Community Feedback on Presland Development Site Plan

127 Presland Site Plan Approval Public Meeting

January 23, 2013

Overbrook Community Centre

Summary of Discussion and Main Points Raised

This meeting was organized by the Overbrook Community Association to provide interested OCA members and residents in the area of 127/145 Presland Road area an opportunity to review the revised Site Plan for the proposed development on the site, to ask questions of Bliss Edwards, the City Planner responsible for the project, and to provide comments on various aspects of the Site Plan.  Approximately a dozen people were in attendance, including Bliss Edwards from the City and OCA President Sheila Perry.

Bliss Edwards provided an overview of the current Site Plan and the revisions that had been requested by the City. With the re-zoning of the site approved, the proposed structure will be 15 storeys facing the Vanier Parkway, five storeys facing north towards Prince Albert Street, and six storeys facing the easterly portion of the site, with the development encompassing a total of some 299 units. She also outlined the actions the City has taken since the 21 December 2012 demolition and removal of trees on the site by the developer. He will be charged under the City’s by-laws for removing trees from the site without a permit. He will not be charged for illegally demolishing the house at 127 Presland due to confusion on the part of the City regarding the address of what he could legally demolish (i.e. the institutional four-storey building at 145 Presland which did not require a permit for demolition).

Other points raised by Ms Edwards:

  • City of Ottawa Forestry is currently reviewing the proposed re-establishment of 53 trees on the site, although it is recognized that some of these may not “take” due to the significant portion of the site taken up by the two-storey underground parking portion of the building.
  • Balconies have been added to the easterly and northerly portions of the building, which is new from the proposal that went to Planning Committee.
  • Technical reviews of various aspects of the Site Plan are still being conducted by the City.  These include drainage, sewer capacities and connections, and various standards which will need to be met.
  • There is a cycling lane planned that will carry westbound cycling traffic from Presland on to the Vanier Parkway northbound.
  • There will be a fire route into the site from Presland Road with a keyed station blocking access for cars and other vehicular traffic.
  • A lighting plan for the site has been requested by the City, which would include non-intrusive lighting on all balconies, and dark lighting (i.e., downward pointing) for the rest of the site.

In brief, the main points raised by residents in the meeting were:

  • Vanier Parkway Intersection: The need to ensure that the intersection to the site from the Vanier Parkway is opened prior to any digging of foundations on the site; this is essential to ensure that current residents on Presland are not faced with trucks entering and exiting the site from Presland Road.
  • Shadowing: Ms Edwards acknowledges that the current design of the 15-storey building facing the Vanier Parkway does not comply with the City’s 45 degree slope guideline – which, she stated, remains a guideline not a requirement. However, it was pointed out that with relatively minor modifications and re-arrangement of a small number of units, that this guideline could be met, which would reduce shadowing on the one- and two-storey houses immediately to the north of the tower portion of the site. Ms Edwards said she would look into this.
  • Trees: Recognizing that many of the trees to be planted will not grow to mature size because the underground garage will not leave sufficient soil depth, residents wanted assurance that the City forester will work with the developer both to make the most of what is proposed in the way of replacement trees, as well as to ensure that as many trees as possible on neighbouring properties are protected.
  • Brick Colour: It was also suggested that bricks of a muted colour (rather than the stark red colored brick shown in the site plan) would make the 15-storey block less stark relative to its surroundings.
  • Bike Route Concerns were expressed regarding the routing of the bicycle path down the Vanier Parkway, and especially at rush hours with its heavy traffic. Most cyclists will likely continue to cross the Parkway and proceed to River Road to the NCC Bike Paths to reach destinations east and west of the site. The east/west pathway on Presland is used by hundreds of cyclists for safety reasons.
  • Access to Parking: The potential for people accessing the development and parking on Presland alongside the units facing Presland was also raised as a concern. Street parking overload is the issue of concern.
  • Fencing and Trees: The fence should be a 6′ height wood fence/wood composite material stained in a natural/neutral colour (i.e. no chain link, no crazy colours). Since fencing is to be moved to the lot line rather than current location, neighbours and trees should be respected on all sides of the property, especially north and east.
  • Request that Certified Arborist be on-site during installation of fence post footings to ensure preservation of existing trees in the vicinity, and that post holes be augured as opposed to trenched to avoid severe impact to roots.
  • Fence should be articulated (stepped forward or back of existing trees) as required to avoid impact to critical root zone of existing trees.
  • Existing trees on site that may be impacted by fence installation, any trees that have been transplanted, and all new trees must fall under the same landscape maintenance warranty (i.e. the contractor will have to ensure trees are properly watered and maintained over the warranty period). Typically maintenance period is one year.
  • Drainage, sewer and water issues: Ensure adequate drainage for storm water. Perimeter property lot line has an existing natural trench area on the north lot line.

Additional Comments: 

  • Building height/massing: Adherence to the 45 degree angle rule should be followed. This can be accommodated by reallocation of building massing in the tower. Consider further articulation of the tower to break up the monolithic structure. Neighbours will be affected by the shadowing on properties along Prince Albert Street, i.e. NW and NE shadowing. Shadowing studies neglect to show December impact. March, June and September studies are done.
  • Tree replacement: Given the building coverage of the site, suggest increase in caliper size of proposed replacement trees, addition of street trees in boulevard area (between property line and back of sidewalk) along Presland Road. Provide cash-in-lieu or other contribution to Overbrook Community Association for other landscape works (street trees/community gardens, etc.).
  • Landscape design: The landscape design is minimal. Consider more robust, evergreen plantings along site perimeter. Provide connection from ground floor patios to landscape area around site perimeter. Consider path that connects around the site. In particular, consider further connection of the two “public terraces” provided on the north with enhanced amenity space (seating/lighting/plantings) such that it is an extension of the interior.
  • Landscape over parkade slab: Provide clear articulation/description of how landscape architect will provide adequate soil volume for all proposed trees, those over slab in centre of entry drive in particular. Drop in slab suggested so trees appear “at grade” and no retaining walls or planters are required. Will the site be irrigated? Developer should consider high efficiency irrigation for all plantings over slab.
  • Ground oriented development: In keeping with current urban design best practices, suggest all ground level units present a “friendly face to the street” with gates and at grade access to doors that face the street (creating a front porch). Most critically on Presland Road, but could be considered for all ground floor units.
  • Egress from underground parkade: Ensure that adequate queuing space is provided and clear delineation of path of travel is noted. Unclear as to how traffic exiting the parkade leaves the site, especially if more than a few cars are stopped at the signal, blocking access to the entry drive.
  • Spatial standards for underground parkade: Understanding that a variance has been granted to reduce the aisle width. Consider spatial arrangement of parking stalls in relations to columns and parkade walls such that adequate turning radius is provided and numerous ‘dead-end’s are not created. Architect to review.
  • Building Materials: Consider use of light-coloured materials on the building face. High albedo to decrease heat island effect, and to blend more subtly into the surrounding neighbourhood. Consider repeating building element in landscape, decorative pavers/gate posts, etc. Suggest decorative pavers for entry drive and surface visitor parking.
  • Sustainability: No mention of on-site storm water management at grade – swales, rain gardens, etc. Could be a nice visual amenity that reduces capacity of any structured cistern. Green roofs? Planting around rooftop terraces? This could really enhance the overall appearance and appeal of the project. Permeable pavers on all hard surfaces not over parkade structure (regular unit pavers elsewhere).
  • Site lighting: Ensure all are night-sky friendly. Pedestrian-scaled pole fixtures.
  • Site furniture: Consider visitor bike parking at front building entry.
  • Utility kiosks: Screen all utility kiosks with evergreen planting.
  • Underground Parking Stalls and turning radius adequacy issues:  Parking shows stall width at 6.1 ft. vs. 6.7 ft. which accommodates a small car. Is this adequate for a large car/truck/SUV? A three-point turn?
  • Mixed use of rental units should be considered. Set aside some alternatives for low rental units to address a diverse community here in Overbrook.

Respectfully submitted,

Sheila Perry, President

Overbrook Community Association

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