Merivale Road needs a blessing but Coun. Keith Egli doesn’t think a self-storage warehouse is its saviour.
“God knows Merivale Road needs help,” Egli said Thursday during a planning committee meeting where councillors were considering a proposal for a new self-storage building at the gateway to his Knoxdale-Merivale ward.
Dymon Storage has been on a tear building facilities in Ottawa and the company’s eye is now on land at 1375 Clyde Ave. in the so-called Merivale triangle bound by Merivale Road and Baseline Road.
No one lives in the triangle; it’s virtually all commercial use, so another commercial development wouldn’t be out of line.
However, some members of the planning committee struggled with allowing Dymon’s application for a zoning change to allow a six-storey storage facility and a restaurant.
Egli isn’t a member of the planning committee, but he urged colleagues to vote down the application, especially since 10 community associations have indicated the proposal doesn’t, in the words of decluttering guru Marie Kondo, “spark joy.”
Committee members considered if there’s a better use for a key piece of property than a self-storage warehouse.
Coun. Jeff Leiper said a warehouse would “sterilize” a property that’s perfect for residential intensification, especially since the city is installing lanes for rapid bus service on Baseline Road.
Egli said that instead of giving people a place to live the city would be “giving a place for people’s stuff to live.”
On the flip side, Dymon’s aggressive expansion in Ottawa shows there’s a market demand for storage. The local company has 11 Ottawa facilities either operating or in construction.
Coun. Scott Moffatt called self-storage an “accessory” to residential intensification.
There’s a Coun. Rick Chiarelli component to this story.
The Clyde Avenue property isn’t in Chiarelli’s College ward but it’s right on the border. Egli told the committee that community associations in Chiarelli’s ward also oppose the warehouse development.
Chiarelli is a member of the planning committee but he wasn’t at the meeting to vote.
When he was leaving city hall during a council meeting Wednesday, Chiarelli said, “My health is not very good right now,” and he anticipated a “setback” in the subsequent days.
The planning committee endorsed Dymon’s proposed development in a 4-3 vote. Applications that are subject of tie votes aren’t endorsed. Regardless of the vote at committee, the reports go to council for final decision.
Also absent for the vote were committee members Laura Dudas and Stephen Blais.
Voting in favour of Dymon’s application were councillors Jan Harder, Tim Tierney, Allan Hubley and Moffatt. Councillors Glen Gower, Riley Brockington and Leiper voted in opposition.
The application will be in front of council on Jan. 29.
Site plan for first bit of Lincoln Fields mall redevelopment approved
The planning committee approved a site plan for two new commercial buildings at the Lincoln Fields shopping mall land.
It’s the first small bit of RioCan’s larger vision for the 6.5-hectare property.
In the first increment, RioCan would demolish the mall and build at 2,600-square-metre single-storey Metro grocery store in the middle and a two-storey 1,500-square-metre Rexall and office building near Carling Avenue. There would be a reconfigured parking area serving the buildings and OC Transpo buses would continue to have access to the property.
Representatives of community associations questioned RioCan’s choice to build the Metro in the middle of the property and how it will impact the ultimate redevelopment.
Rod Lahey, an architect working with RioCan on the redevelopment project, said it’s good to have a grocery store in the heart of a future community.
RioCan is working on a larger scheme that includes tall mixed-use buildings and more than 2,000 units. The city is writing a secondary plan for the area that will help chart the property’s redevelopment.
The property is at an important node of the city’s future LRT system, with the adjacent Transitway being converted to LRT as part of the Stage 2 O-Train project.