Conserving Long Branch – February 2016 update from David Godley

I am pleased to share with you the following message from David Godley:

Thank you Jill Hogan of the City Planning Department for her applications review which unfortunately is getting longer!


Thank you also to the following for supplying information: Sabrina Salitino, Planning Department, Daniel Fleming, Councillor’s Office, Liz Read, Andy Choles, Mike Flynn, Sandy Delargy. Mike Lafrade. and Suneel Gupta. Thank you all for supporting the conservation of Long Branch. I have added in colour my own observations to Jill’s report.

February 11, 2016 Committee of Adjustment Hearing

  1. A19/16EYK 38 Thirtieth Street  This is a Minor Variance application.  A new 2-storey detached dwelling with an attached garage is proposed. The associated variances are for floor space index (0.63 where 0.35 is permitted), building length (18.3 m where 17 m is permitted), eaves setback (0.4 m where 0.5 m is permitted), and front yard soft landscaping variances (42% where 50% is permitted). Staff have reviewed the application and are of the opinion the four tests outlined in the Planning Act are being met.
  1. B80/15EYK, A716/15EYK & A717/15EYK  88 Laburnham Avenue (North Long Branch) – This is an application for consent with associated minor variances.  Planning staff are recommending that the applications be deferred in order for the applicant to submit revised plans that would be more in keeping with the purpose and intent of the Official Plan and Zoning By-law.  Although some revisions have been made, Staff continue to request a deferral to allow the applicant an opportunity to make further revisions.  This one is more than double the density from 0.35 to 0.72 and should be subject of a community meeting. I will attend at COA (Committee of Adjustment) and present on February 11. I will draw their attention to shocking approvals by 2 COA members on January 11 (see below) and try to address the Long Branch issue which they do not seem to have not grasped.

January 14, 2016 Committee of Adjustment Hearing  RESULTS

  1. A701/15EYK “ 29 Ash Crescent  As you are all aware, this property has been before the Committee on two separate occasions.  The most recent being August 27, 2015.  This application was refused by the Committee and subsequently appealed by the applicant to the OMB. The hearing is scheduled for February 23, 2016.  It is Planning staff’s understanding that the OMB appeal will be withdrawn, subject to the Committee’s approval of this current application. The current application proposes to remove the partial third floor addition (chicken coop) and is seeking approval for additional density resulting from the enclosure of two balconies on the second floor (this was included in the August application) as well as legalizing the as-built side yard setback, that was incorrectly measured from the fence line at the time of construction (setbacks are to be measured from the surveyed property line). Staff are recommending approval of this current application, with the condition that the partial third storey addition be removed within six months of the Committee’s decision. For further details, please contact the Committee of Adjustment Office for a copy of the staff report.  APPROVED ON CONDITION The COA approved this January 11. The applicant has gained an extra 0.10 density (0.54 to 0.64) and diminished sideyards from 0.38m sideyards to 0.2m (less than 9 inches), both the before and after sideyard figures are unprecedented in recent approvals. Where was the building inspector during construction!
  1. B68/15EYK, A597/15EYK, A598/15EYK- 24 Thirty Third Street This is an application for consent with associated minor variances. Staff have reviewed the application and are recommending a deferral to provide the applicant an opportunity to have further discussion with Planning staff and the community to develop a revised proposal that is more in keeping with the established physical character of the neighbourhood and more in accordance with the general intent and purpose of the Official Plan and the Zoning By-laws. DEFERRED SINE DIE FOR FURTHER CONSULTATION WITH COMMUNITY PLANNING, THE COUNCILLOR AND NEIGHBOURS
  1. B72/15EYK, A646/15EYK & A647/15EYK  56 Ash Crescent – This is an application for consent with associated minor variances.  Staff have reviewed the application and are recommending a deferral to provide the applicant an opportunity to have further discussion with Planning staff and the community to develop a revised proposal that is more in keeping with the established physical character of the neighbourhood and more in accordance with the general intent and purpose of the Official Plan and the Zoning By-laws.  APPROVED ON CONDITION.  COUNCILLOR GRIMES FORWARDED A MOTION TO COUNCIL TO APPEAL THIS DECISION AND THAT THE APPROPRIATE STAFF ATTEND THE OMB IN OPPOSITION TO THE APPLICATION. No objectors showed up but two members approved this despite the Official Plan policies having been clarified and strengthened by a newly adopted Official Plan Amendment (320) went against strong local opposition, the Planning Department and City Councillor. With the quick response by the the Councillor’s Office this was appealed and City Planning and Legal will represent the City at the OMB hearing at some point in the future. This is a shock to the community. 
  1. A/736/15EYK  39 Twenty First Street (North Long Branch)  This is a minor variance application proposing to construct a two-storey rear addition with a second storey deck and a second storey addition above the existing dwelling. The dwelling would also be converted into a triplex.  Planning staff are recommending that the application be refused. DEFERRED SINE DIE TO MAKE REVISIONS. The applicant volunteered to reduce the impact but it is not clear whether the community will be involved or if there will be a community meeting.
  1. B/62/15EYK, A531/15EYK & A532/15EYK “ 40 Thirty Eighth Street – This is an application for consent with associated minor variances. Staff have reviewed the application and are recommending a deferral to provide the applicant an opportunity to have further discussion with Planning staff and the community to develop a revised proposal that is more in keeping with the established physical character of the neighbourhood and more in accordance with the general intent and purpose of the Official Plan and the Zoning By-laws. (This application was deferred at the December 3, 2015 hearing)  APPROVED ON CONDITION This is an application where all where in opposition to approval but no-one showed up for the hearing. This is in a street with nearly all lots are about 50 feet frontage and where previous severance applications have been refused. This decision is a shock to the community. 2 members of the COA have not grasped Long Branch issues.

Reviewed Applications in Long Branch

  1. B75/15EYK, A667/15EYK & A668/15EYK 2 Ash Crescent – This is an application for consent with associated minor variances.  Staff have reviewed the application and are recommending a deferral to provide the applicant an opportunity to have further discussion with Planning staff and the community to develop a revised proposal that is more in keeping with the established physical character of the neighbourhood and more in accordance with the general intent and purpose of the Official Plan and the Zoning By-laws.  Hearing date TBD 
  1. B77/15EYK, A692/15EYK & A693/15EYK  42 Exmoor Drive (on the edge of Long Branch) – This is an application for consent with associated minor variances. Planning staff are recommending that the applications be deferred in order for the applicant to submit revised plans that would be more in keeping with the purpose and intent of the Official Plan and Zoning By-law. Hearing date TBD 
  1. B2/16EYK, A13/16EYK & A14/16EYK “ 30 Thirty Sixth Street – This is an application for consent with associated minor variances.  Staff have reviewed the application and are recommending a deferral to provide the applicant an opportunity to have further discussion with Planning staff and the community to develop a revised proposal that is more in keeping with the established physical character of the neighbourhood and more in accordance with the general intent and purpose of the Official Plan and the Zoning By-laws. Hearing date TBD
  1. B85/15EYK, A747/15EYK & A748/15EYK  – 20 Garden Place – This is an application for consent with associated minor variances.  Staff have reviewed the application and are recommending a deferral to provide the applicant an opportunity to have further discussion with Planning staff and the community to develop a revised proposal that is more in keeping with the established physical character of the neighbourhood and more in accordance with the general intent and purpose of the Official Plan and the Zoning By-laws. Hearing date: March 10, 2016

New Applications in Long Branch

  1. B8/16EYK, A73/16EYK and A74/16EYK  2 Shamrock Avenue –  This is an application for consent with associated minor variances. Currently under review by staff.
  2. B9/16EYK, A76/16EYK and A77/16EYK  4 Shamrock Avenue –  This is an application for consent with associated minor variances. Currently under review by staff.
  3. B11/16, A95-96/169 EYK   9  Thirty Eighth Street

Also non severance minor variance applications have been received for 46 Exmoor and 66 Ash.

OMB Hearings. 10am @ 655 Bay, the OMB offices

1  97 27th, 14-15 January 2016 This was held despite the applicant changing the plans dramatically at the hearing and a missed variance ensuring that as a corner lot driveway access was from the side street and a 10 feet set back be required for the sideyard abutting the road. Also the road right of way encroached on the lot. If this is approved a street tree will have to be removed whereas if a single house was built on the existing lot we would be able to keep the beauty of a mature tree. Decision awaited.

2  9 Atherton OMB hearing 7 July 2016 for 2 days

3  58 Ash  OMB hearing 4 July 2016 for 2 days

[Please note: Folloing 4 items are active links:]

62 and 68 Long Branch Avenue and 28 Marina Avenue

Community Meeting February 22 2016 on Rezoning

Monday 7pm to 9pm Assembly Hall

www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2016/ey/bgrd/backgroundfile-86875.pdf

Dec 15, 2015 – Staff report for action.  Preliminary Report – 62 & 68 Long Branch Ave and 28 Marina Ave.

30 townhouses and stacked town houses on the G Hogle Funeral Home site .

Long Branch Neighbourhood Association

The outlook is excellent for the formation of a strong Neighbourhood Association. However we may well be into the second half of 2016 before incorporation can take place.

The Dec 7 meeting was followed by another meeting on February 1st where a detailed mandate was discussed.

A meeting is to be held later this month including suggested revisions. Contact Brian Liberty briandliberty@gmail.com for details if you wish to be actively involved or need information.

I would comment that we are receiving an unprecedented number of applications and no-one is currently representing the neighbourhood with comments or attendance at COA meetings. Therefore I will attend on February 11 COA and at some future meetings. When Residents of South Long Branch (RASL) was active Malcolm Roberts used to attend COA hearings and put his view forcefully. Perhaps the LBNA should consider this issue. Attached [see below] is my written submission on 88 Laburnham.

Deferrals – Letter from David Godley

[OMB]

Councillor Matlow recently held a public meeting on the future of the OMB.

I have suggested the following letter for him to respond to Marcus Gee’s uninformed ponderings in his Globe and Mail article below.

Marcus Gee makes development sound like a free for all and forgets that there is an Official Plan guiding development which was years in the making.

Deep pocketed developers can afford to brush aside City planners and lawyers at the development friendly OMB.

The OMB has approved 9 out of 10 applications that were brought to my attention against the Committee of Adjustment decision, City Planners opinion and strong residents opposition.

Contrary to Marcus Gee’s suggestion that neighbourhoods are protected, their character is being destroyed especially in North York.

The OMB are amateurs with little understanding of planning policy, urban design or citizen participation.

The OMB take little notice of residents and often treat them with contempt, relying on the deeply conflicted development planners.

This has caused long term stress and pain to such an extent that citizens feel forced to leave the neighbourhood, even emigrate.

The OMB creates frustration and anger because of its arrogance and lack of rationality. The OMB is the most hated body in Ontario.

Frankly the OMB is a disgrace to social justice and their warped decisions has nothing to do with good planning.

Yes the beast should be slain.

Is the OMB a beast that should be slayed?

My comment is that the OMB is a dinosaur trampling over communities and should simply be removed from the severance and variance processes.

It is the epitome of poor planning.

However we have to have well informed/trained COA members.

We need Local Area Boards for the rest of its mandate for such as zoning and Official Plans.

The CAO’s report to the Executive Committee did not appear as anticipated on January 28th Executive.

David

Marcus Gee

The Globe and Mail

Published Wednesday, Feb. 03, 2016

Last updated Wednesday, Feb. 03, 2016

North Toronto Councillor Josh Matlow is girding to fight a mighty enemy. For city councillors and neighbourhood groups, the Ontario Municipal Board is the meanest ogre in the kingdom, a half-blind beast whose arbitrary decisions impose looming condominium towers on pleasant neighbourhoods.

Free Toronto from the OMB! read a pamphlet at the town hall meeting Mr. Matlow organized last week to discuss his crusade against the appeal tribunal. “Stop inappropriate development!

Many local residents are right with him. Why are developers entitled to make millions of dollars while we suffer in the shadow of their giant projects,” said one woman who came to Mr. Matlow’s event in a local high school auditorium. “I think a lot of people in this room are sick of the OMB.” The crowd burst into applause The Ontario Municipal Board,” Mr. Matlow said from the stage,“is an anti-democratic, unelected, unaccountable body that has the last say on virtually all planning matters in the province of Ontario.

He would like more power put in the hands of elected representatives such as city councillors. What a mistake that would be. Few councillors can resist when residents organize to block a new building in a neighbourhood, no matter how appropriate for the area. As Mr. Matlow conceded at his town hall, some councillors will “get up on their high horse and rail against any development” that has drawn more than two e-mails of complaint. That is not always the case, he says, but it happens.

In its role as an impartial review panel charged with handling development disputes, the OMB takes the politics out of planning and judges a case on its facts. Sometimes the developer wins, and that makes residents furious. Sometimes residents win and the building is cancelled or scaled down. Sometimes the two sides strike a deal.

Aaron Moore, the author of a book on the OMB, says the board can be a useful crutch for councillors. When residents are up in arms over a developers plans, the councillor can tell them: We had better compromise because we might lose at the OMB and the developer will get everything he wants. Compromise is usually best anyway. Developer and community can find a solution both can tolerate.

Peter Milczyn, a Liberal MPP and former city councillor, says that although the OMB needs some reform  the provincial government is reviewing it  it can discourage city councils from making plainly political decisions on development issues.

“It tempers bad decision-making on the part of councils, he said. Besides, city hall’s record at the OMB is not as bad as people think. It wins slightly more cases than it loses, he says, and a lot of the cases it loses are those where politics have eclipsed common sense.

If the OMB were the ogre its opponents say it is, quiet Toronto neighbourhoods would be sprouting condo towers. That is not happening. Almost all of the high-rise building is going on at the places where the citys official plan says it should: key intersections, main streets and other hubs that city hall has targeted for dense development.

Yonge and Eglinton, just around the corner from Mr. Matlow’s town hall, is a case in point. It is already served by the Yonge subway. In a few years, it will have the Crosstown light rail line, too. The arrival of thousands of new residents is lending the area a great urban buzz.

Many of those in the surrounding streets do not like the construction and the noise. Like Mr. Matlow, they say the city has not done enough to provide green space or room in local schools to keep up with the growth. If that is so, it is not the fault of the OMB. It is the fault of city hall.

Regardless, North Toronto still boasts blocks and blocks of sturdy houses in stable, established, untouched neighbourhoods. The city’s official plan aims to protect areas like that, and the OMB has done nothing to frustrate that aim.

If Toronto has something to fear, it is not the excessive power of the Ontario Municipal Board. It is the prospect of city councillors bowing to irate neighbourhood groups at every turn. They, not the board, need curbing.

[End of text]

Concerned about our MPP’s comment not mentioning the OMB’s appalling record of overturning good planning created at the local level.

An individual who was trying to improve the City has been awarded costs against him by the OMB

Private citizens not only have their views ignored by the OMB, they can also be ordered to pay huge costs. As the OMB becomes more like the courts and flippant of local’s views it leaves matters in the hands of legal and planning professionals without citizens being able to shape their neighbourhood.

OMB Costs Award – Appeal

(Lick’s – Reserve Properties Costs Award) You might recall that Reserve Properties, the developer behind 1960 Queen Street East (formerly Lick’s), asked the OMB that I personally pay for over $63,900 towards their costs of legal and expert witnesses for the February 2013 hearing. This was outlined in the Beach Metro article HERE. After taking over 26 months to come to a decision, in August 2015 OMB member Sylvia Sutherland decided I had to pay $28,693 to Reserve.

So, since I firmly believe I did not done anything wrong to justify any award against me, in September I filed an appeal with the OMB – this is called a “Section 43” which is a written request that the board review a decision (the other party and their lawyer are not part of this process, which is not public). The appeal asked for an oral hearing (since there was never any hearing on costs – everything was done for the OMB’s decision was via written submissions and affidavits) or that the decision be reversed.

The decision released on November 10th was a partial victory, in that the OMB decided to reduce the amount to $15,000. The decision can be read HERE.

I would have preferred a hearing, but as I wish to clear my name and also am concerned that this decision could be an inappropriate precedent for others who appeal to the OMB, I am now appealing this to the courts – which entails further legal expenses (in the end this will likely cost me far more than the original $23,900). The thing we filed was a “Notice of Motion for Leave to Appeal” to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice’s Divisional Court.

I cannot say much else at this time because it is going before the courts, but I thought I would fill everyone in on the fact that this matter is not yet final.

Brian Graffe

For recent history of planning in Long Branch go to preservedstories.com – Jaan Pill’s blog. Jaan OK to post.

David

[End of text from David Godley of Long Branch]

 

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