Ward 02 — Lori Stinson
Our Grade — Yellow
Despite answering yes to five questions here, Lori Stinson believes that it is already too easy for developers to apply for housing permits. While she opposes “sprawl”, her example was a nine-story building on Innes road that she felt more community consultation was necessary for (Rogers Debate).
She says she would also get developers to commit to affordable housing (Rogers Debate) by increasing inclusionary zoning requirements. This is what we call the magic wand approach — it simply won’t work without proper offsets, as outlined in our Win-Win Inclusionary Zoning policy.
Laura supports intensification within the urban boundary to degrees equal to or exceeding the Official Plan, and supporting 15-minute communities but also opposes zoning reforms without the consultation of local residents. She would also increase developer fees, which could dramatically increase the cost of housing.
We appreciate her support for ending exclusionary zoning and believe we could work with Lori to implement policies that would make housing affordable.
Q1: Do you support reforms that would make our zoning policies more simple, permissive, with an explicit goal of fixing our housing shortage, creating 15 minute walkable neighbourhoods, and building missing middle housing city-wide?
The importance of earmarking land for exclusively residential use through zoning was highlighted recently by the quickly ballooning illegal short term rental market in Ottawa (namely with the rise of platforms like AirBnB) that has contributed to low vacancy rates, and therefore homelessness. The city was forced to take action through a new regulatory system to ensure it could protect limited residential stock from being used as de facto hotels.
This is but one example of why the public, through local government, must continue to regulate land use planning using zoning, and other planning policies. It is true that these policies can be blunt tools, and processes associated with them can be laborious and inefficient; but that does not need to be the case. Indeed, the city can do a better job of regulating the built environment, rather than simply ceding more control to development corporations.
Yes, the city should make some of its zoning and planning policies more permissive, but the opposite is also true in some circumstances. For example, site plan control on quadruplexes and low rise residential developments, can in sensitive community contexts, be instrumental in improving the quality of life for both new development residents and those of pre-existing neighbouring lots; thus contributing to a stronger communal fabric, not straining it.
Q2: Do you support a target of 100,000 new homes in Ottawa in the next 10 years? This is the number that leading housing economists agree we need to build in order to restore housing affordability in our city. Our current Official Plan target is just 75,000 — far short of where we need to be.
Yes. We need more low-rise and missing middle housing across the city, including in Orleans. We also need some more mid-rise residential options. However, where this density is realized, and to what extent in different areas of our community, should be a community driven process facilitated by the city. This is what public planning should look like. It is more efficient to take a little longer to do it right in the first place than it is to have to address problems or failure later.
We can meet the ambitious objectives in the new official plan, and even exceed them, without compromising on democratic input into planning. The current model that favours lot-by-lot planning driven by the private sector is a costly and time consuming process that is not working for anyone in its current state. It is not really planning at all.
We need to address growing homelessness and impoverishment in our neighbourhoods and in our city. No amount of deregulation, tax cuts, fee reductions, or subsidies for developers will adequately address the issue. They will continue to make it worse. We must move beyond market solutions and consider more public options, including the possibility of a municipally run developer who can help us realize returns on our capital investments into non-market housing.
Elders who wish to age in their community should have suitable and affordable options to do so; young adults should not have to leave their community when leaving their parental home if they do not want to. Moreover, no one should be homeless in any city, nevermind a winter city, and certainly not in the capital of one of the richest countries in the world.
Q3: Do you agree we need to fix public consultations so that more voices are heard, and so they consider the benefits of projects to the people who will live in new homes — not just existing homeowners?
Yes. The city needs to build trust with residents, and it can do this by giving the public a greater say over their built environment. Cynicism from planners about residents’ ability to make sound planning decisions for their neighbourhoods is matched by cynicism from residents about whose interests the planning department prioritizes. Residents will make the right choices for their neighbourhoods given the chance, and given all relevant information.
Q4: Do you support ending mandatory parking minimums for new developments so that builders can decide if they want to build transit-friendly communities around transit stations?
Q5: Do you support a win-win inclusionary zoning plan that asks developers to include affordable housing in their developments, in exchange for lower fees, faster approvals, or more density?
Changes to zoning and other regulatory tools that shape and facilitate private sector investments in development will not solve the housing crisis. The city must take an active role in ensuring that community planning and affordable housing is a priority by directly investing in the creation of non-market housing.
Q6: Will you ask the next Mayor and Council to invest in building deeply affordable housing in your ward and take a leadership role in reducing waitlists and repair backlogs for social housing across the city?
Q7: Do you support ending exclusionary R1 zoning rules that keep renters, students, and working class families out of neighbourhoods in the name of “protecting neighbourhood character”?