City not sticking up for Westboro: Leiper
Councillor frustrated by approval process
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.”
These homes along Byron Avenue were originally approved with three units, but built with four.
metro | ottawa