In-fill in QTN and Committee of Adjustment

Can 35 variances to every aspect of a proposal be a “minor variance?” Is a lot that is more than 75 square metres short of the minimum required in the land-use bylaw a “minor variance”? The purpose of variances is to address “peculiarities” of a property. There is nothing “peculiar” about the lots at 830-840 Alpine, but this week the Committee of Adjustment approved 35 variances and severance into five lots, which will see two semi-detached and one detached home replace three existing units.

The purpose of Committee of Adjustment hearings is to consider context and potential impacts. Anyone who reviews the record of recent hearings on proposals in QTN will see that the panel does not give any consideration to evidence of negative impacts brought forward by neighbours and community speakers. The process itself would not meet any reasonable test of a fair process with a level playing field for deciding what is appropriate in-fill for a particular location.

All of this is happening in the name of intensification. QTN supports appropriate intensification; the Official Plan says intensification should enhance the existing character of a neighborhood. There is a difference between in-fill that enhances a neighbourhood and in-fill that does not fit well and has significant negative impacts for neighbours and other residents.

QTN will not get the kind of “in-fill” that enhances the neighbourhood as long as the Committee of Adjustment approves every request for variances and severances without seriously considering the context and negative impacts. In its submission for the new Official Plan, the QTN community association proposes major changes to the way City planning decisions are made, to give more weight to what will work in each neighborhood. If the City wants public support for intensification, the process has to change.

Kathy Vandergrift, Chair of QTN Planning Committee

3 thoughts on “In-fill in QTN and Committee of Adjustment

  1. Michael O'Byrne says:

    Good to see this response.
    The whole subject of intensification needs to be revised, especially in light of the current pandemic. People are rushing to get out of Toronto and other large cities that have been ‘intensified’ to the point of insanity. Areas that have a high population density are being given preferential treatment because covid is spreading faster there.
    The whole character of Ottawa is under attack, pretty soon we won’t be a ‘green’ city any more if the ‘experts’ on housing have their sway.
    What we need to do is to publish the names of each councillor who votes for these infill developments so that we can hold them accountable come the next election.

  2. Andy says:

    This meeting was pure theatre. No public interest or good was taken into consideration. Committee members simply apply mechanical rules and offer leeway on variances in favour of developers no matter how many and how divisive they are.

  3. Joseph Trus says:

    I am horrified & as a Canadian ashamed by the monumental waste represented by the proposed demolition & scrapping of 2 perfectly good houses. This is not in any way in the spirit of “intensification”. This is wanton waste on a grand scale & proof positive, among other things, that the real estate mania has resulted in The Wild West for property developers. As I put a can & a piece of paper in the recycle, I am once again reminded of the futility of what I am doing when I hear of a project like this.

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