Photo: Heritage Ottawa

Tuesday, September 17, 2019


On September 18, the Committee of Adjustment will be considering an application by the owners of the Château Laurier for “minor variances” from the Heritage Overlay Provisions of the Zoning By-law which applies to the Château Laurier property at 1 Rideau Street. Relief from these "minor variances" is required before a Building Permit can be issued for the construction of the proposed addition to the historic hotel.

Heritage Ottawa’s legal counsel, led by Marc Denhez, will be appearing at the Committee of Adjustment to challenge the application. The applicant has applied for a “rear yard variance” under the Planning Act section 45(1), citing the Act’s “four tests” pertaining to intent of the Official Plan, intent of the Zoning By-law, desirability, and whether the variance is “minor”.

The challenge to the application is based on six objections:

• It for the wrong subject-matter;
• It is under the wrong legislation, and the decision requested of the Committee is under the wrong authority;
• “No Development” without a Variance for Frontage;
• It is not consistent with the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS);
• It is not consistent with the City of Ottawa Official Plan;
• It is not consistent with criteria of the Planning Act.

The Committee is not authorized by the Act to issue decisions which are not “consistent” with the PPS, or otherwise inconsistent with the criteria with principles of good planning and the criteria of the Act.

Alternatively, under s. 45(2), the Committee’s decision must be equally “consistent” with the PPS. That decision is also subject to “good planning principles” (including, by extension, the Official Plan); the application must be desirable for the appropriate development of the subject property; and it must avoid “impact” on surrounding uses which is unacceptably “adverse”.

Heritage Ottawa’s legal counsel includes three expert opinions demonstrating that the application fails on all counts. Professional opinions will be provided by Lloyd Phillips, MCIP, RPP, planning expert; Julia Gersovitz, O.C. B.Arch, M.Sc., architectural/heritage expert; and Christina Cameron, O.C., Ph.D, heritage expert.

Heritage Ottawa’s challenge of the application will demonstrate that is must be dismissed in its entirety as fatally flawed; unauthorized under the relevant legislation, and unfounded under the relevant policies.

For a summary of Heritage Ottawa’s legal challenge, read legal counsel’s letter to the Committee of Adjustment HERE.


Submission to the City of Ottawa Committee of Adjustment Hearing concerning the Variance Application for 1 Rideau Street, File No. D08-02-19/A-00259.

Related Reading: