Ottawa city council has rejected a controversial nine-storey student residence off the University of Ottawa campus in Sandy Hill.

The proposed 180-unit residence at Laurier Avenue East and Friel Street had been approved by the city's own planners, and a month ago the city's planning committee also gave it the green light.

But in a 14 to 9 vote, councillors rejected the plan.

Viner Assets student housing Sandy Hill

Ottawa's planning committee had approved Viner Assets' proposal for a new student housing complex in Sandy Hill, but city council rejected it. (CBC)

Mayor Jim Watson voted against the project and said it didn't fit the neighbourhood and wasn't the right solution to the university's student housing shortage.

"This is not affordable housing, it wasn't going to be associated with the university and yet it's going to be a de facto student residence with 24-hour security," said Watson.

"I just didn't feel comfortable with the proposal in front of us," he said.

The new building would have replaced six existing homes.

Nearby residents are celebrating the vote as a victory.

Developer Viner Assets is expected to appeal council's decision to the Ontario Municipal Board.