City of Ottawa Proposed Changes to the Zoning Bylaw:
Reduction in Minimum Parking Requirements for New Developments
The City of Ottawa is proposing to eliminate parking requirements for new developments (commercial, residential and office). The proposal will affect the Centrepointe and College Square areas, as well as many other areas of the city. Members of the Community Association met with a planner from the City of Ottawa, and Councillor Chiarelli on March 5 to obtain some background on the Planning Department initiative. In collaboration with the Councillor, the Community Association has undertaken to organize a meeting for March 23, at 7:00 pm in the Studio Theatre at Ben Franklin Place to present more background and encourage discussion of the impact of the changes.
We were advised that the objective of the changes to parking requirements is to restrict the number of parking spaces in new developments to encourage people to make more use of the rapid transit alternatives, including the LRT, largely because the City does not believe that the ever-expanding suburbs that focus on ease of use of the automobile is sustainable. It was argued that reducing parking would reduce automobile use thereby freeing land for more intensive development and reducing traffic congestion.
The area around Baseline station, including part of Centrepointe, will be zoned for special regulations to encourage development and encourage use of the light rail transit (LRT). In other parts of the city, similar zoning regulations will apply around LRT stations. The current parking requirements are 4 spaces per 1,000 square feet of commercial space, and 1 parking space per residential unit, with a small percentage set aside for visitor parking. The proposed changes would set the minimum at zero spaces in both instances. The City is proposing to set the maximum number of parking spaces in a separate proposal, to be addressed during the latter half of 2016.
The main effect of these changes, will be to increase traffic in and around Centrepointe, and to increase spillover parking in areas adjacent to new developments. While the City acknowledges that there may be increased on street parking as a result of these changes, it believes that parking bylaw enforcement can reduce the impacts.
The proposed changes are in line with other activities the City is undertaking, including intensification, but little is being proposed to reduce the impact of the changes on current and future residents. In other words, they are proposing changes that may have negative impacts on residents, but they are not proposing any substantive changes that might address these negative impacts, or reduce the likelihood they will occur.
The City has more details at www.ottawa.ca/minimumparking. The proposed changes affect locations identified as Area Z – around LRT stations, with part of Centrepointe and College Square identified as an Area Z.
After the meeting, you and the Community Association will have until April 5 to make comments to the City.
Please join us at the meeting.
Wed. March 23, 2016
Ben Franklin Place
Studio Theatre, 101 Centrepointe Drive