Council briefs: new permit regulations a sign of the times

Businesses in Ottawa will now have to obtain permits if they want put up new illuminated signs in their windows.

That’s just one of the changes city council made to Ottawa’s bylaw governing permanent signs on private property at a meeting on Wednesday.

Existing illuminated window signs will be grandfathered in, but any new illuminated window signs will require a permit. The new bylaw will also ban flashing signs and strobe lights and sets out limits on brightness, particularity for digital signs.

Illuminated signs in what the city calls “heritage conservation districts” – areas such as the ByWard Market and Lowertown – will face further restrictions. They’ll only be allowed if they have an external source of lighting, “such as downward-facing goose neck lamps,” according to a report prepared by city staff in association with the bylaw.

Businesses in rural areas will be able to put up bigger signs than were previously allowed and there will be further consultation with rural business owners about directional signage.

Large shopping centres will also be able to have signs up to 25 square metres in size, an increase from 20 square metres.

Businesses located on Preston Street between Somerset Street and Albert Street will be temporarily exempt from the new bylaw due to the fact that each block in that area has very specific zoning and zoning exemptions. New rules for signs in that area will be drafted and presented at planning committee.

A section of the bylaw that would have allowed for more billboards in Ottawa was removed, maintaining a rule that bans billboards from being less than 150 metres apart.

LRT proximity studies a go

Council also approved new guidelines and fees for proximity studies that will have to be conducted on new developments near the first stage of construction of the Confederation Line.

The proximity studies will look at how construction of any new developments will impact the new light rail line.

The proposal was delayed several times in planning committee in order to allow for more consultation with stakeholders including the Building Owners and Managers Association and Greater Ottawa Home Builders Association. It was passed by council without discussion.

New building on Lisgar gets OK

A zoning amendment to allow for construction of an office building on an L-shaped lot at the corner of Lisgar and Bank Streets was approved by council as part of its bulk consent agenda.

Developer Kamlo Co-Tenancy wants to build a six-storey mixed-use building with commercial tenants on the first floor, six offices on the second and third floors as well as 20 residential units.

The developer also received an exemption from normal parking requirements.