September 12, 2017
The City of Ottawa’s planning committee added hundreds of properties to the city’s heritage register, but agreed to hold off on eight buildings because their owners complained.
Coun. Steven Blais called the move unfair to the people who didn’t have time to come to City Hall to speak to the committee or aren’t aware of the implications of the register on their properties.
“I don’t think the failure to respond should be an indication of your support,” Blais said. He wanted to see councillors halt the addition of all the properties.
The register, a list of buildings with some kind of heritage value, requires owners of buildings on the list to give the city 60 days notice if they want to demolish the buildings. That would allow city staff to investigate whether or not they should be saved.
City staff had recommended adding nearly 350 properties from Old Ottawa South and Old Ottawa East to the register.
But at Tuesday’s meeting, homeowners said getting their houses added to the list would cripple their property values.
Robert Lee, who owns the building at 91 Concord St., said expert consultants have told him his property value could drop by as much as $250,000 if his home is added to the register.
He asked that his property be removed from consideration “given the damaging and harmful impact on my property value.”
The planning committee removed Lee’s building from the list along with others who voiced their concerns, and said they will be reevaluated to see if there’s any reason to take them off.
If the homes still qualify for the register, they will be brought back before councillors for another vote.
Lee said he’s happy about the reprieve but still has concerns.
“I think there’s still tremendous ambiguity about the process and inclusion and the registry and, most importantly, the financial impacts on homeowners,” he said.