GCA Meeting with Textbook Suites re: 744 Bronson Avenue development proposal

Dear Glebe Annex Residents,

Please find enclosed the following letter from the Glebe Community Association Planning Chair regarding the Textbook Suites proposal for 744 Bronson Ave.

Regards,

Scott Blurton
President, Glebe Annex Community Association

******************

Hello All,

A further update on this development application for student resident on Bronson Avenue.

On Friday, we met with Fraser Smith of Textbook Suites (developer), Carl Furney of FOTENN (Textbook’s planning consultant) at City Hall.  From the City, Steve Gauthier, who is now the planning file lead, as well as Doug James (senior planner) were also in attendance.  Bhagwant Sandhu (Pres., DLRA), Jim Lumsden (Planning Lead, DLRA), Matt Meagher (Traffic/Parking Chair, GCA) rounded out our delegation.  Thanks to all for their time.

I think we had a very open, frank and constructive discussion of the three key issues.  I will try to briefly summarise progress/status wrt each in turn:

1) Pedestrian entrance off Cambridge:  Textbook has agreed to make this a fire exit only, thus removing this as an issue.

2) Building height/massing – specifically, the 12 storey height in proximity to Cambridge St, as well as “slab-like massing effect” of the building when viewed from the south  given the 12 storeys now being carried farther west than earlier renditions, and farther west than Samcon 12 storey building. There was considerable discussion re: the need to try and limit the 12 storey height to roughly the mid property line (ie. mid point from east to west), which is essentially what Samcon had received approval for earlier (recall that Samcon proposed a 12 storey building facing Bronson, and a 6 storey building facing Cambridge).  The building height in proximity to Cambridge should respect the character of the residential streetscape, and roughly the height/massing previously approved for Samcon.  In addition, the massing needs to be broken up vis a vis views from the south so that it does not resemble a “monolithic slab” that fills the entire property east to west.  We had already received support from Councillor Chernushenko the previous week for these issues.  It is clear that city planning staff are also supportive.  The result being that Textbook has been asked to revise the building plans to address these concerns.  So I am optimistic that we will make progress on this issue.

3) Parking….still the most contentious issue.  Lots of debate and a full airing of the issues about what is the right balance of parking, given the building is intended for students, but no guarantee of course that it will only be students.  Textbook’s proposal for 31 spaces/minimal parking puts all of the risk related to greater than forecast student parking demand, rental to non-students, etc. on the community.  We conveyed to Textbook that following last week’s meeting, we have the support of our city Councillor in our contention that 31 spaces is simply too few.   Planning staff seem sympathetic and again, I don’t see how city staff could support the proposal for 31 spaces in light of the city having just inked draft recommendations for revised minimum parking requirements that would indicate 110 spaces – the gap is simply too large. Textbook has undertaken to review this issue.  At a minimum, I am a reasonably optimistic that a compromise proposal will be forthcoming.

Next steps are that the official/required comment period closes tomorrow, but comments will continue to be accepted and reviewed by planning staff.  City staff will prepare their consolidated comments and provide to Textbook (I will ask for a copy of these so we have a clear view of the city’s position).

Textbook has indicated that they will come back to us with updated proposals.

All for now,

Carolyn

Carolyn Mackenzie
Chair, Planning Committee
Glebe Community Association

Carolyn Mackenzie
Cell: 613 853 9005

Invitation to Ottawa Garden Days: June 17, 18 & 19, 2016

Your Invitation to Participate 

Ottawa Garden Days

June 17, 18 & 19, 2016

Join the Celebration!!!

Ottawa Garden Days is a three-day celebration that takes place over the Father’s Day weekend and aligned with Canada’s celebration of our National Garden Day.  The program’s objective is to draw attention to our garden culture, history and innovations and to underscore the importance of public and private gardens, the values of gardening and the promotion of environmental stewardship.

Program

Ottawa Garden Days activities, events and promotions will be held across the city in celebration of Ottawa’s Official Garden Day and align with the national Garden Days program.

Ottawa Garden Days is an opportunity for Ottawa residents to go outside in their own garden, visit or take part in their favourite garden experience. The program of activities, events and promotions will be featured on http://www.gardensottawa.org/ / http://www.jardinsdottawa.org

Register your Ottawa Garden Days Activity or Promotion

To celebrate Ottawa Garden Days, we invite you to organize special activities and/or promotions, at your garden, garden centre or in your community.  It could be as simple as a special event/activity you already have planned to hold over the Father’s Day weekend or something new such as: free or reduced-price admission to your garden, a discount in your shop or garden centre – it’s entirely up to you.  The intent is to profile what you do best and your support for gardens and gardening.

Whatever you decide to do, we invite you to register your activity or promotion, at no cost, on www.gardendays.ca .  It’s as simple as clicking on the ‘Register Your Activity’ button and inputting your Garden Days activity information.  Please do so ASAP as our Ottawa Garden Days to benefit from the promotional campaign.

 

As soon as you register your activity, we’ll send you the Garden Days Official Activity logo, which you can use in the promotion of your activity.

Marketing

Our spokesperson for 2016 is Mark Burleton, Manager of Grounds & Greenhouses, Rideau Hall. Ottawa Garden Days will be supported by a public relations and social media campaign geared to promote activities.

We will also be in contact with Garden Days national and Ontario’s spokespeople to let him know all about Ottawa Garden Days activities.

Ottawa Garden Days is a joyful celebration of the vital role that gardens and gardening play in our communities and our lives.

We hope you’ll get involved!

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Kind regards,

Gerald Lajeunesse

Canadensis – The Garden of Canada

Chair, Ottawa Garden Days Committee

info@gardendays.org

Ottawa Garden Days is organized by:

  • Ottawa Garden Council

Supported by:

Landscape Ontario – Ottawa Chapter; City of Ottawa; Ottawa Tourism; Community Gardening Network of Ottawa; National Capital Commission; Canadian Garden Council

2016 Sponsors:

VIA Rail Canada, Permacon; Hansen Lawn and Garden; Lafleur de la Capitale; Metroland Media

Knock on Wood; Louis Steak House

Letter to David Chernushenko Regarding Textbook Suites

Dear Residents,

I wanted to update you again regarding a meeting held with Councillor Chernushenko yesterday regarding the development application at this site. The meeting was attended by representatives from the Glebe Community Association, the Dows Lake Residents Association, and the Glebe Annex.

Key issues discussed included the issues raised in the recent GCA letter, namely, 1) 12 storey building height too close to Cambridge St 3) Introduction of a pedestrian entrance/exit off Cambridge Street, and 3) Significant reductions in parking. In addition, the more “monolithic” profile of the building particularly when viewed from the south was also discussed.

With regard to the parking issue raised, there was discussion that while 31 spaces is believed to be too significant of a reduction, the roughly 110 spaces required under revised minimum parking recommendations is probably more than what would be required or desired given this particular building location. Recent approval by the City’s Planning Committee for reduced parking at an existing apartment building in Centretown at a rate of .3 parking spaces/unit may provide one useful benchmark by which a compromise might be struck on this issue.

Our understanding now is that Councillor Chernushenko will support the community vis a vis the issues we raised (given the discussion above regarding likely seeking a compromise on parking). As a next step, he will work with City staff to arrange for a meeting with the developer, Textbook Suites, city planning staff, as well as community reps as early as next week. We are optimistic that this will result in improvements/revisions to the proposal.

Additional updates to follow, pending the meeting with the developer/city staff/Ward Councillor.

Carolyn Mackenzie
Chair, Planning Committee
Glebe Community Association

Glebe Annex Community Association Board Meeting – January 22, 2016

Glebe Annex Community Association

Meeting of the Board of Directors

 22 January 2016

Present: Scott Blurton, Brenda Quinlan, Maeve McMahon, Darlene Charron

Attending Other Land Development Meetings on G.A.C.A.’s behalf: Chris McCann and Ron Poirier

1. Call to Order:  The meeting was called to order at 6:40 p.m.

2. Welcome to All: 

Our new President, Scott Blurton, welcomed everyone to the first meeting of 2016.

3. Approval of the Agenda: Moved by Darlene. Seconded by Maeve.

4. Minutes from the November 18th meeting- 

Thank you to Peggy Kampouris (Co-secretary).

Minutes moved by Darlene. Seconded by Maeve.

5. Business Arising from the Last Meeting:

Application for Civic Funding

The application for 2016 had been submitted by our Past President, Sylvia Milne.

Unfortunately, our application for “Civic Funding” for an event in our park in 2016 was denied. Brenda presented the letter Sylvia had received from the City of Ottawa, to the board. The event needs to be tied into a long weekend.

Sixty-four applications were received totalling $157,000. The total amount available was $50,000.

Any future event in our park will have to come out of G.A.C.A. funds. We will still need a permit for any event.

In regards to storage of these types of letters from the City, it was proposed that some sort of binder be kept so that all of these letters can be filed by the names of committees. Darlene will set up a binder and use previous documents she had received from our past secretary, Lisa Furrie.

New Park Space from Federal Land

A response was received from Ken Slemko. Sue Stefko (our Parks’ Chair) had responded to this email inquiry. She has not heard back yet from the office of our new Ottawa Centre Member of Parliament, Catherine McKenna.

Action Item: Scott will follow up with the G.C.A. to make sure it is on the agenda and discussed at their next meeting on January 29th.

Henry Lane Concerns

1) The Absence/Malfunctioning of lights on Henry Street for several nights in a row in January. 

This matter was attended to by the city, subsequent to Maeve’s call.

2)  The Lack of Lighting on Henry Lane.

The initial concern was brought forward by longtime resident, Mrs. Schnobb, who passed away over Christmas. Maeve first called the city about it back in August.  The contact there said it was not city property, so not the city’s responsibility.  The person also said that there was no hydro pole there.  Maeve called the person back in the fall and mentioned there was a hydro pole (or at least what she thought was a hydro pole).  Then, when she called in January regarding the lack of/malfunctioning of lighting on Henry Street, she took the opportunity to again raise the Henry Lane lighting issue.  The voicemail received in response to that repeated that it was not city property.

Sue Stefko has obtained further information and has forwarded it to Peggy.

Action Item: Maeve will follow up with Peggy from Sue on this file. The urgency has lowered because Mrs. Schnobb, the person most concerned with this issue, has passed away. In the past, her son had put up the light. Neighbours are still interested in pursuing this matter.

Recommendation: Look into police incident reports for the area to support contention that lighting is needed.

Discussion of the threat from break-ins in the area. Residents are invited to report any

suspicious activity to the police.

Other Business

6. Treasurer’s Report 

Since Chris was attending another very important meeting on our behalf, we will be reviewing our balance at next month’s meeting. As of January 19th, there had been no changes. Full report next month.

Maeve mentioned that the owner of the Lieutenant’s Pump, John Couse, had donated $50 to G.A.C.A. A suggestion was to send a Thank You card to him.

Action Item: Brenda will take care of sending a GACA branded card with Scott’s signature.

7. Planning and Development: 

  • Demolition of 93, 99, 103 and 105 Norman Street

The City has received our comments regarding the demolition. This is the site of the Taggart development approved for that location. The OMB appeal by the Dalhousie Association begins the week of February 1st.

  • The Bronson Phase II

The meeting scheduled for last week, was canceled.

  • 770 Bronson Development

Chris McCann attended this meeting, representing the GACA Board. Some items to note which he forwarded to the Board:

The Community Consultation for the development proposal at 770 Bronson (formerly Emilio Lindia Enterprises, or auto repair garage at Bronson and Carling) included  the Glebe Community, Dows Lake and Glebe Annex and was hosted by 8 representatives of the developer, FOTENN,  TCUnited, JABER and the City.

 

The developer proposes a building of 85 rental units with 9′ ceilings and luxury amenities. The rental units would be a mix of 2 bedroom (800 sq ft), 1 bedroom (600 to 700 sq ft) and bachelor apartments plus 350 sq ft micro suites.  There would be balconies facing East, North and South.

 

There would be 3 levels of underground parking,  necessitating excavating and blasting to a depth of 45 metres.

 

The proposal asks the City for 3 variances from the zoning bylaw.  These variances are:

1)     changing the building height from 27.5 m (or 9 storeys) to 15 storeys  – a 67% increase in height over the regulation

2)     changing the provision for total parking – resident plus visitors – from 57 to 32 – a reduction of 44%

3)     changing the maximum floor space index from 3.15 to 5.34 – an increase of 70%

[Why does the City have development rules if developers are allowed to violate these rules?]

 

Entrance to the underground parking would be by turning right off Carling Ave and exit from the building would be by turning right onto Bronson Ave.  So if a resident wanted to leave the building and go downtown or go west of the center core they will cut through established residential neighbourhoods such as Dows Lake, the Glebe and Glebe Annex.

 

There is provision for a publicly accessible retail space on the second floor, perhaps a coffee shop but no attendant parking as it is assumed that all patrons, employees and trades people would commute via foot or bicycle.

 

Building would start in 2017 finishing in 2018.  The community consultation was well attended by vocal and polite residents.

 

Ryan Rutherford of TC United  613 986 2527 or 613 680 5582 or ryan.rutherford@tcunitedgroup.com  is open to dialogue.

  • Sound Barrier and Queensway

Ron Poirier is attending a meeting by the Ministry of Transportation regarding the sound barrier on the 417, running concurrently with this meeting.

He will report back to us at the next meeting.

  • Lebreton Development

Members are encouraged to watch the online webcast and participate in the online questionnaire regarding the proposals. Scott had expressed his interest but he will need to go to the GCA meeting that night. He will find someone to go. GACA will need to review the proposals before rendering its position.

8. Membership – Brenda Quinlan

Brenda reported that we are in a crisis. We are short of members and people on the board. She had a few suggestions to improve our situation:

1. Recruit people from the Lakelander:

Brenda will send Marni Crossley, President, an email.

The problem is that we don’t have anyone else from some of the other major

apartment buildings and condominiums. We need eleven canvassers for membership.

Brenda’s suggestion:  Send an email to our current members. We are not having success with our website. We need to review how we’re doing that. Brenda is looking to do a direct email to members.

2. Hold a “Canvassing Campaign” in May.

Scott will participate. We rejected PayPal as an option. We need canvassers. Scott will check with Abbas to sit outside in the springtime to sell memberships and be available to answer questions, like an “Outdoor Open House”.

Two options: Canvass over a month or canvass during a one-day blitz.

Action Items: This will be discussed further at the next meeting. Brenda and Chris can only vote by proxy for the next 2 months. She recommended sending an email by the end of March.

Darlene will look into getting the email membership list from Lisa. Scott will inquire into logins for the GACA website and Twitter.

Scott will write a letter entitled, “From the President” for the Glebe Report and for a mass email to members.

9. Ottawa 2017 Program

There is nothing new to report on Ottawa 2017 at this time. Details are available in Appendix A from the “Ottawa 2017 Presentation” in the November 18th minutes.

10. Bike Rodeo (Part of CanBike Program by Cycling Canada)

The “Bike Rodeo” is not under the “Ottawa 2017” initiative. Brenda has been in contact with the woman who can provide the funds for this initiative.

Action Item: Need for setting a date. Saturday May 28th or Saturday June 4th.

May 28th is the preference.

Weekday Event?  Whole afternoon workshop for adults. This would be great for the retired people who are available. Brenda suggested June 9th or 17th for an adult session.

11. Parks  

Sue Stefko has been keeping us in the loop by forwarding to Darlene all of the  emails from the G.P.C. Meetings (Minutes) and any new updates.

She attended the last Glebe Parks’ Committee on behalf of GACA in December. The committee had investigated the issue and concluded that the Dalhousie South Park did not fit the defined criteria for the “Pop-Up Parklet” initiative, due our park’s location. The pop-up parks idea is meant to go along busy streets, and turn them into temporary cafes or gathering spaces – not parks. The Parks committee figured it wasn’t a good match because we don’t have any busy commercial streets in our area. The “Pop-Up Parklet” is meant for something like Bank Street, for instance.

Fall Cleanup Update

Our group, thanks to Sue Stefko, won a draw prize for submitting its fall clean-up report. A draw will be held at our next board meeting for all those in our community who participated.

Spring 2016 Cleanup Campaign: Runs April 15th to May 15th.

G.A.C.A.’s date will be Saturday, May 7th with a rain date of Saturday, May 14th.

Darlene Charron will be assisting with coordination and will fill out our online application when the City of Ottawa’s “Spring Cleaning the Capital” website is up around March 15th.

She will also be attending the Tim Horton’s 2015 Cleaning the Capital Recognition Event on behalf of G.A.C.A., at Ottawa City Hall on Tuesday, January 26th.

12. FCA Report and the Glebe Report

Action Item: Scott will send a letter in point form to Doug Milne within two days. Doug has kindly offered to write up our news and developments for submission to the Glebe Report.

Suggestion: Post the latest news on a bulletin board at Abbas. Mention that residents will be soliciting help for canvassing. We encourage participation from our community.

13. Next Board Meeting: Wednesday, February 17th

Following Meetings: 

  • Wednesday, March 16th
  • Wednesday, April 20th
  • Wednesday, May 18th
  • Wednesday, June 15th

14. Adjournment at 8:15 p.m.

Moved by Brenda.  Seconded by Darlene.