Note: Planning topics related to Main Street renewal and McIlraith bridge redesign have been moved to our Main Street Renewal page. Planning topics related to the Oblates development have been moved to our Greystone Village page.

Elgin Street and Hawthorne Avenue Functional Design Study

The City of Ottawa "is undertaking the functional design and transportation study for the continuous corridor of Elgin Street between Laurier Avenue and Queen Elizabeth Driveway, and Hawthorne Avenue from the Pretoria Bridge to Main Street." For more details about the study, please visit the City of Ottawa website.

Secondary Dwelling units in Accessory Structures Zoning Study

The City of Ottawa "is undertaking a zoning study that will determine the appropriate zones and standards to permit secondary dwelling units within accessory structures, in residential neighbourhoods. These types of dwelling units are essentially a small apartment or suite in the backyard of a home or along a laneway" (often referred to as "coach houses"). For more details about the study and access to all the documents and reports, please visit the City of Ottawa website.

The R4 (Residential Fourth Density) family of zones is the city's most intensive low-rise residential zone. It is the only family of residential zones designed to permit low-rise apartment buildings with four or more dwelling units. R4 zoning covers much of Ottawa's old established low-rise neighbourhoods in the inner urban area, including Centretown, Sandy Hill, Vanier, Overbrook, Hintonburg and Westboro. Smaller pockets of R4 zoning can be found throughout the city.

UPDATE: The City of Ottawa's Planning Committee approved the report at their meeting on October 11, 2016. Minutes from the meeting are available on the
City of Ottawa website. See also the OECA's submission to the planning committee.

On May 8, 2017, the OECA drafted a submission to the upcoming planning committee meeting on secondary dwellings. The letter outlined a number of additional concerns and objections. You can read the complete letter for details.

City of Ottawa R4 Zoning Review

The City of Ottawa will be conducting the R4 Zoning Review "to address those issues most commonly found in inner-urban, low-rise multi-unit development. While the focus will be on the R4-zoned areas, the review may also touch on aspects of the zoning by-law applicable to other inner urban zones, such as the R3 zones in the Glebe and Old Ottawa East. Although the focus is on the inner-urban wards (i.e. Wards 12 through 17) the review may to a lesser extent have implications city-wide, particularly in areas with a significant amount of R4 multiple-unit zoning. Of particular interest is the tendency towards oversized dwelling units (with as many as six, eight or even twelve bedrooms) being developed in duplexes, triplexes and low-rise apartment dwellings. The review will look at such zoning matters as limits on permitted bedroom counts, definition of a "dwelling unit" versus a "rooming house," and permitted unit counts in R4 zones."

Key considerations for the R4 zoning review are:

  • Ensuring that new low-rise apartment buildings permitted in the R4 zones are compatible and fit with their neighbourhoods in both form and function
  • Ensuring that the R4 zones can continue to accommodate the growing number of people who want to live in the inner-urban, low-rise neighbourhoods in a way that balances the needs of new residents with those of existing residents and maintain a sense of stability
  • Allowing the R4 zones to accommodate the need for affordable housing while protecting the character of the R4 urban neighbourhoods
  • UPDATE: The R4 Zoning Review has produced a set of draft recommendations available in the Discussion Paper #2 on the project website. Comments are due by May 31, 2017, and can be sent to Mr. Tim Moerman, City of Ottawa (see contact information below).

    For more information:
    City of Ottawa project website
    Ottawa Zoning Map
    City of Ottawa Zoning
    Bylaw R4

    See also these comments submitted by OECA to Tim Moerman, the city staff person in charge of this portfolio.

    Questions and comments on the R4 Zone Review can be directed to:
    R4 Zoning Review - c/o Tim J. Moerman
    Ottawa City Hall, Mail Code 01-14
    110 Laurier Avenue West, 4th floor, K1P 1J1

    By fax: (613) 580-2459
    By email: or

    Corridor along Rideau River behind Greystone Village

    A 30-metre wide corridor along the Rideau River shoreline in Old Ottawa East is now owned by The Regional Group, the developers of Greystone Village on the former Oblates lands, but it is zoned as “open space” and cannot be developed. Regional is trying to find a public owner who will care for these lands. The OECA has raised this issue with the City of Ottawa in hopes that this area can become a city park. More information about the OECA's position on this issue is available here: Mainstreeter article, OECA presentation to City of Ottawa Planning Committee, map of area

    Community Design Plan (CDP)

    The approval of the CDP is the culmination of a long, long process. This could not have been achieved without the support and diligence of many community members, especially those who served on the Public Advisory Committee (PAC), and the institutional landowners.

    The CDP is meant to provide a broad and integrated twenty year vision and guidance for growth in the community. Although focused on Main Street, a key component of the CDP is the potential sale and intensification of the lands currently owned by the Oblate Fathers and the Sisters of the Sacred Heart. In particular, the properties owned by the Oblate Fathers have considerable redevelopment potential and will likely be sold for redevelopment over the next decade. The OECA remains committed to working closely with key stakeholders to ensure that community consultation is represented throughout the redevelopment process. In 2010, members of the CDP Public Advisory Committee (PAC) began actively meeting with stakeholders to prepare principles to guide planning and design of the lands. That culminated in the March 10, 2011, public open house held at Saint Paul University where a demonstration plan, illustrating one possible development scenario for the lands, was presented to the community. For more details, view the open house presentation.

    The CDP was presented at the city's planning committee meeting on June 28, 2011. To view the official minutes from the meeting, please click here. The CDP was given final approval, with amendments, at the city council meeting on August 25, 2011. To view the final report as approved at council please click here (listed as “Planning Committee Report 12A”).

    To view the CDP approved by council, please click here.
    To view the Secondary Plan approved by council, please click here.
    To view the Zoning By-law Amendments and zoning map enacted by council, please click here.
    To hear the June 28, 2011, planning committee meeting webcast, click the link here and listen from the 30 minute mark to the 1 hour and 30 minute mark.

    Development Applications

    Development refers to change of land use or the construction or addition to a building(s) or the creation of a parcel of land.

    Applications for site plan control approval, minor variance(s)/consent, and zoning by-law amendment are mailed to the OECA and are reviewed by the OECA's planning committee. Some applications are also mailed to neighbours within a 60 metre radius of the subject property. OECA members are encouraged to participate in the development review process.

    Related City of Ottawa links:

    • Information about planning Learn more here about land-use and development processes.
    • Planning Primer Program helps residents become more aware of, and more involved in, the land-use planning process.
    • The Official Plan provides a vision for the future growth of the city and a policy framework to guide its physical development to the year 2021.
    • Zoning By-law 2008-250 implements Official Plan policies for land use and development.
    • Zoning by-law Amendment 2012-147 - May 2012 - provides regulations for the control of low-rise residential infill development in mature neighbourhoods. Please note: These infill regulations were appealed to the OMB. You can view the March 8, 2013, OMB decision here. The OMB decision rules in favour of most of the regulations, including front yard setback averaging; front yard projections averaging; and the direction and location of parking, balconies, driveways, walkways and landscaping. The decision, however, requires the city to reconsider certain regulations, including the parts applying to new construction only and not renovations; narrow lots not having garages doors facing frontwards; the width of a garage door or carport not exceeding 50% of the front façade; garage or carport being set back further than the main façade; and the amount of glazing in the ground floor front wall. Update Aug. 2013: Wherein the OMB decision allowed the City five months to redraft the regulations for further OMB deliberation, this timeline was been extended until December 31, 2013. Update Nov. 2013: The December 31st timeline has been extended until March 31, 2014.
    • Low-Rise Infill housing Study – Phase 2 is a council directed follow up to the May 2012 Zoning By-Law Amendment 2012-147. In October 2013, city staff held information sessions introducing further proposed zoning changes.
    • How to find your zone will lead you through the process for determining the zoning of a property. The “geoOttawa” web-based software has numerous layers of information, including historical air photos from 1958 to 2011. Click on “I want to...” to find more options.
    • Urban Design Guidelines for Low-rise Infill Housing - May 2012 is intended as a basic framework for the physical layout, massing, functioning and relationships of infill buildings to their neighbour.
    • About the Committee of Adjustment Please note: Applications for minor variance(s)/consent are not available on the city's website.
    • Development Application Search This tool allows you to search development applications subject to public consultation, such as Site Plan Control, Zoning By-law Amendment, Official Plan Amendment, etc.

    Related resources:

    Archived development applications and committee of adjustment reports can be found on the Archive page.