Carling-Preston CDP: 72 ways to offend (part ii)

height maps


Height Map

14. The Sherwood Drive intersection is not well enough handled. The triangular block (now a mini-mall) offers opportunity for a higher building with distinction and possibly good landscaping. Then allow low zoning for a long, linear building(s) along Carling east of Sherwood, creating a noise buffer, lower-rise gateway to the Civic Hospital area, with a courtyard between it and Domicile’s towers, creating a variety of heights in this composition rather than just a collection of towers that obstruct each other’s views. I am pleased to see some mention of sight lines in this report, a planning issue the city has avoided.

15. The suggestion of another tower along Champagne in behind Emerald Towers is good, provided there is enough breathing space between the two towers. A longer low-to-mid (eg six floors)  rise would make a better transition to the park elevation and a better composition of built form. It should share a landscaped deck level with Emerald Towers and not a surface parking lot.

16. There is no suggested height limit for a tower to replace the rezoned houses immediately west of Domicile’s tower at Hickory. Please identify how these houses are to be redeveloped. I note that developers already own three of these lots.

17. Further north, the Young Street Motors site is marked as 15 stories. Any height at all would be acceptable here, just like along Orangeville Street noted earlier. It throws no shadow, has open space for views, has downtown views, and sound-buffers the other areas to the south.

18. The very tall high rise zone immediately around the Carling Station is good. There is room for more than two high rises on the Dow Motors site, especially if Sydney is shortened to cars.

19. Preston main street is marked as 6 stories, which is fine. At the south end, the Soho Italia site is marked as being 6 stories along the sidewalk. The approved building isn’t that way now, having a semi-fake podium drawn on the building and a trompe d-oeil cinched waist just above it. Is Dark or the City calling for a better more pronounced six storey face along Preston?  If not, the blue height designation extending all along Preston from Adeline to Carling is misleading bumpf. Some details, please.

20. The city may require landscaped open space on the east side of the CIBC site at Carling, or the Beech-Rochester Street corner owned by Arnon, but the city need not assume these as parks. They can be left to be developed and maintained by the adjacent buildings, just like was done for the Hudson condo on Kent Street. Do not permit any use of this setback for parking, layby, or front door drop off zone or Para transpo pickup zones. Green space must be green.

21. Extending the commercial mixed use mainstreet zone along Beech is fine, but only for new buildings. Existing residential buildings should remain residential; only new buildings would be permitted to have commercial space. This will prevent the ugly conversion of scattered housing to commercial uses, and encourage/incent real redevelopment. Half-assed conversions already blight the neighbourhood, let’s not add more.

22. The nine storey zoning along Aberdeen, south side, is curious, and needs rationale as to why it goes more than half way thru the block and raises concerns about how the lower rise limit can be continued along Beech without becoming a fake, drawn on belt line at the sixth floor of a taller building that “faces” Aberdeen and “backs” onto Beech. I suspect developers will see this as a block-buster loophole.

23. The medium profile 9 storey zoning along the east side of the OTrain cut and north side of Adeline is just plain wrong. It too-severely prunes the low rise area, making it unviable and subject to spot rezoning. The call for a mews street along the OTrain is an undesirable consequence of having towers here.  Leaving the area four floors won’t require new roads or bridges. New vehicular bridges over the OTrain cut will undesirably segment the OTrain MUP, drastically reducing its viability as a cycling arterial. The only new roads are proposed where low rise buildings are, and never where high rise zoning is in place – surely this isn’t the result of catering to powerful developers? Presumably if a developer acquires a through lot facing two streets then he may propose a drive thru lane.

24. the small park proposed at the west end of Adeline is nice, but best if there isn’t a mews separating it from the MUP, and the mews is not necessary since the existing land assembly (Dow Motors, Richcraft) offers enough room for adequate turn around of vehicles onto Sydney and Carling using the developers site). So delete the mews from Sydney to Adeline.

25. And any transition from the high rises south of Adeline should occur south of Adeline, with buildings stepping down to a five storey podium that is at least 20’ deep along Adeline, leaving the north side of Adeline zoned low rise in order to keep the low rise zone viably sized.

26. Along the Adeline South side, commercial ground floors, or flex zoning requiring 16-18’ ceilings at ground floor facing Adeline should be required, with flex zoning to permit residential, commercial, or mixed use lofts. Adeline should be the main commercial and pedestrian walkway between the govt towers and the Carling Station, with no commercial required along Carling. Carling is unlikely to ever be an attractive walking street. Along the north side of Adeline, developers should be free to propose residential or commercial or flex space ground floors without a 16-18’ ceiling requirement.

27. A bold arrow should be on the plan to show eventual pedestrian linkage extending Adeline east to Bell. This may take many years to implement but would link most of the high density high rise redevelopments along Carling to the OTrain and OTrain MUP via a quiet pedestrian-friendly Adeline alignment. A ground level link might even be cut through the existing govt bldg immediately south of the Logan tower in negotiation of future high rise office developments or if there is major redevelopment on this site. This is more useful than the proposed eastward extension of Norman.

28. If the area along the east side of the OTrain cut is rezoned to 9 stories, then so should the area west of Railway Street, which enjoys the same characteristics as the areas east of the cut, plus it already has its mews in place and the lots are deeper, facilitating redevelopment.

29. But if the area east of the cut is kept zoned for 4 stories, then so should the block behind Railway street. That block is ideal for low rise intensification, and is too close to two rapid transit stations to be left for scattered two storey houses.

30. Indeed, I am curious that all the residential areas west of Champagne are left low rise. This area is within the catchment area of two rapid transit stations, and needs to be intensified, but not necessarily high rised. It needs rezoning to encourage creative infills and intensification that will gradually, over time, change the neighbourhood from its 1940’s small town suitability to something more appropriate for the next decades in a growing city. If this cannot be done in this phase, then the area should be explicitly thrown into the Gladstone-area CDP for similar re-examination  The St Mary school site cannot be left to moulder  We already know that some citizens and community assoc view “not mentioning” something immediately outside a plan area is the equivalent of saying it must remain unchanged. If eventual change or intensification is envisioned, say so. Unless, of course, the city is going to bring forward a blanket policy/rezoning encouraging intensification within the walking radius of transit stations.

31. The current twin towers proposed on the Champagne dog-shelter site by Ashcroft are aligned parallel to the Soho towers, blocking each other’s views. The Ashcroft towers should be rotated 90 degrees to be parallel to Champagne, permitting better views and light between the buildings. The proposed plan only shows one 25 storey tower at the Ashcroft site, but it is approved for two.

32. The north side of Young, west of Railway, is suitable for a midrise apartment development and should be so planned (currently an industrial building). Be sure to allow room for the MUP to go under the Queensway. The lot is shallow, so it might be a building with apts facing south and the corridors on the north face. Anything over 4 floors would make a sound barrier to the benefit of the rest of the area.

33. The low rise area that consists of the dead end streets, and the Adeline to Beech area east of Preston, needs to remain low rise (four stories only, ie wood frame) to encourage a variety of house and built forms in the area. It also permits small-lot redevelopment by smaller developers, whereas higher rise zoning becomes the prerogative of large developers only who assemble land. And land assembly itself results in current landowners who won’t reinvest in their buildings because they are waiting to tear them down since all the value is in the land, not the building. A classic situation of neighbourhood busting and decline, that already plagues the area. The low rise area needs to be large enough to be viable. We already have such an area, albeit somewhat decayed and abused. I firmly believe we can create a vital and interesting low rise area with small lot redevelopments similar to what Sage Developments did on Adeline west of Preston, or like the Domicile apt building on Bronson at Fourth, but we need careful zoning and permissions here to foster what we want.

34. It is not sufficient to just zone the low rise area as mixed use, as it is now. That would be wrong. It needs an imaginative zoning that requires existing house stock to remain housing. Conversions of all or part of existing housing to commercial uses should be prohibited in order to preserve housing units and to prevent the incursion of parking lots. Only new construction buildings should be permitted to have a commercial ground floor usage or flex space and this should be related to the amount of residential space provided. Prohibiting residential-to-commercial conversions helps drive the commercial market; permitting them undercuts purpose-built commercial space which is more expensive.

35. If the area retains its mixed use zoning, we can expect to see continued half-assed conversions to mixed uses, the abuse of remaining residential-zoned and -taxed units surreptitiously converted to storage rooms or acquired primarily for parking facilities for adjacent legit businesses. In short, it isn’t enough to restrict the height, good planning is required to salvage the neighbourhood and guide its redevelopment in a form suited to the next century.

36. Zoning should require the preservation of existing housing or replacement by a multiple of the removed units with new units. Soft greenspace and trees should be required in rear yards, and commercial parking lots stomped out. Absent landlords find it too tempting to rent out back yards for parking, and now front yards too. Front of house parking must be restricted to driveways and soft landscaping required in front of every residential building; hard landscaping that cannot be used for parking could be permitted only in front of commercial properties.

37. The low rise area should remain four storey height limit, not five or six, which permits/requires concrete construction and then the pressure for spot rezoning to permit “economically viable” taller buildings. The only exception might be corner lots, or those along the OTrain MUP, where five floors might be permitted only for the units facing the MUP and taking up the full depth of the lot ( ie no rear yard setback required).

38. Quality, in-character infill developments like we now see in the Byward Market area should be the aim for this area.

39. An urban landscape that is a monoculture of high rises, or high rises and mid rises, surrounded by a waiting-to-be-redeveloped dereliction zone is not good planning. Take the existing variety and vitality of Little Italy and preserve it, restore it, and build on it. Don’t just denigrate it or wait to knock it down.

40. Note: simply permitting residential uses is inadequate. The zoning and plan needs to preserve, improve, and encourage/require new low-rise residential units to create a vital urban area that Ottawa will be proud of, and this would also create value for those selling their land, ie both those that remain living in the area and those who sell would be winners. This is not a win-lose proposition.

One thought on “Carling-Preston CDP: 72 ways to offend (part ii)

  1. A few thoughts:

    In #21 you argue against allowing the conversion of existing housing stock on Beech into commercial developments, as this gives the area a slipshod feel. Isn’t this how most traditional main streets develop? Preston seems to be mostly converted houses in many parts. While this may not give enough intensity on a corridor like Preston over the long haul, I think it would provide the right transition into the residential zone on Beech.

    In the last couple of posts, you’ve mentioned the site at Carling-Sherwood as a good place for an architectural statement, with a flatiron building. I don’t disagree in principle, but given that it’s actully quite a large site that trasnitions into the low-rise residential area. I think a tall building at the Carling frontage, where the strip mall and parking is makes fin sense, but it really needs to step down as it hits the Sherwood-Bayswater intersection. I think in practice, this site would be best-suited to multiple buildings, with a tight site plan guiding its integration into both Carling and the mixed use zone, and the existing residential zone.

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