The tallest build­ing in Richmond Hill

29-storey build­ing ap­proved by OMB at Yonge and 16th

Richmond Hill Post - - News - Macken­zie Pat­ter­son

In March of this year, the On­tario Mu­nic­i­pal Board (OMB) ap­proved the tallest build­ing in Richmond Hill’s his­tory. The build­ing, at 9218 Yonge St., in the Yonge and 16th Av­enue Key De­vel­op­ment Area, will be 29 storeys high, much higher than the town official plan­ning pol­icy 20storey limit pa­ram­e­ters. How­ever, this ap­proval did not pass with­out a fight from coun­cil­lors and staff plan­ners with the Town of Richmond Hill.

Ac­cord­ing to Kelvin Kwan, act­ing com­mis­sioner for Town of Richmond Hill Plan­ning and Reg­u­la­tory Ser­vices, the town coun­cil­lors filed a review re­quest­ing that the OMB re­ex­am­ine its de­ci­sion be­cause the town did not agree with the way the board reached its de­ci­sion.

“We didn’t think the board made a proper rul­ing in the con­text of how we felt the var­i­ous cases were pre­sented and the ra­tio­nale be­hind the board’s de­ci­sion,” said Kwan. He ex­plained that, typ­i­cally, the board will try to ar­range for me­di­a­tion prior to a hear­ing. In this case, that didn’t hap­pen.

Af­ter town coun­cil re­jected the ini­tial pro­posal, the ap­pli­cant took the mat­ter to the OMB, which ap­proved the build­ing.

Ward 5 coun­cil­lor Karen Cile­vitz said coun­cil ini­tially re­jected the ap­pli­ca­tion be­cause it went against the town’s official plan, and it had re­ceived neg­a­tive feed­back from the com­mu­nity. Both res­i­dents and lo­cal coun­cil­lors are con­cerned about in­creased traf­fic and lack of proper tran­sit in­fra­struc­ture to ac­com­mo­date the in­flux of new res­i­dents.

“This is an al­ready over­bur­dened in­ter­sec­tion,” said Cile­vitz. “We don’t have the in­fra­struc­ture in place now in or­der to ser­vice what it means to bring in these ex­tra peo­ple.”

How­ever, the OMB’s de­ci­sion states it isn’t con­vinced the height of the build­ing will neg­a­tively im­pact the in­ter­sec­tion.

“The pro­posed build­ing has been de­signed to pre­sent a slender pro­file on the sky­line and it will not be out of char­ac­ter with the tall build­ings which are in ex­is­tence or au­tho­rized in the im­me­di­ate vicin­ity,” the de­ci­sion reads.

Cile­vitz said one of her pri­or­i­ties as a coun­cil­lor has been to lobby for the re­form of the board, and now, be­cause of her ef­forts with the OMB Re­form Group, the prov­ince is be­gin­ning its sec­ond read­ing of a new act to give more con­trol back to mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties.

She has urged the prov­ince to pass the act by the end of the fall sea­son, ad­ding, “This is all about bring­ing democ­racy back to where it be­longs.”––

Karen Cile­vitz at the site of what will be­come the tallest build­ing in Richmond Hill

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