Her­itage homes plans ques­tioned

Thornhill Post - - Neighbourhood News - — JC

The Town of Rich­mond Hill re­cently re­ceived a her­itage per­mit ap­pli­ca­tion from Gar­den Homes (Les­lie) Inc., propos­ing al­ter­ations to two her­itage-des­ig­nated struc­tures at Les­lie Street and Ma­jor Mackenzie Drive East.

The Cyrus Mapes House, lo­cated at 9920 Les­lie St., is a vir­tu­ally in­tact ex­am­ple of a mid-19th cen­tury trades­man’s cottage. The Ja­cob Horner House, lo­cated at 9940 Les­lie St., is the last re­main­ing early dwelling in the vicin­ity of the ham­let of Head­ford.

Cur­rently, the prop­erty con­tain­ing both her­itage homes is un­der­go­ing re­de­vel­op­ment to ac­com­mo­date 85 sin­gle-de­tached dwellings. They have been moved to a tem­po­rary lo­ca­tion for site ser­vic­ing, which is ex­pected to be com­plete this spring.

Both the Mapes and Horner houses bear sig­nif­i­cant ar­chi­tec­tural de­tails, such as a three-bay fa­cade and a T-shaped plan.

“The T-shaped plan is a cru­cial el­e­ment of [both houses], but we want to make sure that they can be adopted for new uses,” said Joanne Le­ung, manager of ur­ban de­sign and her­itage with the Town of Rich­mond Hill.

Which is why ad­di­tions are nec­es­sary to make the houses more vi­able.

“The ex­ist­ing homes are small,” said Pa­trick Lee, the town’s direc­tor of pol­icy plan­ning. “They need to be built up to mod­ern stan­dards.”

The ap­pli­cant is seek­ing to add a 3,780-square-foot ad­di­tion to the ex­ist­ing 1,047-square-foot Mapes House and a 2,356-square-foot ad­di­tion to the 1,820-square-foot Horner House.

Both pro­pos­als are more like com­plete sub­ur­ban homes, rather than sym­pa­thetic ad­di­tions to her­itage houses, Le­ung said. “It [the de­sign] has no re­gard for the char­ac­ter and scale of the ex­ist­ing houses.”

“I came to this pic­ture of what they were propos­ing, my com­ment was: it looks like a Cadil­lac Es­calade had an ac­ci­dent with a 1960s MG,” said Rich­mond Hill Coun. David West.

Town staff pro­vided Her­itage Rich­mond Hill with a re­port that concludes the pro­posed ad­di­tions do not con­sti­tute good her­itage plan­ning, two key is­sues be­ing phys­i­cal in­com­pat­i­bil­ity and scale. Her­itage Rich­mond Hill has passed a rec­om­men­da­tion to Coun­cil to deny the ap­pli­ca­tion. A com­mit­tee of the whole meet­ing has been sched­uled for April 13.

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