Ottawa's Maturing Neighbourhoods


The Site Plan Approval Process is used by the City of Ottawa to oversee the site related issues of development, and is required for buildings that contain more than 3 units. It is so costly and time consuming that many developers of small buildings find their investors cannot support a business plan for more than 3 units. This is a significant problem if our criteria for growth in maturing neighbourhoods includes diverse and more affordable units in small buildings.


The Site Plan process achieves the following:

  1. developers are encouraged to revise their designs for greater neighbourhood compatibility

  2. developers are encouraged to plant trees and soft landscaping

  3. proposed connection to and use of city services are reviewed, including roads/traffic, underground services, and surface storm water management

  4. garbage/recycling requirements are established and enforced

  5. securities are taken against landscaping costs to ensure completion of approved landscaping


But given the proposed development type and scale and it's location within existing neighbourhoods, much of this process is unnecessary. Keep in mind that the majority of neighbourhood infill development can proceed without upgrade to existing underground services.  They actually lighten the load on both sanitary and storm sewer systems if properly designed.  Existing homes misuse sewer connections and over burden both systems.  New construction corrects this with a net positive effect.  And with green roofs or rear yard dry-ponds (depressed ares to temporarily hold flash flood water ) new buildings can save the City money in infrastructure and flood-proofing.  Infill without parking or with permeable temporary parking reduces hard surface and runoff into storm sewers and has time-limited or no impact on roads and vehicular infrastructure. 

The above Site Plan issues can be addressed as follows, and new buildings constructed much more quickly and cost effectively:

  1. significant design elements required by zoning (as per Neighbourhood Compatibility)

  2. space for trees and soft landscape regulated by zoning (see Proposed Zoning

  3. prescriptive guidelines for storm water management on small developments published by the City and reviewed during building permit

  4. prescriptive guidelines for garbage/recycling storage on small developments published by the City and reviewed during building permit

  5. securities taken against landscaping costs to ensure completion of approved landscaping

"The Site Plan Control process required by the City has been identified as a major cost in parketment production, both in direct costs (application fees adn various reports adn plans) as well as carrying costs (interest paid on loans wile waiting for the developetmt to be approved...roughtly $170,000... $107/month."

City of Ottawa, Zoning By-law R4 Zoning Review Phase 2 Discussion Paper #3 Draft Recommendations, Nov. 2019

Development Charges are imposed on a per unit basis and therefore promote and subsidize large units.

DC's must be charged per square meter to correct this injustice, and so that builders can afford to build smaller units.

414 Churchill Avenue N, Ottawa ON, K1Z 5C6