Wellington West Condo Proposal

A developer had proposed a 12-storey, 75-unit condo building on Wellington Street West, but the city's official plan limited the building height to nine storeys. (Courtesy Westboro Community Association)

Developers in Ottawa are taking the city to the Ontario Municipal Board over its official plan, saying height limits and other measures in the plan are too prescriptive.

The Building Owners and Managers Association of Ottawa says the city's development plan, which was approved late last year, doesn't reflect what residents want.

Mayor Jim Watson said the city's development plan is to protect community design plans and said homeowners want certainty in their community.

"They want certainty and predictability when it comes to planning issues because when someone buys their home its usually their most expensive investment in their life and they want to make sure that they know the rules of the game and they don't constantly change," said Watson.

Watson said BOMA's decision to appeal the city's plan is "nothing new" and said he wanted developers to stop treating the city's planning rules like "mere suggestions."

In a recent example, Mizrahi Developments went to the city hoping to get the city to pay the costs of cleaning up a contaminated property at the corner of Wellington Street West and Island Park Drive, or approve a plan to allow the building to rise to 12 storeys to make it financially viable.

Both the developer and Kitchissippi councillor Katherine Hobbs said in this case, the community was behind the development.

But the city’s finance committee rejected the proposal, and Wednesday city council upheld that decision.

Planning committee chair Peter Hume said paying the remediation costs or bending the rules on building height for one developer would open the door to other challenges.

"If we allow this to go forward, this will be used against us like a club," he said.