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Go Back   SkyscraperPage Forum > Regional Sections > Canada > Ontario > SSP: Local Ottawa-Gatineau > Suburbs

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  #41  
Old Posted Jan 11, 2012, 4:30 AM
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  #42  
Old Posted Apr 3, 2012, 9:47 PM
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  #43  
Old Posted Apr 5, 2012, 10:11 PM
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Stumby L-Boxes

Here's what to take from the article below:

First it was going to include 540 units in buildings as high as 20 storeys

Eventually, the city agreed to 334 units in buildings up to 12 storeys — which still required a rezoning, in an area where only four-storey buildings were allowed.

Angry Residents didn't want tall development in their backyards

Now Greatwise has written to the city proposing a 400-unit development in buildings with the same floor area the city previously approved, but with a maximum height of five storeys — so they’ll be shorter but squatter, and each of them will be the same L shape.

MORE STUMPY BOXES!!

Article:
Developer reduces height, number of units proposed in Greenbank complex

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/De...391/story.html
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  #44  
Old Posted May 8, 2012, 9:48 PM
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recommended for approval by planning committee
http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Ot...636/story.html
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  #45  
Old Posted May 9, 2012, 12:17 AM
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The following quote from The Citizen's article speaks volumes:

"The fact they’re all the same height may make for a less architecturally interesting development, Chiarelli said, but that’s OK with him. 'I think people would rather it be a little less interesting than go to 12 storeys and have twice as many units,' he said."


Read more: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Co...#ixzz1uKM6ZtUZ
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  #46  
Old Posted May 9, 2012, 3:13 AM
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Originally Posted by waterloowarrior View Post
recommended for approval by planning committee
http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Ot...636/story.html
Children, PREPARE TO DIE!

Meh. Not great, exactly. But also could be a lot worse. I guess. Almost daring for the burbs, what, with mostly straight lines and all.
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  #47  
Old Posted May 9, 2012, 1:31 PM
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The image with the Citizen article must be from an earlier (rejected) proposal, because some of the buildings shown are double the approved height.
Scratch that, looks like they've updated the story with 4 new images since I read it yesterday. must admit that I liked that one a bit more.

Last edited by McC; May 9, 2012 at 1:34 PM. Reason: UPDATE
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  #48  
Old Posted May 9, 2012, 1:54 PM
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The Chiarelli quote really irks me too. He states the exact opposite sentiment from the one I hold.

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Originally Posted by Uhuniau View Post
Children, PREPARE TO DIE!

Meh. Not great, exactly. But also could be a lot worse. I guess. Almost daring for the burbs, what, with mostly straight lines and all.
I was also pleased to see that they're putting retail along Baseline, which wasn't in the earlier proposals. That at least is one improvement. Anything somewhat mixed-use is 'daring for the burbs', I suppose.
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  #49  
Old Posted May 9, 2012, 4:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McC View Post
The image with the Citizen article must be from an earlier (rejected) proposal, because some of the buildings shown are double the approved height.
Scratch that, looks like they've updated the story with 4 new images since I read it yesterday. must admit that I liked that one a bit more.



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  #50  
Old Posted May 9, 2012, 5:11 PM
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The suburbs of Vancouver have had impressive results increasing population density levels along their arterials with with wood frame apartment projects of this scale. Even though this would have been a good location for higher-profile construction, as a first step, it's also a good place to start with a project of this scale -- there's no need to go straight from houses to 20+ storey towers which become a lightning rod for opposition and resentment. There's nothing wrong with easing people in to a generation of changes that are coming to their neighbourhood, when there are so many other un/underdeveloped lots that could be built up to higher profile in the future as people get more comfortable with the idea.

To me it's a little like the situation with the CDPs currently under development for the areas around the future LRT stations that prescribe leaving the blocks of established single-family homes intact. At first blush you might ask yourself, why keep that lower density around an LRT station, but I think there's some forward thinking method to that madness. Looking around Ottawa, history seems to suggest that redevelopment often targets existing built up areas rather than the undeveloped lots, and you see perfectly good houses/buildings getting knocked down and replaced with larger developments even while nearby empty gas station and surface parking lots stay undeveloped. (who owns what lot, and the personalities involved play a role, to be sure, but this can't be the only reason that downtown parking lots last for generations while new buildings have replaced once-fine old ones). I think that under these new plans, in the short term, new development should be pushed on to those un/underdeveloped lots giving the benefits of increased population density while mitigating some of the impacts of intensification on existing neighbourhoods. But in 20 years, once the empty lots are all developed up, then, if there's still demand, restrictions on building up on lots with existing dwellings can start to be lifted, and at the same time we can reconsider what sort of scale that development should take at a time when people are much more comfortable with the idea of living in denser neighbourhoods with a mix of building types and scales.

Last edited by McC; May 9, 2012 at 7:14 PM. Reason: grammar; gjhall QFT below.
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  #51  
Old Posted May 9, 2012, 6:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McC View Post
The suburbs of Vancouver have had impressive results increasing population density levels along their arterials with with wood frame apartment projects of this scale. Even though this would have been a good location for higher-profile construction, as a first step, it's also a good place to start with a project of this scale -- there's no need to go straight from houses to 20+ storey towers which become a lightning rod for opposition and resentment. There's nothing wrong with easing people in to a generation of changes that are coming their neighbourhood, when there are so many other un/underdeveloped lots that could be built up to higher profile in the future as people get more comfortable with the idea.

To me it's a little like the situation with the CDPs currently under development for the areas around the future LRT stations that prescribe leaving the blocks of established single-family homes intact. At first blush you might ask yourself, why keep that lower density around an LRT station, but I think there's some forward thinking method to that madness. Looking around Ottawa, history seems to suggest that redevelopment often targets existing built up areas rather than the undeveloped lots, and you see perfectly good houses/buildings getting knocked down and replaced with larger developments even while nearby empty gas station and surface parking lots stay undeveloped. (who owns what lot, and the personalities involved play a role, to be sure, but this can't be the only reason that downtown parking lots last for generations while new buildings have replaced once-fine old ones). I think that under these new plans, in the short term, new development should be pushed on to those un/underdeveloped lots giving the benefits of increased population density while mitigating some of the impacts of intensification on existing neighbourhoods. But in 20 years, once the empty lots are all developed up, then, if there's still demand, restrictions on building up on lots with existing dwellings can start to be lifted, and at the same time we can reconsider what sort of scale that development should take at a time when people are much more comfortable with the idea of living in denser neighbourhoods with a mix of building types and scales.
Easiest way to achieve that: tax the value of the land, not the building/use. There goes any incentive to leave a lot vacant or extremely under-utilized.
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  #52  
Old Posted May 9, 2012, 7:05 PM
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Originally Posted by gjhall View Post
Easiest way to achieve that: tax the value of the land, not the building/use. There goes any incentive to leave a lot vacant or extremely under-utilized.
would that also reduce the property tax bill on my relatively tall and small-footprint townhouse? if so, then I'm all for it! ;-)


...


wait a second.... but wouldn't that distort the differential between urban and exurban tax rates even further? e.g., take the McMansion out of the equation and what's the piece of Dunrobin land worth? whereas my little patch of 20-some by 40-some in Mechanicsvile would still be worth...? Honest question, cause you know more planning theory than I do!
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  #53  
Old Posted May 9, 2012, 7:49 PM
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Originally Posted by McC View Post
would that also reduce the property tax bill on my relatively tall and small-footprint townhouse? if so, then I'm all for it! ;-)


...


wait a second.... but wouldn't that distort the differential between urban and exurban tax rates even further? e.g., take the McMansion out of the equation and what's the piece of Dunrobin land worth? whereas my little patch of 20-some by 40-some in Mechanicsvile would still be worth...? Honest question, cause you know more planning theory than I do!
Yes, it would, but if you added in Pamela Blais style pricing for services (water, sewer, road, etc) based on frontage, that would at least partly balance that out. I can't remember where I read about this, but it has been successful in the past at creating good urban form. There would obviously be winners and losers and finessing to be done, but it's something to think about.
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  #54  
Old Posted May 9, 2012, 7:56 PM
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Originally Posted by gjhall View Post
Yes, it would, but if you added in Pamela Blais style pricing for services (water, sewer, road, etc) based on frontage, that would at least partly balance that out. I can't remember where I read about this, but it has been successful in the past at creating good urban form. There would obviously be winners and losers and finessing to be done, but it's something to think about.
makes sense. unfortunately our political class seems to have developed a nearly all-party consensus on the idea that no one deserves to pay for the things we all use (energy, water, waste removal, transportation... social democrat, arch-Tory, libertarian, doesn't matter; although, to be fair, at least some conservatives think *you* should pay for those kinds of things that *they* don't use)
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  #55  
Old Posted May 10, 2012, 1:44 AM
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Easiest way to achieve that: tax the value of the land, not the building/use. There goes any incentive to leave a lot vacant or extremely under-utilized.
This idea keeps cropping up - and it's a bad one.

For starters, how do you determine the value of land? It's hard enough already figuring out the value of property, but now you'll not only have to figure out the value of the property but some way of subtracting the value of any buildings on it. Unless you've got lots of vacant properties lying around that change hands reasonably frequently, you simply have no good way to determine land value.

Beyond the practical issue is the distributional aspect.

Right now, the owner of a townhouse on a small plot in Little Italy can easily pay as much property tax as the owner of a large detached house on a large lot in Nepean, since the two property values are roughly the same - a low value house on a high value lot vs a high value house on a low value lot. This of course makes little sense, since the townhouse dweller in Little Italy is costing the city a lot less.

But look what happens when you switch to land value taxation: the townhouse dweller's taxes go up since his land is worth a lot while the suburbanite's taxes go down since his land is not worth all that much. We'd be going from a bad situation to one that is even worse. You create an odd incentive for cash-strapped inner area landowners to vacate properties downtown and move out to the suburbs. Over time, development downtown would get denser while development in the suburbs would get even more spread out since people can afford to hold more land for the same level of property tax due to the fact they no longer pay tax on the value of their dwelling.


The way out of this is to stop wasting everyone's time with some kind of value taxation and switch instead to land area taxation. Now your suburban dweller pays more than the resident of Little Italy. It increases the incentive to densify in the suburbs while lessening the incentive to do so downtown, resulting in a more even density overall.

It's also administratively simple since property size does not vary much over time: no more of this ritual of continual MPAC assessments and people getting upset about them.
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  #56  
Old Posted May 10, 2012, 5:47 PM
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So the little, two-bedroom, one-bath, Vetran's House, built on a double wide lot because it still has a septic system would pay as much tax as the two, five-bedroom, four-bath monster homes built on the severed lot next door which was connected to city water and sewer? But which would use more of the City's resources?

The city of Ottawa used to charge taxes based on frontage, but that didn't stop developers from selling 75' x 100' (or larger) lots. Pamela Blais's belief that charging development fees based on frontage would drive people to choose smaller lots may not be as true as she hopes. How swayed is a person who is prepared to buy a $700,000 home going to be if he can get the same house on a much smaller lot for only $695,000?

I agree that charging taxes based on lot size should have the affect of shrinking the lot sizes, but is that the only goal? Isn't there more to smart planning than making all homes five stories tall, on 20 x 20 lots?

Having large lots can push development out further and further, but does that have to be un-smart? What if it created true satellite cities on land that wasn't suitable for farming? What if there were distributed sources of water and waste disposal so that large, long, pipes were not needed?

Maybe there needs to be more zones and user-fees. Zones would handle the distance from utility plants and user-fees would capture other aspects - including road frontage. For example, typically a garbage collection fee should be the same for two families which both put out two bags of trash. However, if one family is in a neighbourhood of 100' lots and the other surrounded by 30' lots, then there is a greater efficiency for the collection in the denser neighbourhood. If a person lives on a large lot very near one of the water purification plants, should they pay the same fees as a smaller lot much further away which requires long pipe runs? As the developments further away get more dense, those long pipes need to get larger in diametre, too, eventually forcing the replacement of the pipe all the way back to the source. What about the dense street with driveways so close together that all of the snow needs to be trucked away, verses a street with larger lots onto which the snow can be plowed and left; shouldn't their user-fees for winter maintenance be different?

Making a fair municipal tax system is not a simple thing; but it should be done.
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  #57  
Old Posted May 10, 2012, 6:03 PM
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I'd rather see us pay more transparent user fees for the services we use (with rebate options for those who need it) and use a VAT (1-2 cents of HST, also rebatable) to pay for infrastructure construction like expanding the LRT network and replacing water and sewer pipe, and get these things off of the property tax base.
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  #58  
Old Posted May 11, 2012, 12:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Richard Eade View Post
So the little, two-bedroom, one-bath, Vetran's House, built on a double wide lot because it still has a septic system would pay as much tax as the two, five-bedroom, four-bath monster homes built on the severed lot next door which was connected to city water and sewer? But which would use more of the City's resources?
The way you deal with issues like that is to exclude certain fees for services where practicable, much as we already do.

Another modification is to do add in the total floor area of any buildings to the area calculation. It's more to measure and it does vary a bit more often than property size, but it's still a lot more constant than property value. The downsize to that, besides added complexity, is that it can discourage development; it's not as "clean" from an economic perspective.

Quote:

The city of Ottawa used to charge taxes based on frontage, but that didn't stop developers from selling 75' x 100' (or larger) lots.
I'd stick with area rather than frontage. Frontage really gets messed up with culs-de-sac (wedge-shaped lots). A property's contribution to the city's costs is probably more related to how much land it is occupying than how much frontage it happens to have.

Quote:
Pamela Blais's belief that charging development fees based on frontage would drive people to choose smaller lots may not be as true as she hopes. How swayed is a person who is prepared to buy a $700,000 home going to be if he can get the same house on a much smaller lot for only $695,000?
But would the difference for a "much smaller lot" really be only $5000?

Quote:
I agree that charging taxes based on lot size should have the affect of shrinking the lot sizes, but is that the only goal? Isn't there more to smart planning than making all homes five stories tall, on 20 x 20 lots?

Having large lots can push development out further and further, but does that have to be un-smart? What if it created true satellite cities on land that wasn't suitable for farming? What if there were distributed sources of water and waste disposal so that large, long, pipes were not needed?
I think that's getting into separate discussions on "strategic" land use planning that can apply pretty much regardless of the property tax regime.

Quote:
Maybe there needs to be more zones and user-fees. Zones would handle the distance from utility plants and user-fees would capture other aspects - including road frontage. For example, typically a garbage collection fee should be the same for two families which both put out two bags of trash. However, if one family is in a neighbourhood of 100' lots and the other surrounded by 30' lots, then there is a greater efficiency for the collection in the denser neighbourhood. If a person lives on a large lot very near one of the water purification plants, should they pay the same fees as a smaller lot much further away which requires long pipe runs? As the developments further away get more dense, those long pipes need to get larger in diametre, too, eventually forcing the replacement of the pipe all the way back to the source. What about the dense street with driveways so close together that all of the snow needs to be trucked away, verses a street with larger lots onto which the snow can be plowed and left; shouldn't their user-fees for winter maintenance be different?
Snow clearing and the costs associated therewith is a pandora's box of its own...

We have these wide residential streets, which on paper would give us lots of room for snow, but then we clear them fully, meaning we need still more space to store it all. Streets with boulevards would appear to offer more options than those with sidewalks next to the curb, but of course the weed lawn that develops there in the rest of the year needs to be kept under control.

In the Netherlands, a lot of residential streets are made so narrow that they are one-way only (for cars), so that would tend to lessen snow clearing needs generally.

Then there are sidewalks, which need their own specialized equipment to clear.

And on and on it goes.

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Making a fair municipal tax system is not a simple thing; but it should be done.
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  #59  
Old Posted Jul 3, 2012, 10:11 PM
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  #60  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2012, 5:39 AM
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I so wish this project was going in along Baseline at the Transitway. There is a block of old low rise apartments that would be a great location for intensification. And only a few minutes walk to the transitway. There's even a path under Baseline along the Transitway.
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