Over the past year, the city has received an unusually-large number of extremely bad planning applications. Some of these will be dealt with by Council in August, some won’t be reported on until early next year, and some have already been appealed by the applicant to the Ontario Municipal Board. Here’s a brief summary:
Proposal to Build Townhouses at Empress and Willowdale:
This proposal by a developer would allow townhouses in a location where the city’s Official Plan allows only single family homes. It would set an obvious negative planning precedent that could affect other similar properties in Willowdale.
I will be moving that Council refuse this application, and I anticipate that Council will unanimously support me. If the applicant appeals a Council refusal to the Ontario Municipal Board, I will be working with residents to fight the appeal alongside city legal and planning staff.
Proposal to Build a 29-storey Condo on the Northwest Corner of Sheppard and Bayview:
The applicant has appealed this project to the Ontario Municipal Board. In August, the Council will be giving direction to city staff regarding our response to the appeal. Again, I will be opposing the proposal and anticipate the support of my colleagues on Council and likely the city’s planning staff. The appeal would not be heard by the OMB until late next winter.
Proposal to Build a 39-storey condo at Yonge and Sheppard:
This is another proposal which, if approved, would have negative impacts on the community. The building would actually be built on Greenfield Avenue, which is already the scene of traffic chaos. The development, as proposed, would create serious direct problems for the residents of 65 Spring Garden and 30 Greenfield in addition to the students at Cardinal Carter.
There are other major issues involved, such as the construction of more residential development in an area that already has a severe imbalance of residential development as opposed to offices. Office development provides jobs in the community so that fewer people need to travel long distances to work, creates less of a strain on road and transit capacity because office workers tend to travel in the opposite direction at rush hour from those living in condos, and office buildings encourage better restaurants and retail.
This application will not be considered by Council until early next year.
Proposal to Build a Multi-unit Residential Building on a Single Lot on Church Avenue:
Although this is a relatively small application, it wins the award for the “craziest” proposal that has crossed my path in recent years.
The application, which masquerades as a “retirement home” is a terribly-designed gross overdevelopment of a small piece of land that wasn’t built on when the Northtown development took place 20 years ago.
I will be working with local residents to prevent this absurdity.
Some Good Planning/ Parks News
Just to show that some battles with developers end with a positive result, as announced last month, I have been able to obtain a very large new park as part of revised proposal for a development on Inez Court, just west of Yonge, north of the Finch hydro corridor. The applicant also agreed to drop his appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board and to work with the community on a proposal for condo towers which fit the density limits in the Official Plan.
To explain it in simple terms, the developer will go through the normal planning process (with full community involvement), any development will respect the city’s planning rules, and the community will get a new park that will be more than two acres in size.