First, it was the province, with its multiple legislative changes to planning and heritage legislation, and now it is City Planning that seems to be using the theme of this top Oscar-winning movie as the new Official Plan for Toronto.
At the risk of being accused of playing another Oscar (the Grouch), the fact is that residents of neighbourhoods, and of Leaside in particular, are being inundated with an avalanche of planning changes that many of us don’t know anything about, and those who do are mostly powerless to stop.
I am speaking first about the applications for tall towers in the Bayview/Eglinton area, where City Council approved a plan, following consultation, which permitted mid-rise development on the arterials. That plan was changed by the province, without further consultation, to allow high-rise development.
And then there is the City’s Housing Action Plan, which includes enabling as-of-right zoning for multiplexes (up to four housing units) in all areas designated Neighbourhood citywide. Here’s what we’re keeping an eye on:
Tall Towers on Bayview (Everything!)
The first application came in for 1837-45 Bayview at 25 storeys. The 1840 Bayview (ESSO station) and 2-20 Glazebrook (five of the seven semi-detached houses), each at 34 storeys, followed in quick succession. Now 1837-45 Bayview and 1840 Bayview are both under appeal by their developer to the Ontario Land Tribunal.
City Planning held virtual community consultation meetings for these developments:
March 1 – 1779-1787 Bayview (and 589-595 Eglinton)
March 7 – 1840 Bayview
March 9 – 2-20 Glazebrook
The slide presentations and the recordings for each of the above meetings can be viewed at the Leaside Residents Association website (under Recent News): https://leasideresidents.ca.
It’s worth listening to the recordings – from 80 to 200 people attended each meeting, and the consensus is clear.
And then there is the City’s Housing Action Plan, which includes enabling as-of-right zoning for multiplexes (up to four housing units) in all areas designated Neighbourhood citywide.
The province already made a change to allow up to three units per lot, so why is the City proposing four? It means that a triplex or fourplex would be permitted without a hearing at Committee of Adjustment. Behind the policy change is the intent to remove “exclusionary” single family zoning and encourage “inclusive” communities as well as address the need to provide additional units for families and inter-generational households. And all within the existing zoning framework for building.
Fair enough – but that is not what they are, in fact, proposing. One of a number of other “enabling” changes are proposed, like raising the permitted building height in Leaside from 8.5m to 10m. And they propose to remove the policy in the Official Plan to “protect and reinforce the existing physical character” of these areas.
An important element of Leaside’s character has been its predominantly two-storey physical form. Raising the height limit will permit three storeys everywhere (and, of course, you can still go to Committee of Adjustment for more).
Were you consulted? There have been only two virtual city-wide consultations so far on these changes (on February 21 and 23) and a very long survey that requires someone to have an in-depth knowledge and understanding of bylaws to be able to respond. To her credit, Councillor Jaye Robinson held two additional meetings for Ward 15 residents on February 28 (for residents’ associations) and March 6 (open to all).
All at Once?
So, what can we do?
For the towers on Bayview Avenue the key is the precedent set by what happens at 1837-45 Bayview Ave. Please consider supporting Bayview Broadway Good Planning in their opposition to the application at the Ontario Land Tribunal.
Go to https://www.bbgpi.com or email .
For multiplexes, please let Councillor Jaye Robinson know your views.
And consider writing to and/or deputing at Planning and Housing Committee on April 27. For more information, check the Federation of North Toronto Residents Associations (FoNTRA) website at https://fontra.com.
Are these changes worthy of an Oscar? You be the judge.