Little Italy intensification plans move forward

Tom
Tom Pechloff
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Despite impassioned pleas from Somerset Coun. Diane Holmes and Mayor Jim Watson, city council voted Wednesday to allow a nine-storey tower as part of a development between 93 and 105 Norman St. in Little Italy.

The site of the proposed Taggart condominium development on Norman Street in Little Italy.

Ms. Holmes, who wanted the height restricted to four storeys, pointed out a number of changes made since the original strategic direction report was first tabled.

“So there is no reason for not changing the height on Norman,” she told council. “Every other street that dead ends from Carling to Preston is four storeys.”

Mr. Watson said he thinks a taller building will cause traffic headaches in the area, despite reports to the contrary from city staff.

He also took exception to a nine-storey building surrounded by four storey low-rises.

“Think about this in your own ward for a minute,” the mayor asked council. He said he often walks through neighbourhoods and wonders “who in their right mind approved these massive towers in the middle of this neighbourhood?”

Gloucester-Southgate Coun. Diane Deans and Rideau-Rockcliffe Coun. Peter Clark also expressed traffic concerns with the Tamarack Developments proposal.

Tamarack had originally proposed an 18-storey tower, but that plan met resistance from both the community and city staff.

Alta Vista Coun. Peter Hume, who also chairs the planning committee, said the development represents the best council can do in a “very difficult and conflicted situation.”

It was a double-loss for Ms. Holmes. A motion to limit a possible development on Young Street backing on to George Street West to six storeys was also defeated.

The vote came after Capital Coun. David Chernushenko told council it is possible to intensify communities without massive towers.

“We call it ‘Little Italy’. If we are not very careful with the direction we are adopting right now, we’ll have to call it the ‘former Little Italy,’ ” he said.

Geographic location: Little Italy, Carling, Young Street

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  • Rob
    September 16, 2014 - 20:41

    If done correctly, tall buildings can give the appearance of shorter, more pleasant buildings. For instance along Richmond between Berkley and Roosevelt Aves. Set backs provide the ability to keep an open sky and prevent the looming a tall tower would create. It also would be an innovative method for business. Putting a restaurant on the setback would provide beautiful views and give more space to sidewalks instead of patios.