Message from David Godley to Eddy, March 7, 2015
From: David Godley <email@example.com>
Date: Saturday, March 7, 2015 at 11:14 AM
Subject: Update on 25 Twenty Fourth Street, Local Planning’s Response
I am not sure how you fill a role at the upcoming hearing on March 18 on 25 24th Street.
I should check with the OMB case worker as to whether or not you can have input into this decision. Perhaps you can since the OMB has to be assured the applications conform to the letter of the law eg Official Plan, Minor etc.
If so you can zero in on the lower balcony and the side yard set back from 3 to 2 feet. With the large increase in density your house is already going to be significantly darkened as you have a number of windows affected.
If you are not able to put your case send your material anyway to the Board.
Mention you already had an offer from the developer which was superior to the Planning Department agreement.
My letter to Star is below.
Keep me in touch.
Earlier message: Negotiations regarding 25 Twenty Fourth St.
You should have been involved in the negotiations. The City represents the community.
This is not acceptable.
I think it outrageous that the City would allow an increase from 0.35 to 0.65 (or a bit less with 3 feet length being removed) with all the other negatives you would suffer.
Since the proposal has to fit with the existing block of 6 houses which has an average density of 0.23, the Local Planning’s interpretation is risible.
The side yard setback at 2 feet is just greed and is too narrow to be fully workable.
The overlooking balcony permitted by the rise in first floor could easily have been lowered by condition.
The fit with the block of houses, as the OP Review Team see as critical, is absent. You went to a lot of trouble to show the applicant alternative facades which would have been much more harmonious.
Part of the problem is that we are dealing with unskilled designers and people who do not know about urban design, and who have no concept of the word fit. The Official Plan encourages excellence and architects.
Long Branch should be a priority for a Preservation Bylaw which makes applications live up to a higher standard. The fact that history was not mentioned in the 20 James Street hearing as well as other pertinent points is again unfair through the Chair’s major abbreviation of the hearing
I agree with you that the Planning Department does not appear to be following proper procedures defined in the Planning Act particularly conformity with the Official Plan and what is major.
No fair lay person is going to agree with what has been done or how it was done. Obviously the proposal sticks out like a sore thumb.
This conflict between two separate sections of Planning Department is weakening the City’s cases. Local Planning staff’s position and the OP Review team is on record as not supporting it.
I have tried to promote the OP Team’s approach but am a persona non gratis at the Board. There is clear vengeance by the OMB for previously making a complaint. I was made to wait 10 hours at the 18 Daisy hearing and given 7 minutes to speak after the developers planner had taken 3.5 hours. I have never been able to give a full presentation and history and aesthetics and neighbours views are important.
A resident at the Committee of Adjustment who spoke in anger about 39 33rd Street had the application immediately turned down unanimously. Citizens are frightened of upsetting decision makers (naturally) and try to speak without emotion. Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned.
At least I heard today that there will soon be a Government sponsored bill that will among other things curtail the power of the OMB (see green).
Since being consistent is a mainstay of planning the continued lack of guidance from the OP Review staff is bad news for decisions and comments on applications.
I should write to the Chief Planner, Jennifer Keesmaat and ask for a full explanation.
As I understand it you have no standing in the case and the OMB will simply be a formality since parties have agreed.
Although the Planning Department have a difficult role, in this one they are rolling over.
On March 6, 2015, Eddy wrote:
I found out last week that a different lawyer had been assigned to the pending OMB hearing (March 18).
As a quick re-cap, the main objections to the development proposal were:
Decrease the side lot setback by 32% to 0.61m
Exceed allowable FSI by 85% to 0.65 (build a 2,118 sq.ft. house on a 3,250 sq.ft. lot)
Exceed allowable height of first floor by 42% to 1.7m
Exceed allowable length by 11% to 18.8m
Decrease setback for eaves and projections by 60% to 0.2m
I spoke to the city’s lawyer this morning and he let me know that they have reached a settlement with the developer and that the City’s Planning department has ‘signed-off’.
Given that the proposed development is so completely out of character with variances that don’t meet any of the 4 tests, one would hope for significant changes. Unfortunately, the City has accepted a 1 metre reduction in building length as the sole concession from the developer and they are now on-board with the project!
This has been a truly disappointing experience and demonstrates how little city officials seem to care about adherence of their own zoning bylaws.
Message from Eddy,Nov. 5, 2015
November 5, 2014 at 5:11 PM
Subject: Re: 25 Twenty Fourth Street
A quick update on the file…
I spoke with Councillor Mark Grimes a couple of weeks ago and he has arranged to have the City of Toronto appeal the decision to the OMB.
The appeal was officially filed yesterday and the city’s legal department has assigned a lawyer. I brought her up to date this morning and she’ll be reaching out again once an OMB hearing date has been set (probably in 2015).
Message from David Godley, March 6, 2015
To the Premier and Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. 6 March 2015
I was delighted to hear today through my MPP Peter Milczyn that moves are afoot to limit the OMB’s powers within proposed amendments to the Planning Act.
It almost seems Spring has started early!
This is a body which has disgraced Ontario with its lack of understanding of planning and its bullying ways.
As the City of Toronto says it is unaccountable and opaque, completely the opposite to your Government’s aims.
Little respect is given to community residents whom it serves.
It ignores the key Divisional Court decision on minor (De Gasperis)
It seems oblivious of the fact that development planners have a major financial conflict of interest.
It chose to ignore “having regard to local decisions” which was introduced into the Planning Act.
It has a culture of entitlement which it could not change.
Again thank you for doing the right thing.
I look forward to working within the new framework when the time comes.
Toronto Star letter to editor from David Godley, published March 5, 2015
Who will defend neighbourhoods?
Re: Tory’s executive committee in battle over new city staff positions, March 2
Tory’s executive committee in battle over new city staff positions, March 2
Councillor Michelle Berardinetti’s move to eliminate new staff positions is shortsighted. It will open the way for developers to degrade our neighbourhoods because policies cannot be implemented.
We have the best neighbourhoods in North America and they are both a quality of life and economic asset. The Ontario Municipal Board cannot be relied on to help Toronto as it acts basically as an arm of the development industry.
Without City planning staff to defend neighbourhood and heritage character at the OMB we will be throwing out policies of the Official Plan, which cost millions of dollars to prepare.
City planning is needed to provide a framework for both the development industry and the community. The mayor has it right on this one.
David Godley, Toronto