Westboro density reboot needed for better-balanced neighbourhood, residents say
Infill study could shape future of development along LRT
Today is the deadline for Westboro residents to have their say on the future of intensification in the rapidly growing neighbourhood west of Ottawa's downtown.
City council voted in October 2018 for a moratorium on the approval of multi-unit buildings from Golden Avenue east to Tweedsmuir Avenue, and Byron Avenue south to Dovercourt Avenue.
That moratorium was extended until 2020.
Eric Milligan, who has lived in a Westboro infill home himself for the past eight years, is encouraging his neighbours to send feedback to the city about the type of development they want in their neighbourhood.
"We'd like to get it back into balance. We think it's horribly out of balance right now," Milligan said.
He said people understand intensification is one of the city's objectives for the core, but that people want to protect aspects of their quality of life — especially as developers would apply to build triplexes and then seek variances to fit even more units on a lot.
"It's having a massive impact on the character of the neighbourhood, the amount of green space that's available on the lots, the destruction of mature trees, parking, congestion," he said.
Milligan said he thinks provincial rule changes will also be required to rebuild trust among his neighbours for a system they see benefiting developers.
Infill will spread along LRT, councillor says
Kitchissippi Coun. Jeff Leiper, who put forward the motion, said so far feedback has ranged from calling for greater height allowances close to the expanding LRT line, to trying to avoid change.
Leiper said he's glad the study asks people what they love about their neighbourhood so the city can format better zoning rules.
"The challenge is going to try to turn 'What I love about my neighbourhood' into new math. So we can describe it objectively and quantitatively," he said.
The councillor said the results of the Westboro study can be a model for other neighbourhoods as LRT spreads the pressure for intensification.
"Developers are going to start eyeing neighbourhoods, like what's around Blair Station, for the next wave of infill, so this study is probably going to give the city some new tools be able to address what the rules should be around infill," Leiper said.
Leiper said no single study or rule change will rebuild trust for community members, but having the city define and enforce rules based on what residents want should reduce the number of fights between the neighbours and developers.