By Andy Gort, SERRA President
The opposition to overdevelopment in our neighbourhood is growing. We enjoy a strong patrnership with our councillor, Josh Matlow and City Planning/Legal staff, in efforts to work for more appropriate development. Now the TDSB and Shelley Laskin, the TDSB school trustee for Ward 11, are adding their voices.
Concerns have been expressed for some time about the wider impacts of development on “hard” infrastructure such as water and sewers, and “soft” infrastructure such as schools, daycare, parks, etc. Increasingly there is a concern about congestion inside our neighbourhood and transit capacity to downtown (Yonge line) during rush hour.
Recently, together with Josh Matlow and City Planning, we have been successful in tying lack of infrastructure to individual development proposals and have received a lot of media attention for our efforts. Here is some of that coverage:
CBC article by Rima Hamadi, Apr 03, 2018: Neighbourhood activists celebrate as OMB replaced but ‘wicked witch’ isn’t dead yet
Toronto Star article by Jennifer Pagliaro, April 3, 2018: Worried about local water and sewer capacity, Toronto staff move to pause condo development at Yonge-Eglinton
Toronto Star article by Jennifer Pagliaro, April 4, 2018: Water and sewer capacity aren’t the only concerns in Yonge-Eglinton, transit and school issues must be addressed, councillor says
Stay tuned for more updates on infrastructure issues such as lack of school capacity and TTC Line 1 (Yonge line) congestion.
(Now 174-188 Soudan and 71-73 Redpath):
The proposal for “18 Brownlow” was submitted originally in November, 2015 and appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) in June, 2016.
As a result of various hearings at the OMB, this development on a full block on Soudan, between Redpath and Brownlow, has been reduced from the original 2 tower proposal of a 25 and 20 storey rental buildings with 463 apartments, to 1 tower development of 24 storeys with 176 units on the western portion of the acquired property.
Also, green space has now been provided with a setback of the building, opening up the NE corner of Soudan and Redpath. The question remains, what will be proposed for the other half of the acquired land?
The planning issues remaining for the current proposal are for a lower tower height and additional space between the 83 Redpath townhouses and the new development. Final arguments are being prepared for the contested hearing to start on May 7th and last for up to 2 weeks. Originally, the Parties registering for this appeal were the developer (for) and the city and our community team (against). But…at the 11th hour, the TDSB requested to join as a Party in opposition to this development. They argue that it should not be approved – at all – until the lack of school capacity can be resolved, especially at the Eglinton Junior Public School (around the corner).
If the OMB Chair rules in favour of some development, but also agrees with the TDSB that construction has to await completion of much needed school facilities, this development and future ones could be waiting a long time. ARE OUR VOICES FINALLY BEING HEARD?
(Extension of the Briton House retirement home)
Proposed 25 Storey Tower on a Massive 7 Storey Podium
No one would object to an expansion of retirement facilities in our area. The possibility of seniors remaining in our neighbourhood is welcomed. The proposal calls for the addition of 123 independent and semi-independent condo units and 133 assisted nursing rooms. It will also have room for 124 bicycles – (you have to love those fit seniors;). Unfortunately, the space required for this addition far outstrips the land the Briton House has purchased (2 homes on Brownlow and 6 semis on Soudan) plus an existing Briton House Soudan home.
A proposed 25-storey tower on a massive 7-storey podium is as inappropriate as the original “18 Brownlow” development, setting off another potentially drawn-out application. To make matters more complicated, the application was filed before a December, 2017 deadline, which would have enabled the developer to appeal to the “old” OMB, but the application was not “complete,” when the applicant originally applied to the city.
Maybe the developer should consider acquiring an additional adjacent property(s) to accommodate the proposed facilities and to build them in accord with the newly drafted City Planning Midtown in Focus guidelines.
Two Towers 25 & 34 Storeys Adjacent to Davisville School
This development is planned to be right next to the new Davisville School and Community Hub. Since it’s also at a prominent heritage site, it requires extra care in planning and design. The design is L-shaped, in that there are still several privately owned storefronts on the property, including the original Davis House (now a Starbucks location). This development proposal is asking for huge density with (two) tall towers of 25 storeys (at Millwood) and 34 storeys (at Davisville). The towers are connected by a base building, which potentially will house a large grocery store, LCBO, pharmacy, etc. A total of 403 units are planned for the property.
The development has been proposed for some time and was appealed to the OMB. In preparation for the first OMB hearing, City Planning prepared a report denying approval of the development and calling the proposal an overdevelopment of the site that will cast great shadow on the adjacent Davisville School. The city also called for a “hold” on construction of this building until the chief city engineer agrees that sufficient water, sewage and storm water capacity is available. SERRA appealed at Council for an additional “hold” provision for inadequate school and transit facilities (Yonge line at peak hours). Josh Matlow proposed the appropriate motions, which were promptly passed. The first OMB hearing will be on April 26th.
Close to 8,000 new condo and rental units in the SERRA area alone!
These are just three of our developments with 10 other additional ones currently under review. Of these ten developments, 6 have already been appealed to the “old” OMB with potentially 3 more to be appealed shortly. Fourteen (14) other large developments were previously approved with 3 having been completed. Most of these applications also were appealed to the OMB.
All developments combined will account for close to 8,000 new condo and rental units in the SERRA area alone, with many more units planned and under construction in the area north of Eglinton and in the not too distant future, along Eglinton in Leaside (Laird, Vanderhoof).
Click here to see the development map