City looks to relax infill housing restrictions

The City of Ottawa’s planning committee gave the green light Thursday to a zoning amendment aimed at boosting the construction of low-rise apartment buildings in neighbourhoods near the urban core.

The amendment is designed to gradually increase the amount of housing in R4 zones, which generally allow buildings of up to four storeys, in neighbourhoods such as Centretown, Sandy Hill, Vanier, Overbrook, Hintonburg and Westboro.

The changes would reduce the minimum required lot sizes for such buildings and raise the four-unit cap that currently applies in certain R4 zones. 

With vacancy rates hovering around two per cent putting a squeeze on the rental market, the changes are part of the city’s push to intensify inner-urban areas by adding more infill housing. Opponents, however, argue the new rules could lead to overbuilding in already densely populated neighbourhoods.

Council will vote on the recommendations at its next meeting on Sept. 23.