Posted by: HamptonIona | May 8, 2010

Next Steps for the Convent Redevelopment

As most people are now aware, Ashcroft has filed their application for the rezoning of the Soeur de la Visitation Convent site (see here). The file is expected to go forward to the Planning Committee in mid-July. While the official notice indicated that the public should submit comments by May 20, Doug James, the planner in charge of the file has advised in writing that they City is prepared to accept written comments until mid-June.

Hampton Iona Community Group will be holding its AGM later this month (date to be finalized) where the convent will be a key topic of discussion.

Unlike typical applications where the developer is arguing that their proposed development meets the existing zoning, Ashcroft will be requesting that the site be rezoned to mixed-use. The eventual rezoning of the Convent was envisioned in the Richmond Road Corridor Community Design Plan. This plan was was prepared by the City in consultation with community members, merchants and developers. The plan was subsequently adopted by City Council as the Richmond Road Corrider Secondary Plan. While the community in drafting the Community Design Plan was in favour of intensification of the site and the Richmond Road corrider, Ashcroft’s proposed development would greatly exceed the height and density envisioned for the Convent site as outlined in the Community Design Plan. While any development would have some impact on the neighbourhood, this higher level of development is going to have much more significant impacts and as pointed out by Councillor Leadman, would result in Richmond Road meeting its 2030 intensification targets.

If you have any comments on this development, you are encouraged to write the Planning Department. Comments should be sent to Doug James (douglas.james@ottawa.ca, fax:613-560-6006, tel: 613 580-2424, ext. 13856). Staff and Council are following this application closely. You should copy Councillor Leadman. You may also copy the Hampton Iona Community Group for our information. It is also recommended that you let other councillors know what you think of this development and you are encouraged to suggest to friends and family in other parts of the City that they write their councillors. This development is going to be a key test as to whether Council stands behind its Secondary Plans.

Typically, when an application is made that exceeds the existing zoning and the developer tries to convince City Staff and Council that the zoning is indeed being met, zoning arguments from the public have the greatest impact. In this case, the zoning is not already in place. Ashcroft will be asking for heights and density that exceeds what was expected for the site. As such, if you are not in favour of the development as it is currently proposed, you may wish to note why the requested zoning is not appropriate for the neighbourhood and the impacts that it will have on the neighbourhood. It may also be useful to note how it does not meet the intent of the Secondary Plan. (The Secondary Plan can be found here–the Convent is covered in Sector 6 on page 47). Given the current heritage designation of the entire site, comments can also cover your thoughts on whether you believe the proposed development respects the heritate of the site, including the convent and the grounds. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Hampton Iona Community Group here.

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