Building & Development: Inside the War Zone

Some developers no longer even feign interest in following the city’s planning rules. Far too many choose instead to submit proposals they know don’t come close to following the rules. When these proposals are rejected by city Planning staff and City Council, they appeal those decisions to the developer-friendly Ontario Municipal Board.  Here are just some of the developments and secondary plans headed there:

Sheppard West Secondary Plan Earlier this year Council adopted a new secondary plan for Sheppard Ave. West, between Beecroft Rd. and slightly west of Easton Rd. The new rules allow larger buildings at 4-6 storeys, depending on the depth of the lots. The rules are similar to what the City allows on other “avenues” abutting residential neighbourhoods. Unfortunately, several landowners have appealed the new Plan to the OMB, seeking an even larger increase in development.

53 Sheppard Ave. West This development is more than twice as high (14 storeys) as what’s allowed under the new Sheppard West Secondary Plan. It also threatens the stability of the adjoining West Lansing neighbourhood by attempting to extend the redevelopment boundary into the area where only individual homes are now allowed.  The application has been rejected by the City, but the OMB has the final say. A hearing is scheduled for early July.

245 Sheppard West Further west on Sheppard Ave, this development is almost identical to the one described at 53 Sheppard West.  It also has been refused by the City. The applicant has also appealed to the OMB.

Bogert Apartments (325 Bogert Ave) This proposal attempts to increase the size of the apartments at the west end of the West Lansing Neighbourhood by adding 1200 units to what’s already there in 6 new towers between 21 and 27 storeys in height. That would be more new residential units than currently exist in all of the West Lansing neighbourhood.  In June, North York Community Council adopted a city staff recommendation that the application be refused. The developer is expected to appeal to the OMB.

“Beer Store” Application (181 Sheppard Ave. East) Another case of a developer proposing a development approximately twice as large as the City would support, and once again the abutting neighbourhood would be threatened if the development goes ahead.  The City has refused it. The developer has appealed to the OMB.

4800 Yonge Street A day after the Province announced that it intended to reform the OMB, Menkes appealed this application to the OMB, no doubt hoping to beat any rule changes. The developer is proposing a 50-storey development, mostly residential, where the city’s Official Plan calls for lower density and an office-only building.  Getting offices – not another condo – at the junction of two subways is critical to the city’s plan to have a centre where residents will both live and work.  In recent years, the population in the Yonge/Sheppard area has skyrocketed while the number of jobs along this stretch of Yonge Street has decreased.

On beautiful Friday evenings in July, there's nowhere I'd rather be than with you in Mel Lastman Square. For more than 10 years, it's been my joy to be there on those nights, satisfying my creative ur