Issues update

Talbot Quads
Talbot Quads

195 Glenvale Blvd.

The Toronto Local Appeal Body (TLAB) decision in this case (heard on Sept. 13 and released Oct. 6) was to allow the appeal against the Committee of Adjustment’s refusal in May 2017 of the minor variance application to construct a two-storey dwelling with an integral garage and a flat roof. As reported in the Aug. Leaside Life, this was our first hearing by the Toronto Local Appeal Body (TLAB).

In her decision, chair Gillian Burton agreed with the (applicant’s) planner’s expert testimony and found that the dwelling would be contextually appropriate and compatible with the existing “diverse neighbourhood character.” This despite the evidence provided by the Leaside Property Owners Association (I was the representative) and neighbours Andrew Alberti, Paul Byrne and Kendra Dunlop, who all attended the hearing in opposition to the appeal. We argued that the proposal amounted to overdevelopment of the lot, the flat roof would be out of character with the neighbourhood, and the height of the home would produce shadowing and overlook. The chair disagreed, stating in her decision that any privacy or overlook impacts stemming from the development would not rise to the level of unacceptable impacts. City solicitor Matthew Schuman also argued that the application fails to meet the four Planning Act tests, will not respect or reinforce the neighbourhood character, and constitutes an overall inappropriate development.

The decision, though disappointing, is not a surprise. It continues precisely the same pattern of weight being given to the planner’s “expert testimony” as the OMB that it replaces for minor variances and severances. The TLAB is proving to be even unfriendlier to residents than the OMB for minor variances!

1755 -1757 Bayview Ave. (Talbot Quads)

You will recall from the Sept. Leaside Life that the Committee of Adjustment (at its August 3rd hearing) deferred sine die consideration of severance and minor variance applications to construct a new three-storey semi-detached dwelling on two undersized lots. The existing double duplex dwelling would be demolished.

The committee’s deferral decision was intended to allow time for the City to conduct heritage assessment and other planning studies necessary to establish a City position with respect to the applications. However, in an unexpected turn of events, the applicant appealed the decision. (Actually, there was no decision on the application, but deferral!). The TLAB process with its interim deadlines starts right away, leading to a hearing in February 2018.

As explained in Leaside Life, the applications would remove one of the 10 highly esteemed “Talbot quadraplexes,” intimately associated with the development of the Town of Leaside, which have existed in a prominent location on the east side of Bayview, just south of Eglinton, since the mid-1930s. We will be working hard to ensure this important ensemble of Leaside character does not have one (or rather two) of its front teeth removed.

34 Cameron Cres.

The Committee of Adjustment decision for 34 Cameron Cres. approved the application (with some minor modifications) to construct a new two-storey detached house. The LPOA has appealed the Committee’s Sept. 14 decision to the TLAB in an effort to prevent the “erosion of Leaside character, one dwelling at a time.”

34 Cameron Cres. is an original house in Tudor Revival style, located on a block of intact original homes located on the inside of the curve (crescent) that extends from the intersection with Parkhurst Blvd. at the north end to Donegall Drive at the southwest end. Though the architect is unknown, 34 Cameron Cres. stands out as a rare centre hall plan design located in a prominent location on one of landscape architect Frederick Todd’s curvilinear streets, near the intersection with Sharron Drive and close to one of Todd’s small “pocket parks.” The existing original two-storey detached house, the largest on the widest lot on the street and the only one with an original integral garage, would be demolished. It is also the house with the most refined level of individuality and decoration.

The LPOA believes the existing building has significant heritage interest which would be eliminated by this project. We supported Heritage Preservation Services’ request that the item be deferred by the Committee pending a heritage assessment. A heritage nomination was submitted to Heritage Preservation Services before the hearing. This request was denied.

Batch listing of Bayview commercial properties

And finally, some good news! The 43 commercial properties on Bayview Ave., including 31 on the east (Leaside) side and 12 on the west (Davisville Village) side were approved by City Council on October 2, 3 and 4 for listing under the Ontario Heritage Act. Councillor Burnside voted in support. And to address the problem of unfair assessments of heritage properties (similar to, but less severe than the problems at 401 Richmond St.) City Council passed a motion for staff to meet with the provincial assessment agency (MPAC).

About Geoff Kettel 221 Articles
Geoff Kettel is a community connector and advocate for “making places better”. He is currently Co-President of the Leaside Residents Association, Co-Chair of the Federation of North Toronto Residents‘ Associations (FoNTRA), member of the Toronto Preservation Board and Past Chair of the North York Community Preservation Panel. He writes a monthly column on heritage and planning in Leaside Life.