City of Ottawa Residential Growth Management Strategy
Click HERE to read MVCA's submission to the City Committees on this topic
Update on Residential Growth Management Strategy
One of the most important discussions around the future direction of the City happened over two days at the joint Planning Committee and Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee virtual hearing on May 11 and 12. The discussion focused on how the City will meet future housing needs of Ottawa residents through a Residential Growth Management Strategy.
No decision was made on the Strategy as Committee members had to gather additional input from City staff as a result of questions raised during the presentations. For example, Councillors are looking for some indication of costs associated with the options before making a decision.
The committee will be making a decision before the May 27 Council meeting as well as voting on a series of amendments proposed at the Committee meeting.
For Manotick and area residents an important amendment is one that will ensure that prime agricultural land will not be used to develop future neighbourhoods. We are also expecting confirmation that we continue to have a 1 km buffer around the Village protecting us from urban boundary expansion.
What is the Strategy about?
The Growth Management Strategy is a key part of the City’s Official Plan and will address housing needs in the future. The City has determined the population will grow by 402,000 people by 2046 and this growth will require the provision of an additional 195,000 residential units. City staff have recommended a Balanced Scenario that would include an increase in intensification, some growth in the urban boundary and continued growth in rural villages that have the necessary infrastructure.
The focus will be on development close to existing transportation nodes, limiting the need for new infrastructure and creating walkable neighbourhoods. Intensification is expected to be a mix of high-rise close to transit and smaller 3-4 unit buildings integrated into existing neighbourhoods. Most of the growth in rural villages is already accounted for in existing development plans such as Manotick’s Mahogany Development.
The future expansion of the urban boundary would be based on several criteria, some of which could change following the recent hearing. The criteria include how close the parcels are to existing development, how close they are to transit, what infrastructure already exists in the area, and more. Full details of the draft Strategy are located at https://engage.ottawa.ca/the-new-official-plan
The Committees received over 1000 written submissions by the May 8 deadline and over 100 individuals, including developers, community groups, planners, activists and ordinary citizens, appeared before the virtual Committee hearing.
Presenters talked about the need to expand the boundary to be able to provide affordable housing, the need to ensure that amenities and infrastructure are in place prior to development, the need for walkable communities, the need for affordable housing in urban areas for a variety of groups, the need for protection of agricultural land and the need to provide housing suitable for a variety of demographic groups including seniors and multicultural family units.
The presentation by MVCA called on the City to:
protect agricultural lands
maintain the 1 km buffer zone around rural villages
ensure sufficient green space is included in any new development, particularly high rise developments close to transit.
adhere to the Manotick Secondary Plan, which outlines the key components of our walkable community
develop more 15 minute walkable communities throughout the City
In addition, we asked the City to consider the possibility of future pandemics and their impact on housing in the development of its Strategy.
What happens next?
The Strategy will go to Council for final approval on May 27 before being submitted to the Minister of Municipal Affairs for final okay. There is no opportunity to appeal the Strategy as it is part of the Official Plan. Therefore, the Council decision will stand unless the Minister does not approve it. The MVCA will continue to monitor the process over the coming year as the City moves to finalizing its Official Plan.
City of Ottawa's Official Plan information can be found at:
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