Interactive map shows coming changes to Ottawa’s zoning bylaws

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Confused by corridors? Puzzled by parking? Do you mix up your Mainstreet Zone 1s with your Mainstreet Zone 2s?

A new interactive map uploaded Friday by the City of Ottawa might help better understand the hodge podge of current zoning rules and the changes coming with the Comprehensive Zoning Bylaw Amendment.

The map, now on the Engage Ottawa website, offers a side-by-side comparison of zoning as it is now and as it will be when the new bylaws are enacted, likely in late 2025. It’s a visual representation of the 289-page first draft of the amended bylaws.

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“This is a snapshot of how the city is on May 31,” said Carol Ruddy, the city’s program manager for zoning and intensification. Work on the map began more than a year ago and it uses some of the mountain of data collected for the city’s “digital twin” a virtual model of the city, above and below ground, currently in development.

The map will evolve with periodic updates as new information is mapped, legislation changes and the proposed bylaws are adjusted in subsequent drafts, Ruddy said.

Users of the interactive map can click on any area of the city and use a slider to see the current zoning and how the zoning will change with the proposed new rules. Clickable options show the zoning on a map or superimposed on air photos. Ward boundaries can be added. New floodplain mapping is shown. Eventually, it’s hoped to include information from the digital twin to show buildings in 3D.

A click brings up a window with details of the zoning, both current and under consideration.

The map also allows feedback as part of the public consultation process for the bylaw amendments.

It is the largest overhaul of Ottawa’s zoning bylaws since amalgamation in 2001 and will forever change the way the city grows and develops. Inside the draft document are new rules governing how many units can be built on a single lot, new property line setbacks, higher height limits and an end to the requirement to provide a minimum amount of parking. It allows new businesses to operate on residential streets, tightens the protection for trees and green space and encourages taller, denser development around transit hubs.

A second draft will be released in late 2024, with final approval expected in December 2025.

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