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City of Ottawa

Ottawa Urban Design Review Panel 2011 Processes and procedures for the Ottawa Urban Design Review Panel 2011


Table of Contents Background ................................................................................................................................................. 2 Mission ......................................................................................................................................................... 2 Guiding Principles ...................................................................................................................................... 2 Panel Composition ..................................................................................................................................... 3 Quorum ........................................................................................................................................................ 3 Conflicts of Interest .................................................................................................................................... 3 Duration of Appointment ........................................................................................................................... 3 Chair ............................................................................................................................................................. 3 Panel Function ............................................................................................................................................ 4 Design Priority Areas ................................................................................................................................. 5 General Scope of Review ......................................................................................................................... 5 Conditions and Limitations ........................................................................................................................ 5 Panel Coordinator ...................................................................................................................................... 7 Expense Reimbursement .......................................................................................................................... 7 Public Involvement ..................................................................................................................................... 7 Design Review Procedures – A Two-Phased Approach...................................................................... 7 Panel Recommendations .......................................................................................................................... 8 Presentation and Design Review Format ............................................................................................... 8 Typical Review Panel Agenda ................................................................................................................. 9 Submission Requirements ...................................................................................................................... 10

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Background On October 6th 2010 City Council approved the Ottawa Urban Design Review Panel as a permanent structure within the development review process for the City of Ottawa. The Panel is an independent body comprised of experienced design professionals that provide a peer review of development applications occurring in designated areas of the City. Mission By providing an objective peer review of both capital and private sector development projects, the Panel shall help the City achieve architectural and urban design excellence. As a result, development will have a full understanding of its likely impact on the immediate surroundings, the public realm and the wider context. Quality design shall be a priority in development review and will be a central feature in the open, creative dialogue between Panel members. Guiding Principles The following principles shall guide the Design Review Panel: The Panel shall strive to develop a design culture befitting the Nation‟s Capital, extending throughout the City The high urban design threshold that has been established for the downtown core shall be applied outwards to the entire city, in areas designated by the Official Plan as Design Priority Areas. The Panel‟s advice shall be conveyed to Council and the community in a transparent, public manner The Panel‟s advice to staff shall be conveyed to Council and the community in an active and transparent fashion, in recognition of the significant time the Panel devotes to application review. Panel meetings, materials and decisions will be accessible to the public either in person or via minutes and proposals featured online at www.ottawa.ca/reviewpanel. Where staff is unable to implement the Panel‟s recommendations or the applicant is unwilling to incorporate Panel recommendations, staff will refer the approval to the appropriate Committee. The Panel‟s review of applications shall be timely, within Council-approved timelines The City is committed to a high urban design threshold while at the same time ensuring that the Council-approved timelines for application review are achieved. The applicant will need to preconsult with the Panel before significant design of the proposal has been undertaken and before units within the development have been pre-sold to the public, so that design improvements can be made without jeopardizing developer obligations. The Panel‟s second phase of design review will occur within the Council-approved 28-day circulation period for development applications. The Panel will convene at City Hall on the first Thursday of every month, commencing November 2010. 2


Panel Composition The Panel shall be comprised of 10 expert design professionals. All members are senior professionals able to evaluate projects of varying complexities and contexts related to their profession, communicate effectively within a multidisciplinary panel, have an understanding of the municipal planning system and the development approval process, have practical work experience, are champions for design excellence in the City of Ottawa, and are registered members in good standing of their respective professional associations. The Panel is made up of the following professionals: Five (5) Architects Two (2) Landscape Architects One (1) Urban Planner One (1) Green Technologies Specialist One (1) Heritage Conservation Specialist (adjunct member) Quorum A minimum quorum of six panel members shall convene as the Ottawa Urban Design Review Panel. The Heritage Conservation Specialist shall be an adjunct member of the quorum, being called upon to review development applications that directly or indirectly affect heritage resources. Conflicts of Interest Conflicts of interest shall be identified by Panel members at the beginning of every Design Review meeting. After presenting the agenda for the day, the Chair will ask members of the Panel to identify conflicts of interest. A conflict of interest occurs when a Panel member is called upon to review an application in which the member has a direct or indirect, perceived or real, personal, professional and/or financial interest in the project. Duration of Appointment Members shall be appointed to a term of three (3) years. Members may be appointed to a maximum of two consecutive terms. The terms of members should be staggered to ensure a smooth transition between terms and new members. The duration of a memberâ€&#x;s appointment is also dependent on the fulfillment of the minimum attendance qualifications. If a Panel member misses more than 3 meetings per year (attending a minimum of 8 out of 11 meetings per year) or misses two meetings consecutively, their membership will be up for discussion and may be annulled. Chair A Chair and Vice Chair shall be chosen by the Panel, from the Panel. The Chair is responsible 3


for leading Panel meetings, introducing presenters, ensuring all Panel members participate in review discussions, and summarizing key points of consensus, outstanding issues and final recommendations at the end of every Panel meeting. In the event that the Chair cannot attend a meeting, the Vice Chair will serve as Chair. Panel Function The Panel will provide urban design advice and input on: i.

ii.

iii.

Zoning By-law applications proposed within Design Priority Areas (DPAs) where there is a request for a change in density or height. Zoning applications are only subject to preconsultation meetings, not formal reviews. Site Plan Control applications proposed within DPAs. Site Plan Control applications include the construction, erection or placement of buildings on lands or large additions to townhouses/row houses, apartment buildings, mixed use buildings, retirement homes, planned unit developments and large commercial, industrial and institutional buildings, and; Public capital projects such as new buildings, major renovations to public buildings, major infrastructure projects (such as bridges, new streets, transitway and transit stations), and streetscaping projects. For public capital projects that require Panel review, City staff shall meet with panel members prior to the project scoping phase and again during preliminary design phase to enable staff to determine the financial implications of Panel recommendations.

There are nine exceptions to the above-mentioned applications. The Panel will NOT review applications within DPAs that are: i. ii. iii. iv. v. vi. vii. viii. ix.

Small scale residential projects (for example, residential developments below nine units) Commercial and institutional development less than 1,858 square metres (20,000 square feet) Revisions to plans that have received design approval where the change maintains the overall design response associated with the initial approval Additions to buildings that are not located along a public right-of-way Parking lots Restaurant Conversions subject to Site Plan Control Public and private park development (they are already subject to a detailed design process involving community input) Proposals subject to P3 agreements Proposals within the Arterial Mainstreet Designation beyond 40 m from the Right-of-Way (for example, a retail pad at the rear of a large lot). This exception is intended to focus the Panel‟s efforts on the proposal‟s relationship to the public realm. For large undeveloped sites, this exception may not apply and will be at the Panel co-coordinator‟s discretion.

Of special note: Projects in DPAs that require design approval from the Ottawa Built Heritage Advisory Committee (OBHAC) or National Capital Commission (NCC) will be subject to Panel design review; however, Panel recommendations will be forwarded to the applicable organizational body for information and final design approval.

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Design Priority Areas Design Priority Areas are special “people places” within the City and are areas to direct growth, protect and enhance character, achieve sustainability, and focus coordinated urban design efforts. The City OP designates the Design Priority Areas such as Downtown Ottawa; Traditional and Arterial Mainstreets; Mixed Use Centres; Rural Village Mainstreets; and, Village cores. Refer to the Design Priority Areas map (Appendix 1) for geographic locations. The character of DPAs varies significantly from mature, dense, established urban areas to more suburban, low-density areas. Despite the varying contexts and complexities among DPAs, the high urban design threshold established for the downtown core shall be applied outwards to the entire city. General Scope of Review All applicable public projects and private developments within the public realm will be reviewed for their contribution to an enhanced pedestrian environment and their response to the distinct character and unique opportunities of the area. The public realm refers to all of those private and publicly owned spaces and places which are freely available to the public to use and enjoy. Wider sidewalks, shade trees, coordinated furnishings and utilities, enhanced transit stops, decorative lighting, public art, median planting and treatments, enhanced pedestrian surfaces, traffic calming, natural public spaces, compact development, quality architecture and façade treatments, appropriate building scale and massing, seasonal plantings, distinct signage, pedestrian connections, entrance features, commemorations, and seasonal decoration are among the creative and enhanced urban design responses that may be used to ensure that Design Priority Areas fulfill their primary role as the City‟s most important „people‟ places. Members will have an opportunity to provide critical input and advice for every application presented at the Panel; however, convening members shall also be presented with a staff assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of every proposal. The purpose of the assessment is to focus the Panel‟s review and solicit expert advice to address the most critical urban design issues. Conditions and Limitations Because the Panel is not a formalized part of the City of Ottawa‟s statutory regulatory process, there are limitations concerning its roles and responsibilities: Recommendations are advisory The critical input, advice, comments and recommendations of the Panel are not a binding or authoritative element of a regulatory review process. Regardless, the Panel plays an important role in adding value to the development of capital and private projects by providing expert professional advice toward achieving better urban design. 5


Review is limited to materials submitted The Panel‟s advice and insight shall be restricted to the materials submitted for the individual projects during the design review. The Panel may make suggestions and offer guidance on design issues; however, the intent is not for the Panel to generate alternative plans and designs of its own. The Panel shall not produce competing plans for individual projects and the City shall not ask the Panel to create original work for consideration or to fill in gaps of other design professionals. Review shall operate within existing municipal processes and frameworks The Panel will work within the existing municipal framework established by the City as well as abide by approved City plans, policies, directives and initiatives, which shall be outlined by staff as necessary. The advice and insight resulting from Panel review should support the OP, secondary plans, urban design guidelines, Zoning By-law, etc. For individual projects, the Panel is expected to help achieve the best urban design results within the existing municipal framework. The Design Review Panel process shall operate within the Council-approved timelines for development application review process. The existing development application review process takes between 146 days (for Zoning By-law amendments from the time of submission to the end of appeal) and 74 days (for Site Plan Control applications with public notice and delegated authority). These timelines occur within a 12-step Development Application Review process (note: not all steps are required in every application, some processes do not include public notification): 1. Pre-application consultation Pre-application consultation with Ottawa Urban Design Review Panel 2. Application submission 3. Application deemed complete 4. Community “heads up” 5. Circulation to technical agencies, community associations and Ward Councillors begins (circulation lasts 28 days) Formal consultation with Ottawa Urban Design Review Panel 6. Posting of on-site signs (signs remain on site until a decision is rendered on the application) 7. Community information and comment session 8. Issue resolution – staff memorandum or Committee report preparation 9. Notice of decision 10. Notice of public meeting 11. Notice of decision by Committee or Council 12. Post application Applicable development proposals shall each be reviewed twice by the Panel. Proposals will be reviewed by the Panel within Step 1 and Step 5.

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Panel Coordinator A Design Panel Coordinator from City staff shall be assigned to administer and manage the logistics and workings of the Design Review Panel. The Coordinator shall be the primary liaison between Panel members and the City, and be responsible for preparing meeting agendas, recording and distributing meeting minutes, and ensuring review materials are accessible to Panel members a minimum of five (5) working days prior to meetings. The Coordinator will manage the information on www.ottawa.ca/reviewpanel and handle public questions. Expense Reimbursement Panel members serve on an unpaid, voluntary basis; however, travel, accommodation, meals and incidental expenses incurred by the panel members shall be reimbursed by the City. Panel members are to submit original receipts (no scanned copies, no direct payment or credit card vouchers) to a designated City administrative assistant (refer to Appendix 2 for the Reimbursement form). Panel members will also need to indicate whom to make cheques payable to and provide a mailing address. The reimbursement process takes approximately 15 working days, upon submission of receipts. The standard for air travel is Economy Class, the standard for rail travel is Business Class – Discounted Fare and the standard for rental vehicles in Mid-Size. The standard for accommodation is a single room. Public Involvement The public will not be able to attend the pre-consultation phase of the Design Review Panel to respect the confidentiality of proponents who may be considering new development but who have not yet initiated public dialogue. The public is welcome to attend the formal Design Review Panel meetings as observers. Public delegations, however, will not be permitted as the focus of Panel meetings shall be to conduct a design review of the proponentâ€&#x;s response to City design objectives. The agenda and minutes of Panel meetings shall be posted online at www.ottawa.ca/reviewpanel. The purpose of the website is to provide the public with information on the projects being reviewed and to raise awareness of the importance of urban design. Design Review Procedures – A Two-Phased Approach The proponent will meet with the Panel at least twice for all projects subject to Design Review; the first occurrence (Phase 1) is at the pre-consultation stage prior to formal application, and the second occurrence (Phase 2) is once a formal application has been made. Phase 1 At the first phase of Design Review staff will provide the Panel with a brief summary of the pre7


application consultation issues. Afterward, the Panel will discuss the overall project and will define the key urban design objectives to be addressed during the project design process. These design objectives shall be reviewed again at the second phase of Design Review. The Design Brief After the first phase of Design Review the applicant will craft a Design Brief and submit it with their formal development application. The Design Brief will focus on the key design objectives being advanced and will be supplementary to the graphic materials that depict the design details. Five (5) working days before the second phase of Design Review, an assigned staff member shall post a design memorandum at www.ottawa.ca/reviewpanel that provides an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the proposal, based on the Design Brief, and the input from the first phase of Design Review. Staff shall identify important aspects of the project design that require specific input from the Panel at the second phase of Design Review. Phase 2 The assigned Planner shall present a design memorandum to the Panel, followed by a presentation made by the proponent. The Panel will, if required, seek clarification from the proponent on the project design and/or from staff on relevant planning and design policies/guidelines. The Panel will then discuss and deliberate any design elements they feel need to be addressed and will formulate and table recommendations for project design enhancements or modifications. Prior to the Panel making their final recommendations, the proponent will have an opportunity to respond to the tabled recommendations. An assigned City staff shall record the final recommendations of the Panel for use by staff and the proponent. If the Panel decides the design development has not sufficiently addressed issues raised in the first phase of Design Review or that there are additional items that require more refinement, the Panel may recommend that the proponent return for a third session. Panel Recommendations Final recommendations made by the Panel during the second phase of Design Review will guide staff and the proponent as they work to achieve project modifications that respond to the Panelâ€&#x;s input and to finalize the design. Once a project has been reviewed, those urban design elements supported by the Panel must not change or the support of the Panel shall be considered withdrawn, pending a third review of the design project. Presentation and Design Review Format The review proceedings will be led by the Chair of the Design Review Panel and will follow the general sequence described below:

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Phase 1 Pre-consultation Design Review i.

Staff introduction of project (5 minutes): Invited by Chair, the assigned Planner will present a summary of the pre-consultation meeting held between the proponent and staff. The file lead is presenting as a planning resource for the Panel on behalf of the City.

ii.

Proponent(s) introduce themselves and present the project as concisely as possible (8 minutes): A PowerPoint or PDF presentation is required. No new material may be presented that was not included in the submission package.

iii.

Panel questions and clarifications (5 minutes): Proponent(s) answer questions of clarification from the Panel

iv.

Panel comment period (22 minutes): Presenter(s) are seated and Panel Chair opens the comment period by restating the critical issues and areas in which the advice of the Panel is being sought. The Panel will comment on the project in a manner intended to provide objective and constructive feedback to the proponent. Proponents will be allowed to listen to the deliberations but may not address the Panel at this point. As a general rule, the Panel will not discuss projects without at least one representative of the proponent design team present. In cases where the Panel feels an in-camera session is necessary, the proponent will be asked to wait outside until those deliberations are completed.

v.

Summary of the Panelâ€&#x;s recommendations (5 minutes): The Chair will summarize the Panel recommendations, and direct the proponent to work with staff to address those issues. If the Panel decides the design development has not sufficiently addressed issues raised in the first phase of Design Review or that there are additional items that require more refinement, the Panel may recommend that the proponent return for a third session.

vi.

Proponent(s) are given the opportunity to respond to the Panelâ€&#x;s comments (5 minutes).

Typical Review Panel Agenda The agenda below is for illustrative purposes and may vary each month depending upon the specific projects to be discussed. In general, Panel members should expect to be in Ottawa for a full working day. 9:00 a.m. Meeting to Order Introduction of the agenda for the day Staff mention of projects that have been approved since the last Panel meeting and the design advancements achieved Declaration of Conflicts of Interest In-camera discussion 10:00 a.m. Project #1 10:50 a.m. 10-minute break 9


11:00 a.m. Project #2 11:50 a.m. Lunch Break 1:00 p.m. Project #3 1:50 p.m. 10-minute break 2:00 p.m. Project #4 2:50 p.m. 10-minute break 3:00 p.m. Project #5 3:50 p.m. 10-minute break 4:00 p.m. Project #6 4:50 p.m. End of Day Submission Requirements

The applicant is required to provide detailed submission materials two weeks prior to the Panel meeting (see Panel Meeting Schedule). Staff will pull an application from the agenda of a Panel meeting if the submission is late or if the requirements are not met. If the UDRP submission materials are submitted on time and are deemed complete, the applicant will be notified of the time and location for their scheduled meeting with the Panel approximately a week ahead of the meeting. For an applicant to get on an UDRP meeting agenda: The applicant must have a formal pre-consultation with City staff before the submission package deadline. For formal reviews, the site plan application must be submitted to the City and be on circulation to technical agencies, community associates and Ward Councillors before the submission package deadline. The applicant must notify the File Lead and the Panel Co-ordinator of their intention to be on the upcoming agenda before the submission package deadline. The applicant must submit all required submission materials by the submission deadline. All eligible projects will be added to the final agenda on a first-come, firstserve basis. Submission materials shall be professionally prepared, legible, clear, to scale and accurately represent all the design aspects of the project in question. Please note, even if an applicant has submitted a timely and complete package and has made it onto the draft agenda, they may still be bumped to the next meeting if there are more items than the Panel can hear in one session. Under exceptional circumstances, where Panel quorum is available and willing, additional applications may be heard. For pre-consultation submission materials, the proponent shall submit: Submission checklist for applicants Applicant project summary sheet 10


Submission package. All materials are to be submitted in PDF format at 11 x 17 inch size and batched into one file. There is a file size limit of 10MB. To be complete, the submission package must include the following: o Context plan (showing abutting properties and key destinations and linkages within a 100 m radius (a larger radius may be requested for larger/more complex projects), such as nearby transit stations, major roads, parks, major open spaces, planning boundaries, landmark buildings, etc.) o Photographs to illustrate existing site conditions and surrounding contexts. Include a map pinpointing (with numbers) where each photo is taken and correspond these numbers with the site photos. Arrows illustrating the direction the photo is taken is also useful. o Models and/or illustrations that show the project massing and figure ground relationships in its urban context. The intent is to show the Panel how the proposed development‟s design and scale relate to existing context; as well, massing illustrations provide the Panel with an understanding of the overarching approach to the design of the site. These models must accurately reflect the relationship between the subject and its context. o Models and/or illustrations showing that alternatives for site layout and building massing have been considered. These alternatives may be simple concepts or sketches as long as they can convey the applicant‟s thought process and reasoning for the development of the proposed development. o Draft site plan o Grading information, if grades are an issue. o Sustainability measures, if any are taken. o It is recommended that applicants also provide first floor plan/podium plan that demonstrates the proposal‟s functional relationship to its surroundings. o Good example of a pre-consultation submission package Presentation in PowerPoint or PDF format. There is a file size limit of 10MB. It is at the applicant‟s discretion as to whether or not they would like their presentation to be the same or different from their submission package. The presentation must be submitted at the same time as the submission package. Presentations brought the day-of the UDRP meeting will not be accepted For formal design review meeting submission materials, the proponent shall submit: Zoning applications do not have to come back for a formal design review meeting with the UDRP. Submission checklist for applicants Applicant project summary sheet Submission package. All materials are to be submitted in PDF format at 11 x 17 inch size and batched into one file. There is a file size limit of 10MB. To be complete, the submission package must include the following: o A concise summary and response to the applicable City urban design guidelines and policies, and to the urban design issues identified at the preapplication consultation with Panel. 11


A set of site-specific urban design objectives, derived from the pre-application consultation with the Panel. o A contextual analysis that discusses/illustrates abutting properties, key destinations and linkages within a 100 m radius (a larger radius may be requested for larger/more complex projects), such as transit stations; transportation networks for cars, cyclists, and pedestrians; focal points/nodes; gateways; parks/open spaces; topography; views towards the site; the urban pattern (streets, blocks); future and current proposals, public art, heritage resources, etc. o Models and/or illustrations that show the project massing and figure ground relationships in its urban context. o Detailed perspective drawings or computer models (placing particular emphasis on the first few storeys and how the project responds to and relates to its urban context). Perspective drawings should be set within the existing streetscape, indicating fit within development on both sides of the street. The intent is to show the Panel how the proposed developmentâ€&#x;s design and scale relate to existing context; as well, massing illustrations provide the Panel with an understanding of the overarching approach to the design of the site. o Site plan o Landscape Plan o Building Elevations (detailing proposed materials and colours) o A plan showing existing and proposed servicing o Section and floor plans o Sun/shadow studies, if requested by the Panel during pre-consultation o Wind studies for development, if requested by the Panel during preconsultation. o An explanation of any sustainability measures taken. o Portions of building elevations at a 1:50 scale, if requested by the Panel during pre-consultation. Presentation in PowerPoint or PDF format. There is a file size limit of 10MB. It is at the applicantâ€&#x;s discretion as to whether or not they would like their presentation to be the same or different from their submission package. The presentation must be submitted at the same time as the submission package. Presentations brought the day-of the UDRP meeting will not be accepted. o

The Submission Package is prepared by the proponent. The Submission Package should highlight the key urban design features of a proposal. It should explain why the proposed development represents the most appropriate design solution and should not be a reflection of, or an argument for, a preferred development scheme. The Submission Package should include text, diagrams, plans, sections, illustrations, perspectives and photographs to illustrate the intent, results and impacts of the design. It should be largely graphical, with the textual component being about four pages long. The following urban design considerations should be discussed within the Submission Package: site design, built form, building articulation, character, architectural treatment, 12


lighting, signage, servicing, heritage considerations and green technologies / considerations. The Submission Package is not to include long excerpts of text from the Official Plan or from any applicable secondary plan or community design plan.

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