Rul­ing raises ques­tions on state of his­toric core

OMB sides with Town of Rich­mond Hill on mixed-use build­ing on Yonge Street

Thornhill Post - - News - by Adam Stein­berg

The On­tario Mu­nic­i­pal Board (OMB) has sided with the Town of Rich­mond Hill and blocked an eight-storey, mixed-use build­ing pro­posal in the down­town her­itage core on Yonge Street, be­tween Cen­tre Street and Dun­lop Street.

The OMB rul­ing on Nov. 9 found that the ap­pli­ca­tion “would serve to com­pro­mise the pro­posed ur­ban structure” of the down­town core.

“We have to pro­tect and con­serve our her­itage build­ings and make sure that the feel and the in­tegrity of our down­town core is pro­tected, and it re­mains that way,” said Ward 5 coun­cil­lor Karen Cile­vitz. “This build­ing … was way off the scale.”

Rich­mond Hill’s Down­town Lo­cal Sec­ondary Plan cites pa­ram­e­ters for build­ing within the her­itage district and ren­o­vat­ing struc­tures with his­tor­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance, in­clud­ing keep­ing a max­i­mum height of five storeys and pre­serv­ing its her­itage char­ac­ter­is­tics. There is still much de­bate about this plan. “It’s just mind-bog­gling that the town would want to [keep the height at] five storeys,” said

Robert Salna, prop­erty owner of

10217 and 10225 Yonge St. “They can see that no­body is ap­ply­ing for five-storey

build­ings, so it’s not re­vi­tal­iz­ing any down­town core.”

Ward 4 coun­cil­lor David West said the mu­nic­i­pal­ity took into con­sid­er­a­tion the unique, nar­row char­ac­ter­is­tics of that stretch of Yonge Street in build­ing its de­vel­op­ment guide­lines for the his­toric vil­lage.

“The eight storeys [pro­posed] is higher than any of the church steeples that are a very key com­po­nent of the down­town core,” said West. Re­gard­ing the is­sue of re­vi­tal­iza­tion of the area, West gave the ex­am­ple of court­yards and laneways as op­por­tu­ni­ties to open cafés and restau­rants, which would bring in rev­enue while ac­com­mo­dat­ing the cul­ture of the area.

Ward 2 coun­cil­lor Tom Muench said he “accepts the OMB de­ci­sion” but is con­cerned about the mes­sage these re­stric­tions will send to de­vel­op­ers look­ing at Rich­mond Hill in terms of re­turn on in­vest­ment.

“The prob­lem with that is the cur­rent vil­lage is not rel­e­vant. We have chal­lenges with re­gard to Yonge Street and the down­town be­ing a walk­a­ble, liv­able area,” said Muench. “Imag­ine what that money can do to pro­tect your her­itage, to cre­ate great walk­ways, to cre­ate more side­walks, to cre­ate more planters. It can do all sorts of things.”

The down­town core must be pro­tected. It’s our her­itage vil­lage district.”

Coun­cil­lors David West and Karen Cile­vitz at the site of the pro­posal

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.