It’s currently unclear what is being proposed.
The Butler Automotive Group purchased the Hydro Ottawa land at Merivale and Slack Road.
Fotenn (a design firm) was engaged by the Butler Group for the Merivale Road lands and submitted a Zoning By-law Amendment to expand the range of uses permitted within the existing buildings. A “Business Park Industrial (IP) Zone” was proposed with a site-specific Exception that would permit additional uses. Business Park Industrial Zone permits a variety of office and light industrial uses.
Fotenn proposed an amendment to include a site specific exception that would allow for the following additional uses: automobile body shop, heavy equipment and vehicle sales, rental and servicing, retail food store, retail store and storage yard. Butler’s main business is car and RV dealerships and the rezoning to the IP zone (with the additional uses) could now also permit automobile dealership and automobile rental establishment but to date, the Butler Group has not advised Fotenn that they intend to use the back part of the site (where Hydro Ottawa used to store their trucks) for a dealership.
In response to GCA’s inquiry, Fotenn confirmed that they have no tenants signed up for the
building space or any portion of the site. It does not appear that the Butler Group, at least at this time is contemplating a dealership or RV sales. Our understanding is that the application is intended to provide them with additional flexibility and options to lease and retrofit the existing buildings on the site.
The test for a rezoning application is conformity to the City’s Official Plan policies and
consistency with the Provincial Policy Statements. The area is designated as an Urban
Employment Area under the City’s Official Plan. That section talks about the type of uses
permitted for this designation and you can reference them here (Section 3.6.5). The designation permits traditional industrial uses such as manufacturing, warehousing, distribution, storage, as well as office, and various ancillary uses.
Following discussions with the City of Ottawa planning department and community consultations, Butler has already agreed to the following concessions:
- Removing four uses from the proposed zoning, including retail store and retail food store
(at the request of City Staff), and cannabis production facility and gas bar (at the request
of the Community Associations);
- Prohibiting three uses (automobile body shop; heavy equipment sales, rental and
servicing; and storage yard) from being located within 40 metres of the property line along
Merivale Road; and Implementing a wider buffer (5 metres) along Merivale and Slack (normally the Zoning By-law requires 1.5 metres - 3 metres around a parking lot).
However, we were unable to obtain additional concessions like removing a drive through facility from permitted uses.
As there is no proposed new construction or additions to any of the existing buildings at this
time, no additional studies were requested.
The Planning Committee, on November 14, approved the rezoning, along with two motions and one technical amendment. The motions prohibit a gas bar and cannabis production facility as well as limiting the percentage of the lot that can be used for the outdoor display, sale, rental, servicing and storage of motor vehicles and heavy vehicles.