There’s a triangular piece of land in our neighbourhood – on the block adjacent to our condo – that is currently undeveloped. There are two dilapidated rental homes on the property and not much else besides a copse of trees. In downtown Ottawa, that’s a prime target for a developer, especially given the city’s expressed desire to intensify dwelling-space in the core.
Back in 2008, you might remember our community had a brief run-in with a shifty, greedy, arrogant developer who was proposing a 10-storey apartment block on the site. Our community is only zoned for 4-storey apartment buildings, which would have put his development at more than double the allowed height!
Thankfully, after a loud and angry meeting with members of the community, we never heard from him again and development plans have lain dormant ever since.
A new group of developers recently held a consultation with the community association to present their plan: a low-density townhouse development. Minor concerns aside, the community was MUCH happier with this proposal, even applauding the developer and architect following their presentation.The lot would be the site of 10 townhouses, each at 1600 sq ft (1800 sq ft for two larger units). All are three-storey units, with a top floor set back from the street allowing for a terrace and making the building less imposing from the front. Prices are expected to be $600,000-$800,000, and these are freehold homes.
The developers are placing a high priority on maintaining the natural vegetation around perimeter of the site; tree preservation is one of their top priorities, they said. No re-zoning is required – just a few minor variances around width of driveway, distance of door from end of driveway, that sort of thing. The major variance will have to do with the plan to build right to the property line. There will be no front lawns for these units, except for the property owned by the city.Given the community’s ebullience, I imagine it’s only a matter of time before the project gets the go-ahead. Excavation will cause some headaches along all three streets, including our own – although, being a main corridor, they said it would be the least impacted. They hope to start in April/May 2013 and be done with excavation in about 6 weeks. After that, spillover onto the street should be minimal. Although I’m sure there will be lots of pounding hammers to wake us up in the morning.
So yes, it will involve some inconvenience, but it will be worth it. A nice development that actually blends into the community and removes the risk of future 10-storey developments on that site. I can live with the construction noise for a few months.