Mount Dennis in the news: invest!

Mount Dennis was in the news this week, with a flattering portrait by David Nickle.

Robert Caplan is optimistic about the future of Mount Dennis — and has been for a long time now, even as he admits that right now, the sparse business district at Weston Rd. and Eglinton Ave. W. is not much to look at.

That may soon change. In 2021, the Mount Dennis station on the Eglinton Crosstown LRT is slated to open and the owners of the rundown storefronts along Weston will almost certainly make some modifications.

But for now?

“The whole street is waiting for the development to happen — to see what’s going to happen,” said Caplan, who owns Caplan Appliances and is chair of the Mount Dennis Business Improvement Area (BIA).

Only a month ago, The Star published an article that said Mount Dennis is the “most affordable area of the city”.

Ah, to have an extra down-payment lying around!

WHCD Study expansion

The city will be looking at part of Weston to determine whether it has a unique character, and whether is should be recommended for conservation and enhancement. The WHCD will be having a meeting on August 21 to discuss the new areas and next steps.

The effort to create heritage districts in Weston has been going on for quite a long time. It started in 2004, and the first phase was completed in 2007, with the creation of a conservation district in two areas around Weston Road.

Phase Two was to include the area between Rosemount, Pine, Church, and MacDonald.

Now, however, the city has taken over planning of conservation districts, instead of leaving it in the hands of community groups.  The WHCD says that the city is “ready to proceed with the study of the Weston Heritage Conservation District, Phase II, with the intention to go by the old boundary to Elm Street.“¹

Heritage conservation districts are “historically or culturally significant and require special care and attention in the planning process to ensure that they are conserved.”

A heritage designation limits what people can do with their properties.  Construction and restoration must be done with neighbourhood guidelines, and demolition is not allowed under most circumstances—including by neglect.

 


¹ My emphasis. Also, full disclosure, I live just past Elm Street.

Derelict houses to (finally) be destroyed

Frances Nunziata’s office says that the derelict houses at 2270 and 2274 Weston road, which have been an eyesore and hazard for more than a decade, will finally be demolished to make way for a  12-storey apartment building.

One of the two derelict houses
One of the two derelict houses

After years and years of waiting, an application has finally been submitted to the City to demolish the two derelict houses located at 2270 and 2274 Weston Road, which have long been an eyesore in the community for many years. I am pleased to update you that a demolition permit has been submitted to tear down these two buildings. In 2015, the owners received approval to construct a 12-storey apartment building. The project is going through the site plan approval process.

 

Mount Dennis in the news

The Urban Land Institute (a non-profit planners’ group) has been working on ideas to revitalize Mount Dennis. Their results made the Globe and Mail  and the Toronto Star.

The short story: everybody is on board for a more prosperous, better-connected Mount Dennis. Alex Bozikovic wrote in the Globe:

Spread new growth across the neighbourhood. Focus on jobs and mix up jobs with some housing. Bring lots of people to live near transit. It sounds simple, but would require some changes to the city’s usual planning approach.

Interestingly, many locals are on board with this agenda. Mike Mattos, who heads the Mount Dennis Community Association, says the group largely welcomes the ULI proposals and, in places, development. “We need more people in the area,” he told me. “We don’t think the retail strip is going to survive with the current population. And we need more of the right kinds of jobs.” With all that, and some inventive policy, this could become a more prosperous place without becoming any less interesting.

 

Options For Homes update.


Options For Homes is a non-profit condo developer with a building called ‘The Humber‘ under construction at 10 Wilby Crescent in Weston. To say that they are bullish on Weston is a bit of an understatement but they have a history of choosing and building in ‘up and coming’ neighbourhoods, calling themselves urban pioneers. Here is their take on the Weston neighbourhood.

Read this April 2019 article about why OFH thinks we are in that category. They also have a YouTube channel dedicated to Weston.

The building is expected to open in late 2021. According to OFH, over 120 people have purchased an apartment in the Wilby condo and the building is 50% sold. Options says it’s a good time to buy.

Read more here.

 

Developers to demolish 1705 Weston Road

Developers have received permission to demolish the building at 1705 Weston Road.

The two-storey building is in disrepair, with substantial damage to the roof, and a serious mould problem.

The developers who own the site plan to build a 25-storey  mixed-use apartment building.

Developer’s architectural view looking south on Weston Road.

9 years later, two houses remain dangerous eye-sores

There are two buildings in Weston that really get under my skin. Every time I see them, they upset me.

They’re the houses at 2276 and 2274 (or so) Weston Road. For much more than a decade, they’ve been falling down. They’re patently dangerous, but since I’ve lived here they’ve remained standing—becoming ever more hazardous and ever uglier.

Nine years ago
Today

Today, on my way to pick up dinner, I thought I’d stop by. There’s a fence, after

It’s a little hard to tell, but this is the view *through* the front window. That’s snow and daylight.

a fashion, on the front of the property—but it has gaps, and there’s nothing at all on the side of the property.

The roof and first storey on the rightmost building has fallen in, and it’s possible to see daylight and snow in the house. The porch roof, too, has collapsed. The roof of the taller building is collapsing, and it looks like someone has been prying at the boarding on the back.

I am not a lawyer, but the half-hearted  fencing and missing boarding both seem to be bylaw violations. The city says that all vacant buildings must be securely boarded up and that the owners of hazardous buildings “shall erect and maintain fencing to prevent access to the property.” The fencing is supposed to be made permanent if work isn’t being done on the building.

There are larger issues: it’s not at all clear why, even after 10 years, the bylaws aren’t being enforced.

It’s especially unclear why the city allows houses to fall down—and to drag property values with them. I once got a whopping ticket for putting out my trash on the wrong day, but it seems that allowing my whole property to become a dump would be a-okay.

And it’s totally opaque to me why we—you and I—haven’t complained until these homes got fixed. Those houses are a necrotic spot on Weston’s artery.  Did we stop noticing the ache? Were we hoping it would pass?