OCN staff writer
Ottawa Construction News invited Alain Miguelez, program manager, intensification and zoning, to answer two questions regarding the debate about the infill zoning bylaw. Here are the questions, and his responses in a written statement.
How do you respond to the concerns that setting very fixed standards for a plurality of homes in the neighbourhood will stifle innovation and could preclude innovative design?
The city encourages residential infill and innovative architecture, but it must be respectful of established streetscape character. The draft by-law aims at achieving this balance of allowing creativity in architecture while focusing the rules on things that make infill houses fit in better with their surroundings. How parking is included is a big part of this integration.
What changes do you anticipate making (if any) in this draft bylaw to overcome the issues and concerns raised by the community associations and industry?
The city’s proposed approach has many benefits, including:
- No need for site plan;
- Happier neighbours;
- Higher likelihood of approval;
- Easy to do as part of routine design work that happens anyway;
- The rules are flexible enough to allow for variation and innovation in architecture – something the market considers important;
- No extra costs, no extra surveys.
“City staff have gone above the normal OMB appeal process requirements and shared information with the appellants and community stakeholders related to the revisions being proposed,” Miguelez wrote.
In a further statement, he added: “The city is providing ongoing opportunities for dialogue with the development industry and community stakeholders on the draft by-law, which remains draft until approved by city council. The city is receptive to good ideas that will improve the by-law to better ensure that it accomplishes council’s stated goal of ensuring that infill fits with the established character of mature neighbourhoods.”