December 6, 2023

Food City

The Best Darn Food City Uou Can Get

15-minute neighbourhoods: City could allow more food stores

Two city of Ottawa committees are looking at changing zoning rules that prohibit grocery and other food stores in certain areas.

Most areas in the city allow for what are known officially as “retail food stores”, which include supermarkets, butcher shops, bakeries, produce outlets, delicatessens and farmer’s markets. Some places, however, allow only retail stores and restaurants, but not retail food stores.

A report prepared for the planning and housing committee and the agriculture and rural affairs committee recommends amending zoning bylaws to allow retail food stores in several more parts of the city.

“Food is a basic requirement for a healthy, walkable 15-minute neighbourhood,” the report says. “The Zoning By-law already permits retail food stores broadly across the city. Generally, where a retail store is a permitted use, a retail food store is also a permitted use. However, for the remaining zones where retail store is permitted and a retail food store is not a permitted use, amendments are proposed to add a retail food store as a permitted use.”

Affected zones include:

  • R5 residential subzones where limited nonresidential uses are already permitted on the ground floor of a building. These zones are generally for high-rise buildings that allow certain retail establishments on the main floor, like convenience stores.

  • I2 major institutional zones. These zones allow only for farmer’s markets under the current bylaw. Amendments would allow for additional food stores. I2 zoning examples include CHEO and Algonquin College.

  • L2B major leisure facility zones. The National Arts Centre is an example of L2B zoning. The zone is allowed to have restaurants and retail stores, but not retail food stores.

  • MC7 subzone. This is a mixed-use commercial zone that allows for retail stores and restaurants but not retail food stores. A portion of the Trainyards is an example of an MC7 zone.

  • T2 ground transportation zones. This includes the areas around the train stations on Tremblay Road and Fallowfield Road, for example. This zone allows for retail stores and restaurants in buildings containing a train or bus passenger terminal but not retail food stores.

The report comes to the planning and housing committee on Wednesday and the agriculture and rural affairs committee on Thursday.

It is a section of a report that also deals with temporary measures to exclude the construction of renewable energy facilities, like wind and solar farms, until a complete a complete set of regulations that aligns with the city’s official plan is brought before council in the fall. The report also recommends limiting the land used for battery energy storage facilities in agricultural zones until the new regulations are prepared.