City Council approves Weston Road and Little Ave development

City Council approved the very large development at Weston and Little this week. According to UrbanToronto, it was adopted with no debate.

If built, the development will include two tall towers—one 29-storeys, and one 35-storeys—between the Dollar Store and Little Avenue. They will share an 8- storey podium.

Little Ave development at City Council

City Council will vote this week on the development at Weston and Little. The two very large, very tall buildings were approved at Etobicoke York Community Council last month.

Many community members, including your correspondent, disagreed with the scale of the buildings, their poor fit into the community, the opaque process, and the work of the city planners, among other things.

The development has grown (and grown) from a single 28-storey building to two 29-storey towers—and again, to a 29-storey tower and a 34-storey one. Though they initially objected, last month city planners approved the proposal without (in my view) significant improvements.

In 2020, they said,

the proposed building “would result in a bulky, overwhelming presence”, “fails to address the local and planned context” and “is inappropriate for the site”. Staff say the plan should be rejected and redesigned as a “mid-rise building with a 45 degree angular plane provided from the Neighbourhoods, open space and low-rise areas and that particular attention be paid to heritage features”.

(From a 2020 article)

The 45º angular plane was adopted, but the buildings remain just as bulky, and overwhelming, and the second, slightly-smaller building will be among the largest in Weston. The largest building in the neighbourhood will be its fraternal twin.

EYCC approves large development

The Etobicoke York Community Council approved the two-tower development at Weston and Little on Monday. The towers, when built, will be the largest in Weston: one is 35 storeys, the other 29.

From the application

Six residents spoke out against the proposal at the meeting. They raised concerns about

  • The character of the neighbourhood
  • The large scale of the development
  • That the smaller tower was remained large, though staff had recommended it be made smaller
  • The location of the driveway on Little Avenue
  • The poor record of city planning

It seemed to me, however, that their concerns were not given much consideration by the members. Early in the meeting, Councillor Mark Grimes ignored a speaker and met briefly with Doug Holyday until they were told off. Only Frances Nunziata asked a follow-up question, and it wasn’t about the development—it was about whether it was appropriate for her tenant to hang clothing on the property. No other committee members asked any questions.

In addition to the speakers, about 20 people (including me) wrote to the council, and 29 others signed a petition.

The towers will have 733 condominium units when built. Councillor Nunziata announced that it would include a space for the Weston Historical Society.

The development must next be rubber-stamped by City Council.

Act fast to send feedback on large proposal at Weston and Little

If you would like to provide feedback about the large buildings proposed at Weston and Little, a reader has sent along the following information—but you need to act fast. The deadline is noon tomorrow.

You can send written comments by email to the Etobicoke York Community Council at [email protected]   If you want to address the committee meeting on Monday, you can register to speak at the same email address.

You can also call 416-394-8101.

The details of the file are as follows

The developer is Weston Asset Management Inc, and they are asking to “To Amend the Official Plan and Zoning By-law” with application number 19 219985 WET 05 OZ.

In short, they are asking to build two large, tall buildings at 1956-1986 Weston Road and 1, 3, 3a and 5 Little Avenue.

You can also, I’m sure, include Councillor Frances Nunziata on your email. Her address is [email protected]

City staff approve of large development at Weston and Little

City staff have recommended approval of the large development at 1956-1986 Weston Road and 1-5 Little Avenue. The development will be considered by Etobicoke York Community Council on June 27.

If approved, one of the buildings will have 35 storeys—up from 29 storeys in the 2019 plan—and be the tallest in Weston. The other will have 29 storeys. Together they will have 733 condominium units, up from 592 three years ago.

In the past, the development was opposed by staff, the Weston Village Residents’ Association, and community members, who said, among other things, it was too tall, too dense, too ugly, too close to the property line, and would cast too long a shadow.

Some of those concerns have been addressed. The buildings, while taller, take up less of the property. One of the buildings has been “reconfigured from the original proposal and pulled further back on the site, and angled away from Weston Road. This was to provide a stronger pedestrian perception area”.

Also, the developers have agreed to build a 3,400 square foot “non-profit community cultural space located on the ground floor of the existing heritage building at 3 & 5 Little Avenue” for the city.

However, issues remain. The 2019 staff report said the buildings “would result in a bulky, overwhelming presence which would not fit in with the surrounding area nor provide adequate transition in height to the surrounding properties”. The developers made some design concessions, but the buildings still seem overwhelming to me.

Staff also said “[we] suggest that the northwest portion of the site be re-designed to be a mid-rise building”. That, clearly, hasn’t happened. The shorter tower remains 29 storeys high.

Staff had concerns about shadows, particularly “regarding the shadow impacts on Little Avenue Memorial Park”. The new report doesn’t address the effects on the park—which presumably remain—but says shadows will fall on Weston Common (erroneously called the Weston Hub) at least some of the year for part of the day.

Other reasoning in the report is odd. For instance, the author says “although Tower A has a larger floorplate than typically recommended, it is in keeping with the existing built form context and is complemented by Tower B having a varied and generally smaller tapered floorplate.”

Even if a large tall tower were complemented by a smaller tall tower—which, honestly, I don’t get—there is a large, 12-storey podium joining the two towers, and the tower floorplate is invisible at ground level. Nobody will see the putative complement except from the air.

The development is also scheduled to be considered by City Council on July 19.