A 23-storey condominium project in central Ottawa is moving ahead as city council tackles a number of high-rising developments inside the Greenbelt.

The 76-metre building on Catherine Street was approved by the city's planning committee, as it would be eight stories over what zoning allows for the area.

One neighbour said he planned for a shorter building when he started installing solar panels.

"Those solar panels are going to be a lot less effective than we originally planned," said Ray Sullivan, a non-profit housing director. 

"We made this commitment quite a long time ago; it was based on the current zoning behind us."

Councillor Diane Holmes said the committee isn't listening to residents and seems to just be pushing forward any proposal from developers.

"We should be looking at how that whole street should be developed, but when you look at that street it's only this one block that has development capacity," she said.

"It looks like we'll have one block of 23-storey buildings, with Glashan school, the police station and everything else at three storeys."

Condo an example of debate: Should we build up or build out?

The 244-unit highrise is one of a handful of developments being examined by the committee as they look at promoting growth and intensification in the city's core.

The biggest would be the 35-storey SoHo Italia development in Little Italy, what could end up being Ottawa's tallest building.

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson said strategic developments should go ahead.

"If it's along major arterials, if it's along light rail transitways it can go higher and it should go higher because it makes good sense," he said, adding building up helps avoid urban sprawl.

Sullivan said this still doesn't work for people like him who planned their developments around current rules.

"We play by the rules, and we are getting penalized because someone else decides they can ignore the rules," he said, adding it'll take twice as long for him to pay off his solar investment now that there'll be less sun.

CTV Ottawa called the Catherine Street development's company to check reports it might be changing its plans to a 29-storey building - they said they couldn't comment.

With a report from CTV Ottawa's John Hua