Please send a letter to the Committee of Adjustment opposing the 20 Elton severance application in Long Branch

20 Elton Crescent. Jaan Pill photo

20 Elton Crescent. Jaan Pill photo

We have decided that now is a good time for us to help residents of Long Branch who are opposed to severance applications and proposals to build tall, narrow “soldier” houses on the resulting narrow, severed lots.

A basic point is that if no-one turns up at the Committee of Adjustment to express their opposition, the application for a so-called “Minor Variance” tends to be accepted by the committee without a lot of discussion. If residents express opposition, there is a chance that the views of the residents may be taken into account.

Please help out by sending a letter by Sept. 22 – that is, by Thursday this week – opposing the 20 Elton Crescent severance application

It’s our understanding that letters that arrive by Sept. 22 will be included in a folder that is distributed to Committee of Adjustment members. Letters sent after that date may or may not be read, according to information tat has been shared with me. (If you have alternative information, please let me know.)

Please help out with a severance application that will be going to the Committee of Adjustment on Sept. 29, 2016. There are many such applications; this is one that I know about.

If you wish to help out the residents on Elton Crescent, and if you live in Long Branch or anywhere near it, please send the following message (see text below) to the planner who is handling the file, namely

Annalisa Morra, Application Technician
Amorra@toronto.ca
416-394-2870

Please feel free to use the template as a starting point, to write your own personalized message.

Just mark in the correct date, and add your name, address, and email at the end of the document and send it in as an email from your email address to:

The template letter reads:

[Mark in today’s date]

Committee of Adjustment
Etobicoke York Panel
2 Civic Centre Court
Toronto Ontario M9C 5A3

Regarding 20 Elton Crescent, Long Branch, Etobicoke

Reference: B17/16EYK, A175/16EYK, A174/16EYK

The proposed severance of the property into two residential lots and the requested development of two detached dwellings will have a detrimental impact on the street and the surrounding community. The application does not respect or reinforce the predominant characteristics of the neighbourhood, as outlined in the Neighbourhood Policy of the Official Plan, Section 4.1.5, as clarified in OPA 320.

This proposal will create lots that are over 40% smaller than what is permitted by the Zoning By-law and does not reflect the predominant lot frontage of the immediate or broader neighbourhood, where the majority of lots are 50’ or wider. Any of the existing few smaller lots in the immediate neighbourhood, contain housing that is of a scale that complements, not overpowers, its neighbours and adds to the cadence of the street.

The proposed housing will be massive in scale relative to others on Elton Crescent, with a floor space index twice that which is permitted by the Zoning By-law. The reduced side yard setbacks and the reduced eaves setbacks will contribute to the sense of crowding relative to the adjacent properties, impacting privacy, views and green space.

The large proportion of hard surfaces on the lots will burden our aging stormwater system which is already frequently overwhelmed by heavy rains. It will also eliminate space for the trees which help give Long Branch its distinctive character.

I am opposed to the Consent and Variance Applications being proposed for 20 Elton Crescent and request that the Applications be denied. Please notify me of the Decision on these files.

Sincerely,

Name:

Address:

Email:

Below is my own letter, based upon the template:

Sept. 22, 2016
Committee of Adjustment
Etobicoke York Panel
2 Civic Centre Court
Toronto Ontario M9C 5A3

Attention:

Annalisa Morra – ApplicationTechnician (handling specifically the 20 Elton Application)
Amorra@toronto.ca

Re: 20 Elton Crescent

B17/16EYK, A175/16EYK, A174/16EYK

As a Long Branch resident, I do not support the proposed variances.

Elton Crescent dates back to an earlier time in history. As outlined at the Preserved Stories website, Elton Crescent is named after J.O. (“Jack”) Elton, who was reeve of the Village of Long Branch before Marie Curtis served in that role. He was also brother of Gresley Elton, an architect who in years past designed many Long Branch buildings – including schools, churches, the Long Branch Public Library, and several buildings in what is now Marie Curtis Park.

Not sensitive to, or in harmony with, existing physical character

The proposed severance of the property into two residential lots and the requested development of two detached dwellings would have a strongly detrimental impact on the street and surrounding neighbourhood. The application does not respect or reinforce the predominant characteristics of the neighbourhood as outlined in the Neighbourhood Policy of the Official Plan, Section 4.1.5, as clarified in OPA 320.

Although the Long Branch Urban Design Guidelines Pilot Project is still underway, I believe there is a likelihood that the requested development would qualify, in accordance with the anticipated Guidelines, as examples of houses that are not in conformity with the general intent of the Planning Act, the Official Plan, and the Zoning Bylaw.

The proposed buildings are not sensitive to, or in harmony with, the existing physical character of Long Branch; they clash violently with Long Branch character, as contrasted to developments, of which there have been many examples in Long Branch in recent years, which reinforce the existing physical character.

The policy of the City of Toronto under Official Plan Amendment 320 is that “development in established neighbourhoods will respect and reinforce the existing physical character…including in particular…c) prevailing heights, massing, scale, density…of nearby residential properties.”

The proposal would create lots that are over 40 percent smaller than what is permitted by the Zoning By-law and does not reflect the predominant lot frontage of the immediate or broader neighbourhood, where the majority of lots are 50 feet or wider.

Any of the existing few smaller lots, in the immediate neighbourhood, feature housing that is of a scale that complements, not overpowers, its neighbours and adds to the cadence of the street.

The proposed housing will be massive in scale relative to others on Elton Crescent, with a floor space index twice that which is permitted by the Zoning Bylaw. The reduced side yard setbacks and the reduced eaves setbacks will contribute to the sense of crowding relative to the adjacent properties, impacting privacy, views, and green space.

Increased likelihood of future extreme weather events

The large proportion of hard surfaces on the lots would add a burden to the aging stormwater system, which is already frequently overwhelmed by heavy rains. It would also eliminate space for the trees, which help give Long Branch its distinctive character and also serve as part of a tree canopy, which City of Toronto research indicates has a strongly positive impact, quantifiable in economic terms.

Recent news reports – for example, a Sept. 17, 2016 CBC article entitled “Facing the Change: Toronto grapples with the effects of extreme weather” – have highlighted the major threat that climate change poses regarding damage to existing infrastructure at the City of Toronto. The trend toward major (in my understanding of what “major” means) extreme weather events, such as occurred in July 2013, is a matter of urgent concern. The loss of green space, which the proposed development entails, adds to the anticipated future damage in Long Branch associated with extreme weather events.

I am opposed to the Consent and Variance Applications being proposed for 20 Elton Crescent and request that the Applications be denied. Please notify me of the Decision on these files.

Sincerely,

Jaan Pill
etc.

 

1 reply
  1. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    Laura Therrien of Long Branch has also prepared a letter, which reads:

    September 19, 2016
    Committee of Adjustments
    Etobicoke York Panel
    2 Civic Centre Court
    Toronto Ontario M9C 5A3
    Regarding 20 Elton Crescent, Long Branch, Etobicoke
    Reference: B17/16EYK, A175/16EYK, A174/16EYK

    The proposed severance of the property into two residential lots and the requested development of two detached dwellings will have a detrimental impact on the street and the surrounding community.

    This proposal will create lots that are over 40% smaller than what is permitted by the Zoning By-law and does not reflect the predominant lot frontage of the immediate or broader neighbourhood, where the majority of lots are 50’ or wider. The reduced side yard setbacks and the reduced eaves setbacks will contribute to the sense of crowding relative to the adjacent properties, impacting privacy, views and green space.

    I would like to focus on the issue of green space. It is well known that it is not only important, but critical that we take measures to preserve what is left of our green spaces. Our neighbourhood is situated on a migratory path for birds and butterflies that is rapidly becoming less green and more hostile to nature. We have the technology and capability to easily support nature by preserving our existing green spaces, while creating homes for people; as long as we are thoughtful in our planning and give consideration to the needs of these creatures who depend on us for their continued survival.

    Here is a quote from a report prepared for the City of Toronto Planning Division, titled: Migratory Birds in the City of Toronto, a literature review and Data Assessment Final Report. CITY OF TORONTO CONTACT Jane Weninger Senior Planner, Zoning By-Law and Environmental Planning Toronto City Planning Metro Hall, 55 John Street, 22nd Floor Toronto, Ontario, M5V 3C6 Tel: 416 392-0422 Email: jwening@toronto.ca

    “City of Toronto is an annual stopover location for thousands of migratory birds. Seasonal migration is a critical component of many birds’ life cycles, and yet this phenomenon is often overlooked as an important consideration… The diversity and abundance of birds that continue to migrate through Toronto means that the City has a responsibility to support the safe passage of these birds.

    “Since 1990, the Toronto Ornithological Club has maintained a database of bird observations in Toronto and adjacent municipalities. Analysis of these records shows that between 1990 and 2007 more than 67,000 birds of nearly 400 different species have been recorded in the Greater Toronto Area, with nearly half of the species being neo-tropical or temperate migrants. These migratory bird species include 18 species currently designated as Species at Risk in Ontario and/or Canada.

    “A qualitative assessment of the TOC data appears to support the following: Migratory birds using the City of Toronto as a stopover area favour natural areas, particularly those along the lakeshore and associated with the ravine systems. Although the data suggests that migratory birds favour the western portion of the City, this may reflect a bias in the data collection locations rather than a real trend and would require a systematic study across the City to verify.

    “Despite their apparent preference for natural areas, migratory birds will also use smaller patches of habitat as well as places within the urban matrix of the City (e.g., backyards, trees along streets) as stopover locations.

    “Birds that breed on lakeshores and in wetlands are exclusively associated with habitats on the lakeshore and river corridors during migration in Toronto. However, birds that breed in forests use both forest patches and locations (likely treed) in the urban matrix as stopover locations. In addition to the birds, hundreds of thousands of monarch butterflies spend their summers along the shores of Lake Ontario. Humans are the ones who have the most control over what will happen to the monarch butterfly population, and the biggest problem that the monarchs face is the loss of habitat.”

    [End of quotation]

    A quote from the Government of Canada’s Species at Risk Act, Management plan Series Monarch, Management Plan for the Monarch (Danaus plexippus) in Canada – 2014

    “Staging areas are important during migrations to allow the Monarch to feed and deposit fat reserves and to rest at night before resuming their flight (Davis et al., 2012). Fat reserves provide the energy necessary for migration and are also essential for overwintering survival.

    Within staging areas, Monarchs appear to be flexible in terms of roost site selection, with sites often observed in pines, conifers, maples, oaks, pecan and willows (Davis et al., 2012).

    “The Great Lakes pose a significant geographic obstacle to the Monarch during migrations. In the fall, large clusters (or aggregations) of butterflies tend to occur along the shores of Lakes Erie and Lake Ontario, as they rest and feed before embarking on the flight across the water. This makes Southern Ontario a primary management area for the Monarch in Canada.”

    [End of quotation]

    I am opposed to the Consent and Variance Applications being proposed for 20 Elton Crescent and request that the Applications be denied. Please notify me of the Decision on these files.

    Sincerely,
    Laura Lee Therrien
    etc.

    Reply

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