Planning and Housing Committee approves draft budget for 2024

A graphic with Ottawa City Hall is in the background. A vertical grey stripe and a horizontal yellow stripe are in the foreground with " Planning and Housing Committee update" in the centre.

The Planning and Housing Committee today approved its portion of Draft Budget 2024(link is external), which includes $83.6 million in operating funding and $24.7 million in capital funding. The City will invest the bulk of that capital, $23.8 million, to develop more affordable and supportive housing for residents in greatest need.

The aim is to grow that annual investment each year, reaching a planned investment of $25 million in 2027 as part of the Housing Services Long Range Financial Plan. The City’s contribution is intended to leverage the equivalent amount of new federal and provincial investments resulting in the creation of up to 500 new supportive and affordable housing units per year over the next 10 years.

Council had previously approved the allocation of $15 million of the 2024 contribution. Staff will bring forward a report in Q1 2024 to recommend allocating the $8.8-millon balance to specific affordable housing projects.

The committee approved a zoning amendment to facilitate phase one of a multi-tower development southwest of Baseline Road and Fisher Avenue(link is external), across the street from the Central Experimental Farm (CEF), a national historic site. The amendment would increase permitted height in line with the City’s Official Plan, which envisions the potential for highrises at this location. The amended zoning would allow plans for a 24-storey building and public park to proceed.

The overall development is for three buildings that would add nearly 1,100 dwellings and commercial space to the site. Phase two proposes a second 24-storey tower and a 32-storey tower along Baseline Road, but a decision on the zoning for that second phase would be delayed until January, to allow for additional research. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has concerns about potential shadowing impacts of phase two on the CEF’s research fields. While the proposed development aligns with City guidelines for shadow impacts, further assessment is needed to evaluate whether shadow impacts from phase two are unacceptably adverse and detrimental to the CEF’s research role.

To help address the housing crisis, Council committed to providing home builders enough opportunities to build 151,000 quality market homes by 2031. The City does not build homes, but by approving land-use permissions like those considered today, the Committee and Council continue to put applicants in a position to build new dwellings in all parts of Ottawa. The Committee received a memo(link is external) showing that, as of the end of Q3 2023, there are nearly 25,000 dwellings in the pipeline that are either ready to be built or that require further approvals.

While the City cannot require home builders to apply for building permits, development applications submitted so far in 2023 have resulted in building permits being issued for fewer than 2,400 dwellings. Building permits have also been issued for projects already compliant with the City’s Official Plan and Zoning By-law. This brings the total to 7,554 dwellings issued building permits as of Q3 2023. 

If Council approves, the land-use permissions that the Committee recommended today will help put applicants in a position to build 320 new dwellings in Ottawa. Visit ottawa.ca/residentialdwellings for a graphic showing quarterly progress towards Ottawa’s housing pledge targets.

Recommendations from today’s meeting will rise to Council on Wednesday, December 6.

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