Re: Conserving Long Branch – October 2016 Update – David Godley

Hope you have enjoyed the glorious weather we have had this year.

So much needs to be caught up on in Long Branch after being away a couple of weeks that I have not fully unpacked after 10 days!

Application Status

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New Applications

30 38th Street (2) 2 storey singles with central right of way for parking to the rear.

This format is like the 4 and 20 James Street developments. They might not reflect or reinforce neighbourhood character but are a considerable improvement for the streetscape over the 3 storey monstrosities – especially if parking in the front yard of the houses is controlled.

13 Elder (1) 3 storey with flat roof

3 storeys houses are not the prevailing or predominant or most frequently occurring character in the neighbourhood or any micro-neighbourhood in Long Branch. The micro-neighbourhood is defined in Official Plan Amendment 320 (see below in blue).

All 3 storey houses should therefore should be refused by the Committee of Adjustment on advice from the Planning Department. Otherwise the Committee are not carrying out their mandate. A question mark hangs over their qualifications for those supporting such developments on the Committee. I understand that Nathan Muscat will be leaving the Committee. He was the sole person who seemingly understood conservation having planning and legal credentials.

Hopefully he will be replaced by the conservation minded person recommended by the Nomination Committee. In a political move we have previous North York Committee of Adjustment member Ted Edmunds. It is easy to see understand how Willowdale and other parts North York have suffered visually when he regularly asserts, quite wrongly, that aesthetics and precedent are not part of Planning. Fortunately Sara Rogers, the new Secretary Treasurer of the Committee of Adjustment will be providing training for members.

Applications at Thursday 3 November, Committee of Adjustment (Brackets show staff person to whom to send comments)

14 Villa Road, Severance and Variances for 3 storey soldier houses, density from 0.35 to 0.80. Planning recomends refusal (tjames@toronto.ca)

13 Elder Avenue, 3 storey house with secondary suite, density from 0.35 to 0.80. No Planning Report posted yet. (amorra@toronto.ca)

40 37th Street, Severance and variances for 3 storey soldier houses, density 0.35 to 0.69. Planning recommends refusal. (amorra@toronto.ca)

5 Ramsgate, 3 storey soldier houses, density from 0.35 to 0.60. Planning Recommend deferral or refusal (tjames@toornto.ca)

62 30th Street, 3 storey house 0.35 to 0.95 density. No Planning Report posted yet. (nmilros@toronto.ca)

This is probably the biggest day for Long Branch at the Committee of Adjustment in history. Everyone from Long Branch who cares about the community and has time availability is encouraged to attend.

I will be submitting comments on the process on each application in accordance with the attached checklist.

Applications from Thursday 29 September, Committee of Adjustment

20 Elton Crescent, Severance and Variances, 3 storey soldier houses. Refused

5 31st Street, Severances and Variances for soldier houses 0.35 to 0.59 and 0.60 density Approved (final day for appeal 18 Oct)

24 33rd Street, Severance and Variances for soldier houses 0.35 to 0.59 density. Approved (final day for appeal 18 Oct)

9 Meaford Ave, Severance and Variances for soldier houses 0.35 to 0.70 density. Approved (final day for appeal 18 Oct)

This application was incorrectly evaluated by the Planning Department because they used the circulation list (within 60m) as nearby properties.

This makes no sense in urban design terms and is directly contrary to standard practice and OPA 320 which clearly identifies both sides of Meaford as being the block to be analysed as nearby properties.

Policy for Neighbourhood Character Analysis

These principles were not as clear as they could have been in the 2006 Official Plan but were always the intent. They have been clarified in OPA 320 now City Council policy and approved by the Province but appealed to the OMB.

The key point is that the block on both sides of the street is the area for analysis to ensure a flowing rhythm for the street. The nearby policies are defined as “the physical characteristics of the properties in the same block that also face the same side of the street as the development site.”

I was involved in the finalisation of these policies. They were based on a hierarchy of evaluations from the most important being the abutting houses through to the row in which the proposal sits, then the whole street which can be seen clearly from the front of the house and finally the neighbourhood beyond which is the least important.

The first three evaluations were lumped into one and the priority of the block over the rest of the neighbourhood was removed politically against technical advice. I have not had confirmation that they will be following OPA 320 which is a clarification of current Official Plan policies.

OPA 320 as modified in the Ministry approval decision July 4 2016

The physical character of the geographic neighbourhood includes both the characteristics of the entire neighbourhood and the physical characteristics of of the properties which face the same street as the development site in the same block and the block opposite the development site. A proposed development within a Neighbourhood will be materially consistent with the prevailing physical character of both properties which face the same street as the development site in the same block and the block opposite the development site and the entire geographic neighbourhood within which it is located,

Other outstanding Applications

33 42nd Street, Severance and variances

9 38th Street, Severance and variances,

11 32nd Street, 3 storey house 0.35 to 0.72 density

22 33rd Street, Severance and Variances for 3 storey soldier houses, density from 0.35 to 0.58 and 0.61

Last meeting of the year for the Committee of Adjustment for Long Branch is December 8 2016

Ontario Municipal Board Hearings

82 27th Street, hearing not scheduled

80 23rd Street, October 6 postponed sine die [Latin = without day – that is, without any future date being designated (as for resumption)]

2 Ash Crescent, October 17 postponed sine die [without any future date being designated (as for resumption)]

20 Garden Place, November 7

30 36th Street, November 14

All the best to COA Technician Mark Kehler who has been promoted and moving to Scarborough and Anthony Hommik who has been promoted to deal with zoning items in Etobicoke York.

With the appointment of a new planner, Sipo Maphangoh, community Planning are up to full staff.

Len Ford Apartments

Below is an update letter from Neil. Jill tells me the new planner has been assigned to this file to Siro Maphangoh (smaphan@toronto.ca) and the pre-application meeting has been held. Any comments such as introducing the history into the scheme possibly by (1) an interpretation centre or following some architectural design motif from the iconic former hotel and the (2) possibility of a hearing hosted by the developer prior to submission of formal application should be forwarded to the Planner. I also considered some thoughts for consideration shown following the letter.

First letter

Good afternoon David:

I’d like to take this opportunity to update you on the Len Ford Park apartment proposal in response to your recent Conserving Long Branch – September Update.

To-date, an application to redevelop the site has not been submitted to the City. The owner’s planning consultant (Bousfield’s Inc.) has recently contacted City Planning staff to arrange a pre-application meeting. The pre-application meeting has been scheduled for early October. Planning staff understand the owners are proposing to redevelop the site with a mix of condominium and rental apartment buildings. The sensitivities outlined in your correspondence have also been identified by Planning staff. The Official Plan provides strong policy direction regarding rental housing replacement and the redevelopment of Apartment Neighbourhoods designated sites. Should a redevelopment application(s) be submitted, staff will rely on these policies when evaluating the application(s).

For any updates on this matter, please contact Jill Hogan, the Manager of Community Planning for the area. Jill can be reached at 416-394-8219 or jhogan@toronto.ca

Regards,

Neil Cresswell, MCIP, RPP
Director of Community Planning
Etobicoke York District

Second letter

Hi Jill,

I have been mulling the apartment proposal over and have a few more thoughts.

Policy 3.1.1 16(b) promotes street oriented development with buildings fronting on to streets

Policy 3.1.2 1(d) promotes the preservation of existing mature trees

Policy 3.1.2 3(b) promotes transitions of scale

From the limited material available to date it is difficult to understand how mature trees will be affected.

The park dedication may be better in other places possibly further south on Long Branch Avenue, it being the dominant approach boulevarde which should be enhanced.

The current blocks do not take advantage of lake views as in those days the lake was seen as polluted. Very surprising that the new blocks do not either.

The 12 storey blocks do not seem to relate to the neighbourhood in terms of transition of heights and impacts.

I believe the form should be altered to have Long Branch Avenue and Park Blvd completed as streets with a domestic scale.

Higher blocks would be in the inner part and some sort of focus is needed.

My thoughts will make many cringe. If we have to have extra density there could be sleek slim tall extraordinary tower facing Lake Promenade. The road section could be closed to traffic and become a real promenade. In front of the tower would be the pedestrian focus of the development. This would benefit the general public as well as owners and tenants.

Taking advantage of water views and having direct pedestrian link to Len Ford park would substantially improve profitability for the owner and therefore less density would be needed.

I realise there are complications for replacing affordable housing but hopefully this could be wrapped into a more imaginative design.

Regards, David

Environmental lawyer

An Environmental Lawyer has contacted me saying they would help neighbours with legal aspects pro bono ie without charge.

David Godley

I am an independent retired planner who is trying to achieve an equitable planning process.

I have been helping residents in Long Branch and elsewhere with planning issues pro bono since 2006 when my Committee of Adjustment terms were finished.

I am not a member of the Long Branch Neighbourhood Association or for that matter the Lawn Signs group.

Please keep me in touch with anything that you think my 100 or so recipients might wish to know.

Please also let me know if you prefer not to receive Updates.

[Please contact David Godley if you wish to be on his email list; you can find his email elsewhere at this website.]

 

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