City planning staff recommend council refuse hotel proposal in ByWard Market

Proposed 17-storey hotel at 116 York St. in the ByWard Market Heritage District. Rendering: Planning Application

Monday, January 13, 2020


City planners have sent a rare refusal recommendation to council’s planning committee, arguing that a proposed 17-storey hotel wouldn’t be compatible with an area of the ByWard Market.

Bayview Ottawa Holdings filed a development application 2018 for a hotel at 116 York St., east of Dalhousie Street, hoping to open the 224-room hotel under the Hampton Inn brand.

In a report published Monday ahead of a planning committee meeting on Jan. 23, the planning department tells councillors they should refuse the application because the scale of the hotel wouldn’t fit with the surrounding neighbourhood.

It’s rare to see staff recommending council refuse a development application in a report to the planning committee. By the time reports get to the planning committee, there has usually been enough time for the developer, planning staff and the councillor to hammer out an acceptable path forward.

While a hotel is a permitted use for the property, the developer wants zoning bylaw amendments to the rules protecting heritage, building height and loading space provisions.

The city’s urban design guidelines suggest highrise buildings should be on lots of at least 1,800 square metres, but the developer’s proposal would build a hotel on a 1,016-square-metre lot. Plus, the development wouldn’t meet the minimum setbacks from other towers planned in future projects, the report says.

Planners also don’t like that there would be a wide loading and parking garage entrance off York Street since the street is eyed as an important pedestrian route.  The report criticizes the scale, massing and height for not working well with neighbouring properties and heritage buildings.

The proposed hotel would require a heritage application because the property would be in a heritage conservation district, but the city hasn’t received a heritage application. According to the report, city heritage staff already agree that the proposed hotel isn’t compatible with the heritage district.

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Related Reading:

City Staff Report to Planning and Council | Zoning By-Law Amendment, 116 York Street *

* Heritage Ottawa's comments appear at pages 26-27 of the Report.