History repeats itself with Yonge & York Mills condo
New application solves old ecological issue; height still a concern by Jessica Wei
A new application to develop 4155 Yonge St. in Hogg’s Hollow has been submitted to the City of Toronto, raising familiar fears among local residents. The development by Green City Developments, a 14-storey residential tower at the corner of Yonge Street and William Carson Crescent, is proposed to be constructed over a TTC tunnel and set one metre back from a vegetative slope that forms part of the Don Valley.
In 2011, an application was submitted at this location for a 10-storey development directly set on the slope, encroaching into the ravine system. It was followed by two years of strong community opposition. An Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) hearing eventually dismissed the development for its ecological impact. However, the OMB allowed the height and scale of the development, writing, “What the Applicants envision for the site is appropriate from planning and urban design perspectives.”
According to Trevor Jones, vice-president of Yonge Ridge Homeowners’ Association, height was their main concern.
“The developer was [also] proposing to remove 46 per cent of the designated natural area within the property,” he said.
Green City’s proposal was submitted on Oct. 10 with the assistance of the Goldberg Group, a planning consultancy. They worked with Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) to create an acceptable design. “We wanted the slope protected and enhanced,” said Mark Rapus, a senior planner with the TRCA Planning & Development division. “From what we’re seeing, the current development form sets itself back from the edge of the slope and would result in its long-term protections.”
The planners also found that moving away from the ravine would mean building over the subway tunnel, so they designed their building in accordance with engineering requirements submitted by the TTC.
“It presented a real architectural, ecological and engineering challenge,” said Michael Goldberg, a principal of the Goldberg Group. “We think we struck that balance very well.” However, Trevor Jones remains skeptical. “From our perspective, the same concerns that were raised the last time still exist,” said Jones. “The height is absolutely unacceptable.” Goldberg said he was willing to work with residents. “I know that the community is very concerned about height and maybe we can work with them. I’m hoping we can.”
“It presented a real architectural, ecological and engineering challenge.”