Condo crunch heads uptown
Two Chatsworth area proposals show density push at Yonge and Lawrence
Ongoing construction at Yonge Street and Eglinton Avenue is now common. However, in light of two development applications filed just before the end of the year, it looks like there will be more activity at Yonge and Lawrence Avenue.
One of the applications is for a development at 41 Chatsworth Ave., the former site of a church. This is the second try by the developer to build condos on a neighbourhood street. The original application was denied by the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). The summary of why the application was denied was succinct and clearly outlined how applications need to be in keeping with the built form of the surrounding neighbourhood. The six-storey development was completely out of character with the surrounding properties, which are detached homes on wide lots.
The impertinence of the revised application is astounding in that the proposal completely ignores the spirit of the OMB ruling.
It is mind-boggling why the developer figured that taking a floor off the top of the building would somehow be acceptable to the community and the City of Toronto. Either the developer did not read the OMB ruling or doesn’t particularly care. Although the application has been filed under a new developer, it turns out that it is the same developer with essentially the same plan. This is also the same developer that cut down trees next to a ravine without a permit on a Saturday morning.
If ever there was a fight worth having in north Toronto, it would be over this proposal. The community and the city have already paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to explain to the developer that the application does not work. The OMB confirmed that the application does not work. Tweaking a proposal that fundamentally does not work will not make it work any more than trying to put a square peg in a round hole.
The community is already gearing up for the fight. The residents are organizing, are far more knowledgeable about the process and have the resources to smack down this application, just like they did the last one.
In the meantime, the community should demand that Chatsworth remain a one-way westbound street from Yonge to Lawrence in order to prevent the developer from trying to turn it into a two-way street as was attempted in the last go-round.
The other application is for a 13storey condo at 2908 Yonge St., currently the site of a gas station. This plan is not as odious but is aggressive in height for the area. The developer points to a similar building height closer to Lawrence as justification for the application but the reference should be the eight-storey building next door. The current proposal will cast shadows on the parkette to the west and onto Alexander Muir Park.
North Toronto residents have witnessed much change over the past decade and are not NIMBYs. They are well versed in the development process and understand how to influence.
With an upcoming municipal election, residents are looking for leaders who understand how to build neighbourhoods. Karen Stintz is a former city councillor, elected in 2003, and was a chair of the TTC. She lives in Ward 16 with her family.
A controversial new development proposed at a north Toronto site backing onto a park has neighbours organizing and ready for a fight