Proposed Development at 248 Main Street – Main/Hawthorne Zoning Agreement Threatened by City Planning Approval

John Dance

A unique and important feature of the “traditional mainstreet” (TM) zoning for Old Ottawa East’s Main Street and Hawthorne Avenue is not properly understood by some developers and City planning staff, says the planning committee of the Old Ottawa East Community Association.

A new three-storey commercial and residential building will replace an old house at 248 Main Street, but the OOECA planning committee questions whether the front yard setback provision of the zoning has been respected. Photo by John Dance

A new three-storey commercial and residential building will replace an old house at 248 Main Street, but the OOECA planning committee questions whether the front yard setback provision of the zoning has been respected. Photo by John Dance

Unlike TM zoning elsewhere in Ottawa, the TM zoning in Old Ottawa East requires that new developments have a two to three metre setback of the building from the front lot line.

As was negotiated with the City a decade ago when the OOE community design plan and subsequently the OOE secondary plan were approved, this setback provision is meant to encourage pedestrians to “linger” and provides an opportunity for the commercial stores to place private signage, merchandise displays, other temporary appurtenances such as an outdoor seating area.

A recent City approval of a new three-storey development at 248 Main Street allows permanent fixtures within the setback area. The community association is protesting this and wants to ensure that future Main and Hawthorne developments respect the intent of the setback area.

“The intent of this proposal [248 Main] is to contribute to the requirements of the existing traditional mainstreet zone by introducing new commercial space not currently present along this section of the street as well as provide two large-size luxury residential suites not normally found in current developments in the area,” says the Skyscraper website that reports on development proposals in Ottawa.


John Dance is chair of the OOECA planning committee.

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