Complain, complain, complain. It’s too bi-i-i-g. It’s too ta-a-a-a-ll. It’s not the same as now. It’s not compatible. We hear those whines every day when the subject of infill or new development comes up.
It’s not always that way. It’s just that good projects that are welcome in the neighborhood don’t get good press.
So here’s a good news story.
On Booth Street there is a blight that has cursed residents for years, Cousin Eddy’s Garage and Uncle Chado’s body shop. The city trees in front of the garages mysteriously died so we could all admire their ugliness and garbage-strewn grounds.
But redevelopment is in the winds. Barry Hobin is carrying the file, and for once there is no worry about gross overdevelopment. No highrise in the middle of a low-rise neighborhood. No walls of windows four feet from the lot lines. Nothing weird at all. Just 20 townhouses, affordably priced, nicely situated on the street and a mews.
Here’s the aerial shot:
St Anthony school and Church are off to the top right, split by Gladstone Avenue. Booth Street runs right-left through the shot, with the new townhouses superimposed mid-block.
Here’s the view from the front:
Immediately noticeable is that is not a bird’s-eye view. Hobin doesn’t assume we are all flying helicopters. It’s a genuine sidewalk-level view. And here’s the view from across the street, although I think the townhouses are drawn a bit too big:
It’s a bit hard to see at first glance, but there’s a portico driveway through the ground floor at the centre, beyond the near side thick wooden pole that protects pedestrians from marauding cars. The row of houses quickly closes up above the discrete driveway. Note once again that the architect is happy to show what his project looks like from the positions we will normally see it, ground level.
Here is the site plan:
And while celebrating this well-done infill project, it is worth noting his Planning Rationale submission (available at www.ottawa.ca/devapps). Most other rationales are thick documents that parse through relevant planning and zoning documents with a fine tooth comb, selecting out of context quotes to justify whatever new, larger, more wonderful project they are promoting. But this time, a simple two pager, written by the architect, no fancy planning firm required. It’s almost the good ole’ days.