Residents relieved units won’t be built on Glenora

By Meredith Newberry

Olivier Basset, Tom Allen and their neighbours are celebrating that excavators won’t be rolling in beside them anytime soon. They stopped a three-storey, three-unit apartment building from being built beside them on their street in Old Ottawa East.

173 Glenora Street is currently a vacant lot, surrounded by two-and three-storey homes. Basset, Allen and a group of neighbours worked together with the Old Ottawa East Community Association (OOECA) to argue their case at the City of Ottawa’s Committee of Adjustment. The Committee agreed that the proposed building was out of scale for the street, too large for the size of the lot and would impair the neighbour’s enjoyment of their property.

This win at the Committee of Adjustment is relatively unique in OOE where recent proposals for similarly-sized development lots have been approved by the Committee. Most recently, the Committee approved variances to construct a three-storey semi-detached building and another two-storey detached dwelling on newly-severed lots at 31 Simcoe Street.

Basset credits the community association and the hard work of his neighbours for stopping the proposed building on Glenora Street. They worked together, extensively researching former Committee appeals to understand the process and what the Committee was looking for by way of community arguments.

Basset hopes this win at Committee of Adjustment can help others contain this type of development and encourages others to learn as much as they can about the process. “In the end this is about levelling the playing field so that neighbours have a reasonable chance to be listened to,” he said.

“Ron Rose from OOECA was instrumental in presenting community interest and clearly articulating the issue of precedence,” said Basset.

Rose is chair of the OOECA planning committee. His committee and the association work closely with residents who are facing similar situations and may be affected by buildings proposed for their neighbourhood. The community association often plays a role communicating between variance applicants and neighbours. In this specific project, they discussed issues and solutions with both the owners of 173 Glenora and the neighbours; supported the neighbours in creating their arguments before the Committee of Adjustment; and also presented the interests of the community association at the hearing.

Buoyed by this first win, the neighbours are preparing to go to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) later this year when the owners of 173 Glenora are hoping to overturn the decision of the Committee of Adjustment.

As reported in the February issue of the Mainstreeter, the OMB is being dismantled, but it continues to have appeals jurisdiction for cases like this one that was initiated prior to the enactment of the legislation abolishing the Board.

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