Max Szyc | Fulcrum Staff

A PROPERTY OWNER who is attempting to convert a Sandy Hill retirement home into rental apartments will likely go forward with construction following the approval of a proposed parking plan by city council’s planning committee.

The retirement suites, located at the northeast corner of Friel Street and Laurier Avenue East will  be turned into single-occupant rental apartments intended for students and young professionals.

However, the 91 proposed units would require 62 parking spaces, significantly more than the 32 parking spaces presently available. Ten of those spaces were acquired in a 2002 cash-in-lieu-of-parking arrangement. A cash-in-lieu plan would force the property owner to pay over $128,000 to Ottawa’s parking reserve fund. One counsellor presented a motion to reduce that amount.

Fear that a lack of parking could negatively affect the surrounding communities led to difficulties when the idea was first proposed, as the units are meant for tenants who do not own cars. The property owner does not believe that the new units will pose a problem and thinks that the number of available spaces is adequate, especially since many new tenants will likely be walking, cycling, or taking public transit.

The planning committee approved the parking proposal and gave the owner six months to enter an agreement.