In the text that follows we refer specifically to the 14 Villa Road application. Residents elsewhere in Toronto will also find this overview useful.
A previous post, based on material from the Long Branch Neighbourhood Association, is entitled:
The latter post included links to two PDF files:
In the current post, we have displayed the contents of the first of the two above-noted PDF files; in a second, separate post we will display the contents of the second of the two above-mentioned posts.
Guide to the Notice
I have received a Notice of a public hearing in the mail. What is it and what does it mean?
This notice is your invitation to have input about decisions being made about your neighbourhood.
If neighbours do not express concerns and the construction requests are approved, the proposed homes, as outlined, will be built.
The Committee making the decision considers silence from the neighbours to mean they support the application. If you have concerns, expressing them to this Committee is the only chance you have to act on them.
Here is helpful background:
The City Council in consultation with the City Planning Department lays out rules and guidelines for construction of buildings and homes in Toronto. These become formalized in Zoning By-laws. The Zoning Bylaws ensure that, in the opinion of our Planning Department, Toronto neighbourhoods remain attractive, habitable, places.
You have received the Notice of Public Hearing because the owner of the property is applying for exemptions to the City’s Zoning Bylaws, which include dividing the lot.
Their application needs to be made to the Committee of Adjustment. The deadline to submit letters is November 2, 2016. The actual meeting is at 5:00 pm on Thursday, November 3, 2016.
The material you have received will include 3 parts:
Public Hearing Notice – Consent: This is notice that the owner of the property is applying to sever or divide the property into two lots, both smaller than is recommended in the city bylaws.
Public Hearing Notice – Minor Variance/Permission: If there is a request for consent/severance, there will be two similar documents that list the exceptions to the City of Toronto Zoning Bylaws that are being requested by the builder. The two properties will be identified as Part 1 and Part 2.
Site Plan: On the Site Plan the two proposed homes will be labelled this way. The drawing will indicate where they are to be located on the property. The drawing should indicate their location in relation to the existing adjacent homes.
What the new home[s] will look like: This information is not generally part of the package. We have provided a rough idea for you in this package, but if you’d like to see more, you can obtain this information [and much more] by going online at the Committee of Adjustment’s Application Information Centre. You can also call or email the planning technician with any questions (contact info provided).
Specific measurements are very important to note as artist renderings in your package may not be to scale.
What do the requests for minor variance mean?
For each variance requested you are given several pieces of information:
- what the City’s 2013 Comprehensive Zoning By-Law supports
- in some cases a different number indicating what the Etobicoke Zoning Code allows*
- what the builder is requesting
* When amalgamation occurred in 1998 the new City of Toronto undertook to create a new Comprehensive Zoning By-law, which attempts to consolidate the regulations of all those individual municipalities to create city wide guidelines. These have not yet been approved and so in some sections both the proposed By-law and the By-law from the old municipality are provided.
Any or all of these variances may be requested:
Minimum required lot area is the square footage of a property. The city bylaw proposes the smallest size lot that can reasonably hold a house.
Minimum required lot frontage is the width of the lot fronting on the street. The city bylaw proposes the narrowest lot size that will maintain an attractive appearance in the neighbourhood.
Minimum front yard setback is the distance of the front of the house from the city property line. This may be a distance back from the sidewalk or curb or some other location on the property.
Maximum height is the measurement to the top peak of a house with a traditional roof. The city bylaw limits the tallest structure that will maintain a consistent and integrated look in a neighbourhood, assure privacy and allow light. Note: Builders often describe their proposed homes as being two storey, but the first floor starts over the garage so they are actually three storey buildings, which is why a height variance is required.
Maximum height for flat roofed dwelling is lower than for a peaked roof. It is important to be aware that if a height variance is requested for a flat roofed house the bulk of the house is even larger, as the top of the house is square shaped rather than triangular as for a traditional house.
Maximum permitted floor space index is a complicated term that refers to the amount of Floor space [excluding basement and garage] that will be on a lot relative to the amount of land it sits on. It basically refers to the mass of the house. The city bylaw proposes the largest mass of house that will maintain an attractive appearance in the neighbourhood.
Maximum first floor height above grade is the height at which the first floor, and the front door, start. The city bylaw limits the height of these in order to maintain continuity of line on the streetscape as well as ensure a sense of community [where neighbours meet ‘eye to ‘eye’].
Minimum required side yard setback is the distance between the side of the house and its property line. The city bylaw proposes the minimum distance that a house should be to its property line [and adjacent homes] to ensure privacy, access and an attractive appearance in the neighbourhood.
Minimum required side yard setback for eaves and other projections is the distance between the edge of eaves and other projection and the property line.
Minimum side yard setback on flanking street [corner lots only] is the distance between the edge of the house and the city property line [which may not be apparent].
Maximum floor area of auxiliary building is the areas of an additional separate structure, usually a garage.
Maximum garage wall height is the height of the wall, not including the roof.
If you prefer a visual representation, a chart [Diagram A] follows below.
Another translation you may need
The information is provided in meters so some may need a calculator to translate. Here is some help.
A metre is 39 inches, or 3.2 feet
A square metre is 10.76 square feet or 1.19 square yards.
[End of text, adapted from materials from Long Branch Neighbourhood Association]
Additional notes, regarding visualizations of proposed buildings
Also of relevance:
Please note: The Photoshop overlay for 9 Meaford (see link immediately above the sentence you are now reading) was criticized by the Chair of the Committee of Adjustment at the Sept. 29, 2016 Committee meeting at the Etobicoke Civic Centre. He said, in so many words, that an amateur rendering of what a new development will look like, when set against a photo of an existing streetscape, will lack credibility because there is no way to know that the measurements match, between the drawings and the photos.
A professional rendering, such as the 3D renderings for 14 Villa Road, is a step toward addressing such a concern.