Ottawa homebuilders worried about stricter infill rules
Driveways, entrance ways and front yards would have to match 'character' of street
Proposed rules for infill housing that would require Ottawa home builders doing landscaping to more closely match the "character" of the street should be shelved until the city has studied their impact more carefully, according to the head the Greater Ottawa Homebuilders Association.
The city's planning committee is expected to debate and vote on updated standards to the city's infill rules next week.
The rules are aimed at better blending infill housing or renovations with the existing look of an inner-city neighbourhood, and while they don't apply to the architecture of the home, they would apply to front yards, entrance ways and driveways.
"The new infill rules are very simple: Your street gives you the rules," said city planner Alain Miguelez.
"No matter where you are, your street has a character, so if you're building a new house or if you're making changes to your house that are visible from the street, the starting point for the design is look around you," said Miguelez.
Contractors worry the rules would severely limit what they are able to do.
Greater Ottawa Homebuilders Association head John Herbert said he is concerned the new rules will add an extra layer of bureaucracy and cost.
"They're now going to have to do up front work with respect to what is allowable under the new bylaw, because they're all going to be controlled and regulated now," said Herbert.
The Association is asking the city's planning committee to hold off on next week's vote, and give the new rules more consideration.
Contractor Kirk Shook said he worries the new rules go too far.
"It's limiting for us as contractors, it's limiting for the homeowner," said Shook.