Con­tro­ver­sial condo on Vil­lage Id­iot site ap­proved

For­est Hill de­vel­op­ment re­duced from nine storeys in OMB me­di­ated set­tle­ment

North Toronto Post - - News - By Bethany Browne

The two-storey build­ing that once housed the Vil­lage Id­iot Pub in For­est Hill has sat empty for years as lo­cal residents, city staff and Armel Cor­po­ra­tion de­bated how the site should be re­de­vel­oped. Now, a six-storey, mixed-use build­ing with 34 units has fi­nally been ap­proved.

On March 27, Toronto City Coun­cil signed off on the On­tario Mu­nic­i­pal Board (OMB) me­di­ated set­tle­ment for 390–398 Spad­ina Rd. on the north­west cor­ner of Mont­clair Av­enue and Spad­ina Road.

The com­mu­nity made a col­lec­tive ef­fort to op­pose the ini­tial pro­posal of nine storeys and 46 units — they formed the South For­est Hill Residents As­so­ci­a­tion (SFHRA) in 2014 and par­tic­i­pated in the me­di­a­tion process at the OMB.

Coun­cil­lors Joe Mi­hevc and Josh Mat­low, of Ward 21 and Ward 22 re­spec­tively, ar­gued against the ini­tial pro­posal, and a re­fusal re­port was sub­mit­ted by city staff in May 2016. The re­port noted the pro­posal did not meet the Ur­ban De­sign Guide­lines for For­est Hill Vil­lage, which dic­tate that no build­ing should be above four storeys on that part of Spad­ina Road, be­tween Mont­clair Av­enue and Thelma Av­enue.

Mi­hevc had ini­tially called for a to­tal re­write of the pro­posal, not just a mi­nor mod­i­fi­ca­tion, but said the pro­posal had reached an ac­cept­able con­clu­sion. “The set­tle­ment is not per­fect, but this is as good as it gets. We achieved 90 per cent of our goals, which doesn’t hap­pen of­ten in the planning world,” Mi­hevc said.

Armel Cor­po­ra­tion will con­trib­ute $170,000 into On­tario Planning Act, Sec­tion 37 fund­ing, as part of the set­tle­ment, to be used to­ward com­mu­nity im­prove­ments.

Ap­prox­i­mately 60 residents at­tended a com­mu­nity meet­ing on April 12 to pro­vide in­put on how the fund­ing should be spent. Mi­hevc noted the al­lo­ca­tion of the funds still needs to be de­ter­mind.

Mona Korn­berg, of the SFHRA, said she hopes those funds will be ap­plied to the streetscape on Spad­ina Road.

“The vil­lage is very spe­cial, but it has fallen into ne­glect. Re­ally nice street lights and pot­ted plants and a cou­ple more benches would be a good use of this money,” Korn­berg said. How­ever, Korn­berg an­tic­i­pates more de­vel­op­ment is on the way. “The SFHRA is poised to re­spond to this, and I think it is go­ing to be a watch­dog as a com­mu­nity or­ga­ni­za­tion,” she said.

Armel Cor­po­ra­tion did not re­turn re­quests for com­ment.

The vil­lage is very spe­cial but it has fallen into ne­glect.”

The site of the Vil­lage Id­iot Pub in the lower vil­lage set to be­come a condo

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