Comment from Brian Liberty regarding Long Branch community meeting re: Consent applications

A previous post also refers to the topic at hand:

David Godley, a retired professional planner, shared evidence about 20 James Street at an OMB hearing on Feb. 13, 2015

I am pleased to share with you the following message from Brian Liberty of Long Branch, which I am posting with his permission

I have broken some of the texts into shorter paragraphs, and have added heading, for ease of online reading

Please note: Paul Bain is a three project manager for the Official Plan Review in the SIPA department – strategic initiatives, policy and analysis.

From: Brian Liberty

Date: Thursday, March 5, 2015 at 5:37 PM

Subject: Long Branch community meeting re: Consent applications

Hello Mr. Bain,

My name is Brian Liberty and I am a resident of the Long Branch neighbourhood. I understand that you have been on leave and have possibly returned to your role by this time. Early in the year, the community was advised by Councillor Grimes that he would be organizing a meeting regarding lot splitting in Long Branch, pending the availability of yourself and other City staff that should be at the meeting.

I have been actively involved with the opposition of several OMB applications for severances recently whereby several have been approved. As you may know, OMB decisions to approve these out-of-character dwellings has led to a high degree of interest by builders to aim their investments in Long Branch – an investment that could only be profitable with the approval of consents. Precedent is being set at an alarming rate and the character of this historic neighbourhood is drastically changing as the large 50 foot tree filled lots become in-filled with two towering homes on 25 foot lots.

20 James Street

Most recently, 20 James Street was approved within only 13 days of the OMB hearing and appeared to be overwhelmingly in favour of the applicant’s planner – Mr. Franco Romano, a familiar and apparently favoured face at the OMB (see #32 below from the decision) – making little detailed reference to the arguments of the City planner, Mr. Anthony Hommik.

“[32] In 2015 then, the subject proposal is a far more detailed proposal than the earlier application for 20 James Street. It is supported by highly persuasive evidence from an experienced planner who has worked on, and who continues to analyze and support similar development and severance applications throughout the South Long Branch area.

Mr. Romano is a highly conversant expert on all planning and related technical aspects of residential redevelopment in South Long Branch and his planning rationale and analysis as evidenced in this case carried on that high standard of consistency in his professional land use planning evidence.

The Board would be remiss if it did not accord this expert’s evidence the most persuasive weight based on his planning rationale as presented. The Board is satisfied that the proposed development is reflective of the character of Long Branch based on the planning evidence presented in this case as detailed.”

Point #40

I would also like to highlight point #40 from Member Rossi’s decision on 20 James St.:

“[40] The Board is well-versed in examples of other neighbourhoods of the City where development pressure through entirely new built form types is evident and where great care must be exercised. South Long Branch is not one of these. Development to date appears largely to have been sensitive to the surrounding broad area – and insofar as this western portion of South Long Branch is concerned, entirely so.

“There is also evidence that the Board has been mindful of the character and rejected applications for development that does not respect and reinforce the overall character of this area. In this context, the Board will continue to evaluation the planning merits of severance and minor variance applications in in Long Branch when asked to do so.

“Should City planners wish to seek additional protections to limit development in this area, they are free to make those representations but for the time being, there is nothing in the City’s planning instruments that designates the Long Branch area of the Former City of Etobicoke for special or heightened protection from new infill/residential development, which takes the form of requests for higher densities to be achieved through severance and minor variance applications as long as the existing character is respected and reinforced. This, the Applicant achieves through his proposal.”

Point #64

Board Member Rossi’s decision also states: “Given the varied pattern of lot frontage sizes throughout the area – a characteristic that has not changed through development – the Board sees no disruptive “creeping effect” of new development in South Long Branch or that it is somehow out of keeping with the neighbourhood” (ref. #64)

Councillor Grimes recently advised that this meeting would take place upon your return and so I would like to respectfully request, if it hasn’t already happened, that a meeting date be determined – as applications continue to be approved at the OMB in the absence of the Local Appeals Body – so that the community can act accordingly in conjunction with next moves by the City of Toronto.

Your response is greatly appreciated,

Brian Liberty


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