Laird guide­lines too lit­tle, too late?

De­vel­op­ers al­ready de­ter­min­ing what will hap­pen ahead of study

Midtown Post - - News | Neighbourhood - —Sa­man­tha Peksa

The Laird in Fo­cus Plan­ning Study, a frame­work in­tended to guide fu­ture de­vel­op­ment in the Laird Drive and Eglin­ton Av­enue East area, seems to be too lit­tle, too late.

The Eglin­ton Crosstown sta­tion, cur­rently un­der con­struc­tion at the Lea­side in­ter­sec­tion, has been a sig­nal to de­vel­op­ers that the area is ripe for redevelopment with sev­eral new pro­pos­als sub­mit­ted in re­cent years.

Ward 26 coun­cil­lor Jon Burn­side said he had hoped the study would pro­vide some plan­ning con­text for two largescale de­vel­op­ments pro­posed for the south­east corner of the in­ter­sec­tion. How­ever, it took too long to ini­ti­ate, and the pro­posal by Di­a­mondCorp for 939 Eglin­ton Ave. E. was sub­se­quently ap­proved by Toronto City Coun­cil at the end of 2016 — just weeks after the study’s first pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion was held on Nov. 30.

Dur­ing the meet­ing, sev­eral res­i­dents ex­pressed their con­cerns that the de­vel­op­ment would set a high-den­sity prece­dent.

“The study should have com­menced in early 2014. There is no ques­tion,” Burn­side said. “It’s not ideal. But we were al­ways go­ing to get tall build­ings at 939 Eglin­ton Ave. E., so I’m not sure the study would’ve had a huge im­pact.”

The pro­posal had orig­i­nally called for four res­i­den­tial build­ings rang­ing from 19 to 34 storeys in April 2016 and was re­duced to three build­ings, rang­ing from 15 to 28 storeys. The set­tle­ment in­cludes a de­crease in the num­ber of units, from 1,500 to 985, and 1,104 park­ing spa­ces. The de­vel­op­ment will span two hectares, the two-storey of­fice build­ing cur­rently on the site will re­main and 11,718 square me­tres

will be ded­i­cated to park space.

Geoff Ket­tel, of the Lea­side Prop­erty Own­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion (LPOA), noted the study is also too late to ap­ply to two other de­vel­op­ments on Laird Drive that were re­cently ap­proved at the On­tario Mu­nic­i­pal Board.

Toronto city plan­ner John An­dreevski ad­mit­ted city staff will have to take those de­vel­op­ments into con­sid­er­a­tion when they re­view the area and es­tab­lish the guide­lines.

“You can’t ig­nore it if it’s there. It forms part of the con­text,” he said.

The RioCan pro­posal for 815 Eglin­ton Ave. E. is still in the early plan­ning stages and the hope is the study will at least help guide the plan­ning process for that corner site. How­ever, An­dreevski noted the study will take more than a year to com­plete be­fore City Coun­cil can ap­prove it.

EGLIN­TON AVE. E Councillor Jon Burn­side stands on the south­east corner of Eglin­ton Av­enue East and Laird Drive

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