Ottawa’s planning committee approves $66.7 million budget for 2018: Permit fees to increase by two per cent in 2018

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Ottawa’s planning committee has  approved its 2018 draft budget, including $17.4 million in capital funding and $49.3 million in operating expenses related to planning. The bulk of the operating budget is recovered through user fees, such as building permit fees, which the city says would increase by about two per cent on Jan. 1.

Capital spending approved by the committee primarily relates to affordable housing initiatives. Specifically, $15.7 million would be used to provide more than 100 new affordable rental or supportive housing units, the city said in a news release. “That funding would also support accessibility modifications and renovations for more than 100 low income seniors and people with disabilities, under the Investment in Affordable Housing program and the Social Infrastructure Fund,” the news release said.

The operating budget includes $45.6 million to support planning expenses for the city’s Ontario Building Code services, planning services and right of way, heritage and urban design work, all of which would be fully recovered from fees for service. Additional operating expenses include $3.4 million for long-range planning and $376,000 for affordable housing.

The news release reported that fees, starting Jan. 1, would increase by approximately two per cent for a variety of planning services, including heritage applications, inspections, the development review process, Ontario Building Code services and permits, including for outdoor patios.

The committee also approved the Neighbourhood Revitalization Strategies for Heatherington and Vanier South-Overbrook as part of the Building Better Revitalized Neighbourhoods initiative.

Both strategies include a long-term vision for neighbourhood revitalization, “but the real focus of each is an action plan divided into short, medium and long-term initiatives,” the city said in the news release. “Developed in consultation with community stakeholders, the proposed initiatives include road improvements, neighbourhood beautification, improved programming for children and youth, new urban parkland sites, improved cycling facilities, better bus stop accessibility and support for the creation of community hubs.”

The planned 2018 initiatives are estimated to cost $200,000 and will be funded through the planning committee’s 2018 operating budget.

The committee also approved construction of a five-storey, mixed-use building at 667 Bank St., along with the necessary zoning amendments. The building would include retail on the ground floor and four residential levels above.

A zoning amendment was also considered for Southminster United Church at 1040 Bank St., which would permit redevelopment of the lands behind the church building. The committee directed city planning staff to work with the developer on the possibility of reducing the height of the proposed six-storey apartment building.

The committee approved the addition of a contemporary, two-storey extension at 551 Fairview
Ave., part of the Rockcliffe Park Heritage Conservation District.

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