The following information is from David Godley of Long Branch.
He has given me permission to post it.
Today, like many days, is a busy day for me. I am stopping all of my other work for half an hour in order to post this information.
Message from David Godley
Greetings to those interested in future Long Branch residential development.
Councillor Grimes is free to send the attached material to those who attended on May 4th.
The attached draft comprehensive list of issues is for your input to me by Monday 15th June.
As revised they will be forwarded to Planning Staff and others involved.
The pictures of 168 Lake Promenade are a symbol of where planning has come unstuck.
There is indication from the Planning Department that pressure from Councillor Grimes and the community will yield results.
What these are remains to be seen and will need monitoring and review until implemented.
There is reason for some optimism.
Part of an email from Councillor Grimes to those attending May 4th.
The meeting on May 4 at The Assembly Hall was a step forward in helping some members of the community understand the development process a bit better and provide a brief overview of what the City and Province are doing to curb the power of the Ontario Municipal Board. I heard loud and clear the demand for further action to help protect Long Branch now.
Both Planning staff and I took notes on the concerns raised by speakers, and we are working to continue the momentum the meeting created. I have received a commitment from the City’s Chief Planner to consider some unique strategies that may be employed to address the planning and development issues specific to Long Branch. My office will keep you posted as we receive new information.
Message from Jennifer Keesmaat
Chief Planner & Executive Director
City Planning Division
City of Toronto
Thank you for your earlier correspondence. Following City Council over the past three days, I have spent a good part of today in meetings with Neil Cresswell reviewing in detail the history of Long Branch, its ongoing development activity, current issues, and notes pertaining to Committee of Adjustment hearings as well as outstanding matters (such as illegal tree removals).
I’ve also reviewed your comments in detail. Many of the issues you identify are consistent with pressures we are experiencing in other parts of the City that are also facing growth and change. However, it seems to me that the aggressiveness of the applications and the activities of the developers in Long Branch is acute.
I have reviewed with staff a series of strategies that we could potentially employ to address these planning and development issues. At this point in time, I will need to review these options with your Councillor, Mark Grimes, in order to consider how best to proceed.
I understand that you have had extensive correspondence with local planning staff. My Director, Neil Cresswell will continue to be your best point of contact as we go forward. I will be working closely with both Neil and your Councillor to determine next steps. I recognize from your meeting notes regarding the public meeting on May 4th that you and others felt frustration that tangible strategies to address the problem at hand were not forthcoming. I want to assure you that working with the local Councillor, I am seeking to expedite advancing a way forward.
Jennifer Keesmaat, MES, MCIP, RPP
Chief Planner & Executive Director
City Planning Division
City of Toronto
City Hall, 12th Floor East
100 Queen St W | Toronto M5H 2N2
T 416-392-8772 | F 416-392-8115
Attached file sent by David Godley:
The content of the above-noted file is as follows:
New Houses in Long Branch/Severances & Variances -Draft Issues
David Godley firstname.lastname@example.org June 9 2015
The Chief Planner, Jennifer Keesmaat, has acknowledged that planning issues in Long Branch are important and has referred the matters to her head of Etobicoke/York Planning, Neil Cresswell. Neil Cresswell presented at the May 4th 2015 community meeting arranged by Councillor Grimes.
This list of issues is the basis for discussion between the Planning Department and the Long Branch community. The overall issue is that houses are being built that do not respect and reinforce the character of the neighbourhood in accordance with the 2006 Official Plan. Furthermore the houses have significant increases in density way beyond what is envisaged by the De Gasperis Division Court case; they create overshadowing and overlook, are overpowering, block views and destroy healthy mature trees.
The most common form of development is splitting a 50 feet frontage lot to build 3 storey twin houses. Similar house types on narrow single lots are of equal concern. There are a number of variations on the theme with semis and 2 storey singles with mutual driveway.
The OMB cannot be relied on to follow the Official Plan, determine a minor variance or understand the intent of the zoning bylaw. The OMB is to be reviewed starting this Fall by the Province so these issues are focused on local matters.
1. Planning Department Philosophy
A. Does the Planning Department see the applicant’s wishes as part of the planning analysis.
B. Does the Planning Department see the communities wishes as part of the planning analysis.
C. Does the Planning Department see its role as representative of citizens and may be teacher, adviser, technical expert, negotiator and procurer (J. Wilson March 1983, Plan Canada) or as a separate entity.
D. Does the Department recognise resident’s rights to be part of a negotiation with the applicant (25 24th St)
2, Planning Department Comments and Evidence:
A. Can the strongest physical section of the Official Plan 4.1.5c be quoted in planning comments and used in evidence at OMB hearings.
B. Can the strongest urban design section of the Official Plan 3.1.3 be quoted in planning comments and used in evidence at OMB hearings.
B. Can the intent of the zoning bylaw to eliminate 3 storey dwellings by control of raised first floor be included in the comments and evidence at the OMB.
C. Can the De Gasperis Divisonal Court case be quoted in the comments and used in evidence to determine “minor” as in variance.
D. How does the Department assess “minor”
E. Can the impacts on neighbouring properties and the streetscape be assessed in comments and used in evidence at the OMB.
F. Can the Department reflect the views of the public in their comments.
F How does the Planning Department determine which applications deserve comment.
G. Can the Planning Department prepare intent on the zoning requirements which are to be varied. The large side yard set back required for a corner lot was dismissed as irrelevant at the 20 James hearing.
3. Initial Process:
The turnaround for stakeholders of the 200 feet/ 60 metre circulation area is tight. If someone goes on vacation the COA may have already made a decision by the time they return. Plus people often have no idea what a severance or variance is or where to turn for help. The process for relatively small proposals is complex.
A. Can agendas be sent out to a Long Branch Community Association 11 days ahead when the politicians receive them or can the agenda be posted on line this far ahead.
B. Can new build applicants be required to meet those in the neighbourhood prior to the Committee of Adjustment meeting. Such a meeting usually takes place during the Committee of Adjustment meeting.
C. Can new build applicants be required to discuss the proposal with a Long Branch Community Association and those affected prior to an application being submitted.
D. Can the planner’s name be on notices to give advice, as well as the COA contact.
E Can the planner’s comments be held off until 8 days before the hearing so that the Councillor, Long Branch Community Association and neighbours have a chance to talk to the planner.
2 27th St saw 2 mature trees legally but needlessly destroyed and a further 7 destroyed illegally. The developer at 75 27th has also managed to kill a giant by illegally paving over the front yard. Urban Forestry is in conviction processes.
A. Can Urban Forestry refuse a destruction permit if the tree is in the way of an approved plan.
B. Can Urban Forestry analyse tree preservation at the beginning of the process or at least give red flags in their comments rather than simply making the approval subject to conditions.
A. Can trees be added to the Official Plan criteria in Section 4.1.5 of the Official Plan.
B. Can the new 3 storey houses which have been built contrary to the Official Plan and are alien to the neighbourhood be eliminated from character assessment. This would enhance the traditional character and not reproduce the inappropriate character.
C. Can the side of the street in which the application sits be given the highest priority for assessing character. This may be the case in the draft wording for revisions to the Neighbourhoods section but it is not entirely clear.
D. Can reduction of sideyards next to existing houses not be compromised in cases of severance.
E. Can the Official Plan indicate the closer the houses are to the subject site the more critical they are in assessing neighbourhood character.
5. Urban Design
A. Can the Planning Department apply zoning to prevent identical twins as is contained in the Alderwood zoning bylaw.
B. Can the Department apply zoning to eliminate flat roofs.
C. Can the Planning Department use their Official Plan Section and Urban Design Section and Urban Forestry to brief Committee of Adjustment members and local planners on their various specialisations
A. Can the Planning Department raise fees so that staff can comprehensively review and follow up on severance and variance applications and development.
B. Can applicants be required to call their buildings 3 storey (rather than 2 storey) when that is the appearance from the road with the first floor being nearest to the ground level
C. Can applicants be required to accurately mark trees and other features to be a complete application.
D. Can there be some protocol for citizen inquiries and the length of time to acknowledge and reply. Some staff reply promptly, others not so much.
A. Can applicants for new builds be required to show to scale front elevation of the proposal and both abutting properties to give an impression of the streetscape.
B. Can the Planning Department produce a list of staff with telephone numbers for Tree destruction (2 27th) Zoning Infractions (75 27th) Building Infractions (18 Ash), Hoardings, signs and advertisements (26th St) Mud tracking, Poor maintenance, Traffic matters etc
C. Can the package presented by the Planning Department on May 4th be distributed to the community or at least the Community Association.
D. Can neighbours be kept up to date on items affecting their part of the neighbourhood eg Stop work orders (2 27th St), tree convictions, variance/severance applications.
E. Can a website be set up showing active applications and their status.
8. Potential Remedies:
A. What does the Department think of applying a heritage district to parts or the whole of Long Branch.
B. What does the Department think of drawing up design guidelines for Long Branch.
C. What does the Department think of carrying out a preservation zoning bylaw study and using an interim zoning under Section 38 similar to the Royal York/Bloor area.
D. What does the Department think about carrying out a neighbourhood plan with stakeholder committee, meetings to discuss various aspects of planning and a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats analysis This involves preparing a policy and action plan for the community. If the Department have objections to the plan they put them to the political representatives. (Crombie era planning)
E. Would the planning department support a detached house with a secondary suite as an alternative to a severance. Are there other uses which might fit the neighbourhood creating minimal impact on neighbours for 50 feet frontage lots.