How and why should Southminster Church, this important part of Old Ottawa South, continue to thrive in our community and why should Old Ottawa South fight to keep our R3—three storey residential zoning? At first blush, the current proposal to rezone the church property to allow a nominally 6 storey, but practically a 7 storey condominium, to be built behind the church seems like the perfect answer. But is it really so? Yes, the money the church will receive from the developer, Windmill Development, will pay for repairs that are urgently needed. But what will happen five years down the road when more repairs are required? And, has the church really gotten the best value for the property to be severed from the back? Is the only way to keep the church alive to encroach on the current residential zoning of the neighbourhood with a twenty-plus metre structure as opposed to the current R3 allowance of eleven metres? How can we save the church and the neighbourhood too and why should we care about preserving either?
The City of Ottawa has posted the preliminary plans for 1040 Bank Street, that is, a proposal to retain the existing church and to replace the assembly hall at the rear with four townhouses and a 14-unit, six-storey apartment building. To achieve the proposed redevelopment, an application for a Zoning By-law Amendment is required. You can read the planning rationale document here.
Originally published in the June 2017 OSCAR.
A couple of years ago, I wrote a number of OSCAR articles about the effort to reduce height allowance and establish a heritage overlay along Colonel By Drive with intent to prevent the kind of overdevelopment that is ruining so many streetscapes in communities such as Old Ottawa South. That effort proved successful. However, we did not include Southminster Church in the geographic reach of the rezoning, assuming that as a long time institutional resident in the community, the church would not undertake any development on that site. How wrong we were, and we now find ourselves facing the prospect of a six storey condo building facing onto Galt Street.
Would you like a six-storey condominium on your residential street? We don’t.
We are a group of concerned residents of Old Ottawa South who have recently formed Development Watch Southminster (DWS).
Enlist with our new community group and help us ensure the re-development project at Southminster United Church respects the current bylaws and zoning rules and their intent. We feel that if we sit back and do nothing Old Ottawa South residents may be seen by developers as ‘pushovers’. This is a big upscale project with big implications for our neighbourhood.
As promised at our first Open House, we are organizing a second Open House / Town Hall as part of our on-going pre-consultation with the Old Ottawa South Community for Monday, May 8, 2017.