Planning & Growth Mgmt. Dept.
City of Ottawa

Dear Sir,

Re: Re-Zoning of 500 Preston St. (Soho Italia)

On 25 January 2012, the Planning and Development Committee of the Dalhousie Community Association were given a presentation of perspectives and elevation drawings of a 30 storey apartment tower. This was the third proposal we have seen from the current developer. No shadow, traffic, wind studies or other impact material was presented.

You may recall that the OMB imposed a previous re-zoning from 6 storeys to a tower of 19 storeys with a high-calibre of design and a much smaller footprint.

The present proposal is much bulkier, much higher and of an unremarkable character.

We do not consider this location appropriate for such a significantly larger, higher, bulkier building. It is not on Carling Avenue where the highest buildings ought to be (such as directly flanking the O-Train or at the NRCAN site to the east). Instead it is a block further north. This will set a precedent for towers marching north on Preston, destroying its traditional main street form. If anything, this site should mark a transition downwards from Carling, and therefore no further increase to allowed height should occur here.

The previous needle blocked the open and sun-drenched view southwards from Preston Street towards Dows Lake in a minor way, whereas the present proposal’s bulk and height will have an enormous negative impact on the ambiance of Preston Street and for a greater distance.

It will also have an enormous negative impact on the low-rise residential areas east and west of Preston. There are no transitional components in this design.

None of the Official Plan, the Preston-Champagne Secondary Plan, or the draft CDP call for high rises at the south end of Preston Street. There is adequate capacity in the current zoning to meet intensification targets. An increase in allowed height at this site is not justified. There is no reason to overthrow the 2005 OMB approval of a needle thin 19 storey building: the major factors of intensification and proximity to the O-train are unchanged.


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

Yours truly,

Eric Darwin, President