96 Nepean high-rise gets greenlight from planning committee

An application for a 96 Nepean St. high-rise got the go-ahead from city hall’s planning committee today, after a month-long delay in the project’s approval.

The application for Claridge Homes’ 27-storey condo tower first went to the planning committee last month, but a decision was put off until today due to concerns about geotechnical studies.

In the area near Claridge’s Tribeca development, the ground has somewhat sunk and settled.

The committee wanted another study conducted but planning department officials said today the ground settlement levels in the area are normal.

Troy Skinner of Golder Associates, the firm that consulted on the project, said conditions at the Tribeca site are different from those at 96 Nepean. There is less sensitive soil, for example. Skinner said construction of Tribeca is not impacting 96 Nepean.

The application’s greenlight came after some back-and-forth discussion about the geology of the site as well as strong opposition from Centretown community leaders.

Joan Spice, representing the Centretown Citizens Community Association, as well as Somerset Coun. Diane Holmes, voiced their opposition to the development.

Spice said the building is not following all guidelines laid out in the draft community design plan. Any buildings that do not follow these rules, she said, should not be approved. But the planning department said the proposal does generally follow the draft CDP.

“It’s a massive development for a very small site,” said Holmes. Towers are supposed to be a significant distance apart, she said, but another development will closely border the 96 Nepean site. She said she does not want to see high-rises “march down the street,” creating a “cavern effect” and blocking out sunlight.

“It’s not meeting the rationale – the goal – of intensification,” said Holmes. She said the city is greenlighting high-rises on a case-by-case basis and not looking at the streetscape and overall community.

City council will consider the application July 11.

The committee also approved a revised application for the 30-storey SoHo Italia on Preston Street.