The property at 6279 Fernbank also known as the Chenier Lands has been a concern in the community for the last couple years. This development has been a very contentious item for the community and throughout the process I have continued to represent the community’s concerns.
The site is located to the north of Fernbank Road and west of Stittsville Main Street in the Stittsville community. Surrounding the site to the west is a City-owned wetland designated as an Urban Natural Feature (UNF). To the north, east and south are the existing residential area known as the Cypress Gardens Phase 1 and 2, mainly containing single detached dwellings. The City’s Official Plan designation for the property is General Urban Area.
December 2015 Final Development Decision
The Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) has issued their final decision approving the development of the Chenier Land at 6279 Fernbank Road. The Board gives its approval to the Draft Plan of Subdivision submitted November 2015 as well as the Draft Conditions jointly.
The OMB Decision is provided below and I have also highlighted some key points from the decision.
- The Applicant/Appellant had sought approval for 149 lots being a mix of 23 single, 26 semi-detached and 100 townhouse units during the course of the hearing but is now seeking approval for 148 lots. There are now only two single lots on Meadowland rather than three following the discussions with the City.
- The City and Applicant/Appellant now agree that the site is serviceable following the discussions that took place between the parties following the adjournment of the hearing on April 28th, 2015. The Board notes that the City’s Planning Committee and City Council have re-considered these applications and have now concurred in supporting the draft approval and zoning by-law amendment sought at its meeting on October 28th, 2015.
- It is noted that the City has been studying the flooding problem and concerns raised by the community and that solutions are being developed and will be implemented by the City.
- The Board finds that the proposed development and amendment to the Zoning By-law constitute good land use planning and design. It is in the public interest that the proposed development be approved. Approval of the development and related amendment to the zoning by-law are consistent with the Provincial Planning Statement 2014; in conformity with the City Official Plan; generally consistent with the City Urban Design Guidelines for Greenfield Neighbourhoods; and, appropriate for the development of the Lands.
This has been an extensive and at time arduous process for all of those involved. At this time I would like to thank the community members who took on an active role through their support, time and dedicated engagement over the past year. The main concern brought to the forefront, by myself and residents, is the risks and impacts that are associated with water flow on the land. Going forward, I will continue to work with the community, staff and the proponent to monitor the development of this property, with the mitigation of water flow a priority, as building progresses to ensure that the appropriate measures agreed upon are implemented.
In 2013 the applicant submitted a rezoning and plan of subdivision application to the City for development of the site. The applicant is seeking to develop a residential subdivision of 23 single-detached, 26 semi-detached, and 100 street townhouse units, for a total of 149 units, as well as streets and blocks for a stormwater management pond, walkways and open space. Vehicular accesses are proposed to be from Elm Crescent and Porter Street.The applicant has further agreed to restrict the future units backing on to existing homes along Elm Crescent and Meadowland Drive to single-detached units with a minimum rear yard setback of 9 metres.
It is very important to note that this development proposal has been appealed provincially to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) and the decision to actually approve the development is with the OMB. The applicant appealed the application to the OMB due to a lack of decision within the prescribed timeline under the Planning Act, which was due to the fact that the City felt the applicant had not provided an adequate stormwater management plan for the area.
City Council refused the development applications on April 15, 2015 due to concern of the lack of proper study and documentation to demonstrate that the flooding risk to existing and future homes could be reasonably controlled, and that there would be no negative impacts to the adjacent Urban Natural Feature (UNF).
At the appeal hearing from April 20-28, 2015 the OMB agreed to the request from the Appellant that the proceedings be adjourned to permit further analysis and discussion to proceed with respect to stormwater concerns. Following the hearing a number of meetings were held with the City, the Appellant and a community representative. On October 2, 2015 the applicant and City staff reached an agreement with regards to a stormwater management solution for the development. The agreement is incorporated into the draft version of the Conditions for Subdivision Draft Approval.
The City was requested to provide their support to the draft plan and conditions including the Stormwater Management Solution Agreement. There was not a requirement that the report come before the City’s Planning Committee and City Council but I felt it was important to have an update provided publicly to City Council and the community. At Planning Committee on October 27, 2015 and City Council on October 28, 2015 I did not support report. There will still be some work on the final wording of the conditions and the City, developer and community will have input into the final wording of the conditions. However, I must again emphasize that the final approval authority for this development is with the OMB.
This has been a very difficult frustrating file for residents of the area and for myself. The OMB will make the decision on this development. While there are a number of community concerns which residents may feel have not been fully addressed it is reassuring to know that the Stormwater Management Plan for the development has been thoroughly reviewed to ensure steps are taken to address flooding concerns on residential properties.
I would like to extend my thanks to the residents who have been actively involved in this file and the Southwest Stittsville Community Association.
For additional background information on this development I encourage you to review the following staff reports which also include further history of the development site, the plan of subdivision and subdivision conditions.
For more information please contact my office and City Planner, Lily Xu at Lily.Xu@ottawa.ca .