Big, modern home plans up in the air

A homeowner who wants to build a large, modern house in an older Ottawa neighbourhood must wait to find out if his controversial plans can go ahead.

A homeowner who wants to build a large, modern house in an older Ottawa neighbourhood must wait to find out if his controversial plans can go ahead.

A city committee of adjustment decided Wednesday to postpone its decision on the dispute that is causing an uproar on Western Avenue in West Wellington. The committee is expected to make a ruling within the next five days.

Residents appeared before the committee Wednesday over what they said are the overambitious plans of their neighbour, Brent Waddell.

He owns a two-storey 60-year-old brick home that he plans to demolish and replace with a larger home featuring a modern architectural style. While the house will remain two-storeys, his neighbours say it will stretch out far into his backyard, obstructing the view from their own yards.

Nora Fyles, who has a perennial garden that runs the length of her backyard, said the 60-foot-long rectangular structure will obliterate the sun from most of her garden.

"It's a large structure to squeeze into a fairly small piece of property," said Fyles. "The design looks like it might be an office building.  It doesn't look like a home in the nature of the houses in this neighbourhood."

Faye Steinburg fears the new building will take away her privacy: "They are proposing a rooftop terrace and they'll be able to stand up there and look down into all the backyards."

Waddell believes the size of his home is less an issue than the style of building in question.

"There's lots of examples of homes in the city where newer construction has been built in older neighbourhoods," said Waddell. "And I really feel that the home does fit there....It's just a lot of people don't like the modern, square-style of architecture we've chosen."

Martha Wilson, who lives two doors down, disputes that.

"It's not the style so much as it is the size of the building," she said, echoing Fyles's concerns about the shadow that the building will cast.

Waddell argues the property is actually zoned for a three-storey triplex - something far larger than what he is proposing.

He said his proposal is "well in keeping with the similar massing" in the neighbourhood.