Ottawa

Council rejects 'condo for clutter' on Clyde Avenue

Ottawa city council voted 17-5 to reject an application by Dymon Storage to bend local zoning rules and build a warehouse on a largely vacant triangle of land that could some day be home to people instead of 'people's stuff.'

Dymon Storage warehouse had support of staff, planning committee

Dymon Storage wanted to build a 12th warehouse in Ottawa, complete with a drive-through restaurant at its base, on Clyde Avenue. (Fotenn for Dymon)

Ottawa city council has rejected a proposal by Dymon Storage to build a new warehouse on Clyde Avenue, a project dismissed by the area's councillor as a "condo for clutter."

The 17-5 vote represented an unusual reversal, given both city planning staff and the planning committee had recommended a zoning exemption for the self-storage company.

In December, Knoxdale-Merivale Coun. Keith Egli failed to convince the planning committee to reject the proposal, quoting Japanese decluttering guru Marie Kondo as he argued the site should be turned into homes for people, not "people's stuff," especially given its proximity to a future bus rapid transit route.

He repeated that argument Wednesday.

"I find it ironic on the same day we're going to be talking about whether we have a housing emergency ... that we're debating whether or not to take land that is already zoned for people to live, and turn it into a condo for clutter," Egli said.

'Merivale Road is not a lost cause'

2 years ago
1:18
Coun. Keith Egli encouraged fellow councillors to vote against the construction of a storage facility on Merivale Road, saying the land would be better used to build housing. 1:18

Appeal will likely succeed, city lawyer says

The city's director of planning services, Doug James, said staff had supported the proposal because the building's density and ground-floor commercial spaces suited an arterial route like nearby Merivale Road.

The city's planning lawyer, Tim Marc, advised council Dymon could successfully appeal the decision at the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal. The city would have to pay an outside lawyer to defend the decision, Marc noted.

But Coun. Riley Brockington said he makes decisions based on good planning, not the threat of a legal fight.

"I'm urging you to say that Merivale Road is not a lost cause, that we can fix Merivale Road, we can make it more liveable," Egli said.

Councillors Jan Harder, Tim Tierney, George Darouze, Scott Moffatt and Eli El-Chantiry voted in favour of the rezoning.

Doug Yonson, treasurer of the Fisher Heights Community Association, said the largely vacant triangle where Merivale and Baseline roads meet Clyde Avenue, could be put to better use.

"It has a huge potential for proper development for housing, for other uses," Yonson said.

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