Community Council votes to send lawyers to fight tall building appeals

Etobicoke York Community Council approved a motion to send lawyers to the Ontario Land Tribunal to argue against building the proposed tall buildings at 1821–1823 Weston Road and 8–16 Locust Street.

The owners of 1821 Weston are proposing a 38-storey, 446-unit building that would, according to city staff, violate:

  • The Provincial policy statement
  • The Growth Plan
  • Toronto’s official plan
  • “Area specific and city wide guidelines”

City planners say it does not fit the local built form, is too close to property lines, and is “out of scale to its surroundings”, and will “negatively impact adjacent lands—among many other complaints.

Staff say,

Development on this site could be supported, if it provides appropriate setbacks, separation distances, massing, building height and density, as directed in the Official Plan, the Weston Urban Design Guidelines, and the City-Wide Tall Building Design Guidelines in cooperation with adjacent property owners.

City staff also oppose the 35-storey, 372-unit proposed building on Locust Street.

They say it violates:

  • The Provincial Policy Statement
  • The Growth Plan
  • Mount Dennis’ urban design guidelines

It is also, they say, too tall, too close to the property line, and out of context with the neighbouring buildings, again, among other complaints. “Given the existing and planned context for the subject property and the surrounding area, the proposed density, height and massing proposed in its current form cannot be supported by staff.”

In both cases, staff recommended “that City Council direct the City Solicitor, together with appropriate City staff, to oppose the current proposal at the OLT and continue discussions with the Applicant to resolve outstanding issues.”

9-storey “co-living” mid-rise proposed for 1681 Weston Road

The owners of the vacant property at 1681 Weston have asked for permission to build a 9-storey, midrise with “co-living units”—what we would normally call a dormitory, I think.

In the application, they say the building

will include a mix of ‘traditional’ residential units and ‘co-living units’. ‘Co-living units’ are comprised of individual private rooms, including bed sitting rooms and private bathrooms, which share communal space including kitchen, dining and living space. The proposed ‘co-living units’ are fully furnished including beds, linens sofas, dining tables and fully stocked kitchen with dished, pots, pans, etc. Wifi, cable Netflix and other utilities and programming. These units have an intended minimum lease duration of 3 months and weekly cleaning services are envisioned.

The “Co-living units” are envisioned as a modern form of shared living, where like minded individuals are focused on a sense of community, and through intelligently designed spaces and smart technology, are able to live a more convenient and fulfilling lifestyle. The private bedrooms and bathrooms along with rights to a portion of the shared living space within the ‘co-living units’ will be rented out to individuals. It is intended that this type of accommodation will be desirable to people looking for single-room rental accommodation which also comes with a sense of community. It will also be desirable to people who are more transient such as students, seniors, new immigrants and people moving nationally/ internationally for work and need to be close to transit. Although this is the target market, there will be no exclusions based on age

The applicants are asking for 26 co-living units with 97 private bedrooms, in addition to 16 traditional (not co-living) rental units. They also propose commercial uses at the street level.

From Google Maps

Today in Weston

The building known as ‘The Humber’ on Wilby Crescent is starting to emerge from its basement foundations. This was the view at the site entrance today and also from the Humber footbridge. The 22 storey affordable condos will be ready for occupation sometime in 2023.

One of many cement trucks delivering today at 10 Wilby.
Today’s view from the Humber footbridge. Only the crane is visible above the trees so far.
The 22-storey building will have a commanding view of the river and parkland in both directions.

Read more here and here.

Very tall building proposed for Hollis Ave

The owners of the properties between 15 and 21 Hollis Avenue in Mount Dennis are proposing a 34-storey, 365-unit residential building on the small, residential street.

From the proposal

Bousfields, who wrote the report, say that the tall tower fits in because it will

frame and enhance the streetscape along Hollis Street, and provide an appropriately scaled building that is compatible with the future development potential of adjacent properties.

I’ll be honest. Try as I might, I don’t get it. The planners provide many reasons why this should work, but to me it comes down to something simple: This is a very tall tower surrounded by lovely little homes on a very narrow street. Will it fit in the future, if the whole block is redeveloped? Maybe. Does it fit and frame the neighbourhood as it exists now? No.

Speaking of redeveloping the block, though, the report references a nearby and similar proposal. The owners of 8–16 Locust—just one street north—are asking to build a 35-storey building (the tallest building in Mount Dennis). It, too, would be on a quiet, narrow street. That application, Bousfields notes, is being appealed to the Ontario Land Tribunal, “following Council’s failure to make a decision”.

Mid-Humber Gap meeting

There’s been a lot of exciting news in Weston lately, and here’s one project I’m particularly thrilled about: The Mid-Humber Gap multi-use recreational trail project.

As a cyclist, in a community with rich cycling history (Weston was the home of CCM Bicycles), and with growing cycling enthusiasm among neighbours, this project can’t come soon enough. And this project isn’t just for cyclists… it’s for everyone who walks, jogs, wheels their way along the banks of the Humber River.

The first public consultation event will be held virtually on June 10th from 6:30-8:30pm, registration required. Participants should visit the project web page or this link to register.

Fixing the gap ought to create a seamless journey from the current north end staircase of the trail (near Weston & St Phillips) to Jane Crawford Memorial Park (about 1 block west of the Real Canadian Superstore). And it could be a lasting legacy to this community and everyone who lives near the Humber River trails. It will make our green spaces more accessible and provide affordable transportation options for generations.

New development to be considered at Community Council

The developers of the “Charlton Residences” at 1705 Weston Road posted a video some time ago that I missed.

It shows a 24-storey, steel-and-glass cheese-grater building that to my eye looks unfinished, with each corner of the building open, and a step-wise top. But what do I know? I’m a typist.

An April 19, the Etobicoke York Community Council will consider the application. They are proposing amendments, including

  1. 15 rental apartments to be leased to displaced residents and the Canadian Mental Health Association.
  2. Relocations plans for the people displaced by the demolition of their existing homes
  3. Six affordable apartments

G&M on Weston Park development

The Globe and Mail has an article on the development at the Weston Park Baptist Church.

While many church congregations are shrinking or struggling financially, Weston Park Baptist Church is placing its faith in development plans that aim to revitalize its property in the west-end Toronto neighbourhood.

“Our vision formulated [in] 2005,” says church deacon John Frogley-Rawson. “It’s a nice piece of land, and we have developed [a plan] for the property and the community.”

It’s worth reading, because it shows how a development should be done: with community consultation and assent. It also includes much on the fate of churches, and how they will be reused and redeveloped in a secular age.