Planning committee defers proposal for nine storeys on Oblats Avenue

A rendering of the proposed development at 10 Oblats Ave.

A proposal for a nine-storey apartment complex in front of a former monastery in Old Ottawa East has been put on hold while the developer seeks an official plan amendment.

The city’s planning committee voted Thursday to approve the Regional Group’s plan to build a six-storey mixed-use building with 125 rental units and 18,000 square feet of retail space at 175 Main St. under its Greystone Village subsidiary. But the committee agreed to defer the developer’s proposal for a nine-storey building with 119 apartment units at nearby 10 Oblats Ave. that would stand in front of the Deschâtelets building, a former monastery on land once owned by the Fathers of the Oblate Order.

Under the plan, the Deschâtelets building would be converted into a community centre and daycare facility with an affordable housing component. But residents said they feared the new nine-storey apartment in front of it would “overcrowd” the heritage structure, cast shadows over it and create a wind-tunnel effect.

Opponents argued that while the builder’s original proposal for a six-storey apartment on the site complied with the community design plan, its request for an additional three storeys violated those guidelines. In a city staff report, Capital Coun. Shawn Menard said residents bought homes nearby with the understanding that the apartment would be six storeys rather than nine.

City planners said they believed the development adhered to the secondary plan for the neighbourhood and did not require an official plan amendment.

But the Regional Group’s director of commercial and multi-family development, Kelly Rhodenizer, told the planning committee the developer has filed a request for an official plan amendment “out of an abundance of caution” in a bid to clarify height limits for the property.

Ron Rose of the Ottawa East Community Association, which has concerns about the height of the nine-storey proposal, said his also group supports the call for an official plan amendment.

Also Thursday, the committee approved a plan for a new six-storey building with 77 apartment units at 263 Greensway Ave., near the intersection of Montreal Road and the Vanier Parkway.