Reevely: Sandy Hill is where Ottawa needs to get intensification right, or go the way of Toronto
Ottawa Citizen

By David Reevely, Ottawa Citizen, May 2, 2017

Sandy Hill is Ottawa’s prime territory for new apartments the city needs, but we’re a long way from figuring out how to make them welcome there.

Consider a four-storey building in the works for a group of lots at 407 Nelson St., in the middle of a block just east of the University of Ottawa. The project doesn’t need a rezoning, just approval of its details. Because Sandy Hill, and a handful of other downtown neighbourhoods roughly hugging the Rideau River, have unusual zoning.

Most of Sandy Hill has zoning one notch denser than the bulk of downtown’s residential streets, which max out at triplexes. In what’s called an “R4” zone, you can build a four-storey apartment building that occupies more of its lot and packs in a lot more people. Practically, that’s when digging an underground garage starts to make financial sense and where you get buildings constructed for the purpose of renting apartments out.

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