Eight-storey building proposed for 330 Gilmour St.

The fate of the 330 Gilmour St. building took a new turn at the city hall Friday, when the property's developers proposed to turn it into an eight-storey building.

The suggestion was made at the hearing before the representatives of the Ontario Municipal Board, which began Friday and will last six days.

Ashcroft Homes is appealing the decision of the City of Ottawa to make the building seven-storeys high. Originally, the building, which is considered to be a heritage property, was designated to be only four storeys. However, Ashcroft Homes wanted to turn it into a senior citizens' home and proposed to council that the building should be nine-storeys high. The council members said that was not feasible, but decided to compromise and keep the building at seven storeys.

Now, Ashcroft Homes is appealing the decision and bringing it before OMB members.

Alan Cohen, who is counsel for Ashcroft Homes, said that each floor in the building should have 29 units. If the ninth floor is lost, the building will technically lose 29 units. However, it can be restructured by making 21 other units on lower floors smaller. This way, the property will only be eight units shorter than if it were a nine-storey building.

"We would like to have an eight-storey building and are hopeful our plans will be acceptable to the city," said Cohen.

He said he urges the city and the OMB to accept this proposal as "a viable compromise."

Counsel Tim Marc, who represents the City of Ottawa, argued the opposite.

"There is a heritage overlay that restricts buildings to their current height," he said. "General height limitations are three or four storeys and my council has already made the decision to make the building a maximum of seven storeys."

Both sides have numerous witnesses lined up and plan to present them to the OMB next week.

"We cannot discuss anything before it is presented before the court," said Marc. "However, I expect the final decision to be reached by December or January."