City not stick­ing up for West­boro: Leiper

Coun­cil­lor frus­trated by ap­proval process

Metro Canada (Ottawa) - - Front Page - Kieran de­la­m­ont

An Ot­tawa coun­cil­lor pointed the fin­ger at the city for al­low­ing de­vel­op­ers to rou­tinely play fast and loose with the ap­proval process to get zon­ing amend­ments for units that have al­ready been built.

Coun. Jeff Leiper called on the plan­ning com­mit­tee to re­ject an ap­pli­ca­tion from Peloso Con­struc­tion, which was ask­ing for zon­ing changes that would al­low them to add a fourth unit to two build­ings at 266 and 270 By­ron Av­enue.

Tech­ni­cally, those units have al­ready been built: they were “roughed in” by the builder, and la­belled as stor­age un­til the builder could go back to the city and get fur­ther ap­proval.

Leiper was the sole nay vote against the ap­pli­ca­tion.

“I guess I’m not sur­prised,” he said after the vote. “This is a con­tin­u­a­tion of some­thing that we’re see­ing hap­pen time and time again in the ward.”

This is a prac­tice that Leiper says is frus­trat­ing res­i­dents of West­boro. Leiper says pre­lim­i­nary data shows that West­boro has had a pre­pon­der­ance of in­fill de­vel­op­ment com­pared to other ur­ban wards, and the is­sue of de­vel­op­ers seek­ing after-the-fact ap­provals has worn away at res­i­dents’ trust in the city.

“I ex­pect res­i­dents will be dis­mayed, as they al­ways are, to hear that the process has been cir­cum­vented,” said Leiper. “We are get­ting used to it, un­for­tu­nately, in the ward. This city does not seem to have our back with re­spect to de­vel­op­ment.”

Mur­ray Chown, who spoke on be­half of Peloso, said that the cum­ber­some ap­proval process is to blame, not the de­vel­op­ers. These types of ap­pli­ca­tions are com­ing from small de­vel­op­ers, he said, that “can’t af­ford the carry-on costs as­so­ci­ated with the de­lays and costs of site plan ap­proval.”

Leiper said that is part of the prob­lem. “These are de­vel­op­ers who are in­ter­ested in get­ting into our com­mu­nity, mak­ing as much money as quickly as pos­si­ble, and leav­ing,” he said. “There’s no rep­u­ta­tion to pro­tect. These are de­vel­op­ers who don’t have a stake in our com­mu­nity.”

Leiper had hoped to send the file to the On­tario Mu­nic­i­pal Board to “gum up the works,” and “send a mes­sage that you’re not go­ing to have an easy rub­ber stamp from the city when you cir­cum­vent the process.”

Ryan Tu­milty/metro

These homes along By­ron Av­enue were orig­i­nally ap­proved with three units, but built with four.

metro | ot­tawa

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