Wasted Weston part 1

This is the first in a hopefully-short series on waste in Weston: wasted opportunities, wasted money, and wasted space.

Today, a wasted opportunity. The 85-year-old and very pretty Satin Finish office was torn down this week, in exchange for a ‘beautification agreement’¹ with the builders.

Former Satin Finish buildingYour correspondent had other, better plans. It could have been a small rec or youth centre, with after-school programming for the many kids in the new development. Imagine a sunlit space with oak beams and hardwood floors—a nod to its history—with an AV lab, a homework space and a videogame room, where kids could go and play LAN games.

We could have had an institutional daycare—there hasn’t been one since the Weston Village Childcare closed up more than 4 years ago. Or perhaps it could have had a meeting space or a job centre, where we could go, network, and post and find work.

Instead, it will be townhomes.

 

 


¹ Nobody knows quite what that means.

 

 

Satin Finish meeting coming up

Frances Nunziata’s email circular says that the Satin Finish developers will be having an open house on March 2 between 7 and 9 pm at Weston Memorial.

The developers will have a lot to answer for: they’re quintupling the density, destroying the historic building, and increasing traffic on a busy street.

8 Oak demolition opposed at City Council

8 oak streetThe demolition of 8 Oak Street will be opposed at City Council at the end of the month. Etobicoke York Community Council has asked the city to refuse a demolition permit and to find out whether the building should be added to the municipal heritage property list.

The Satin Finish development has been controversial. The developers had planned a small community of townhomes, but revised the plan to ask for more than five times as many residences. Now they are asking for 509 units, with apartment buildings and a retirement home. They are also asking to demolish the 85-year-old office building.

City Council will also be asked to oppose the division of 104X Wendell Avenue into two undersized properties.

Fight brewing over Satin Finish development.

The city is gearing up for a fight over the Satin Finish development on Oak Street.

The original plan had called for 99 townhomes; the developers now want about 500 units, including two 8-storey apartment buildings and a retirement home—and only two entrances off Knob Hill.

New development map

The developers are appealing to the OMB, and City Council approved sending a lawyer to oppose the appeal and insist that:

  • The plan meets the bylaws (1, 2) about lot size, setback, and maximum height
  • That traffic flows have been studied and accepted by the city
  • Stormwater will be managed
  • There are community benefits, and that “the required warning clauses from the Toronto District School Board and the Toronto Green Standard requirements” are given.

 

 

8 Oak development changing

The developers of the Satin Finish property are asking for more density and far more units, according to Frances Nunziata. They would like

fourteen 3-storey townhouses fronting Oak Street, two 8-storey mid-rise apartment buildings, a 6-storey retirement residence, and a park fronting Knob Hill Drive.

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This plan is quite a bit different from the original. Before, the developers wanted only townhouses; now, the bulk of the property is given over to apartment buildings. Townhouses front only Oak Street.

There will be more residents, too: 509 units instead of 99 townhomes.

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The new plan

The old plan also had four roads onto Knob Hill Drive. The new plan has only two. Traffic on that road is already occasionally pretty bad; it’s hard to see how this is an improvement.

The new plan does include a central park, whereas the old plan had only one out-of-the-way  play area.

The old plan
The old plan

Opposition to 96 John

Community members are petitioning to stop the severance of 96 John St. The owners asked the city to allow them to split the property into two, and to build another house with a shared driveway.

The houses would be violating several planning rules; in short, they would be too big for the properties.

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In other planning news, Frances Nunziata says that the developers of 8 Oak Street (the Satin Finish property) are asking to change their plans. Now they want a  “mid-rise development” instead of 3-storey townhomes.

Satin Finish developers to go to OMB

The Satin Finish Company owners are hoping to build 99 three-storey townhouses on the site. They were rebuffed in their initial—and, honestly, quite reasonable—request to change the zoning to allow residential development. They’re now taking their case to the Ontario Municipal Board.

The Satin Finish subdivision as proposed has problems:

  • It doesn’t have enough shared green space
  • It has only one playground
  • It’s poorly connected to the rest of the neighbourhood, with only one street entrance
  • There is little effort to preserve the beautiful buildings

That said, it’s hard to argue that these should remain employment lands; homes have already popped up all around them, and a new factory in their midst would be disruptive.