During the 21 years that I have lived in Long Branch with my family, I have learned many things.
That is evident, as I’ve noted at the Preserved Stories website, when you assess the level of satisfaction among residents, with regard to land-use planning in their respective neighbourhoods.
My sense is that a dismal culture of land-use planning has taken hold particularly in Long Branch, the result of local history and market pressures, that are unique to this very desirable lakeside community.
Even in the midst of problems, however, I see much that is positive. For example, my recent interviews, with local residents Sandy Donald and Ron Jamieson, have enabled me to see what is possible, by way of actually making sense of things, with regard to land-use planning in Long Branch.
Along with interviews with residents, I also attended a May 24, 2018 meeting of the Etobicoke York Committee of Adjustment, and was pleased to learn that the Long Branch Character Guidelines actually came up for discussion. At the meeting, I was particularly interested in deliberations regarding 11 Shamrock Ave. (severance refused).
“I think many of the severances and applications that we had proposed here today,” a member of the committee said by way of conclusion regarding 11 Shamrock, “are very clearly in a mixed neighbourhood. I don’t see the same with Shamrock. I don’t think they’re in keeping with the neighbourhood, so it doesn’t meet that criteria and so I’m going to recommend refusal of the application.”
In a phone interview, Sandy Donald told me about two recent decisions by the Toronto Local Appeal Body (TLAB). The cases involved 38 Thirty Sixth St. (severance refused) and 9 Thirty Eighth St. (severance granted [PLEASE NOTE, the decision has since been REVISED, meaning that the severance has since been REFUSED] ). The two cases were in large respects similar, according to residents – yet gave rise to vastly different decisions.
Both decisions make fleeting references to the Long Branch Character Guidelines which were unanimously passed, with attendant fanfare, by Toronto Council on Jan. 31, 2018. Judging from the above-noted decisions, it’s highly unlikely that the Guidelines will factor into TLAB decisions at any time soon.
In a subsequent article, I’ll share insights from Ron Jamieson, who along with Sandy Donald has enabled me to get a much better grasp, than would otherwise be the case, of how land-use decisions are actually made in Long Branch.
Above-noted text was prepared for an Etobicoke Guardian opinion article, published on July 19, 2018
A July 19, 2018 Etobicoke Guardian article is entitled “Long Branch residents ponder lot-splitting proposals they feel are arbitrary: ‘The culture of decision making is decidedly more coherent and robust in Mississauga than it is in Toronto,’ writes Jaan Pill.”