I have been following with interest some local news updates, concerning a recent Etobicoke York Committee of Adjustment decision regarding 27 Thirty Ninth St. in Long Branch.
Ron Jamieson has noted, by way of sharing highlights of recent land-use planning events:
I read the Planning memorandum for 27 Thirty Ninth, and the original, dated December 27, 2017 (posted to the COA site January 5, 2018), expressed opposition to the proposal and recommended deferral for community consultation.
It cited FSI and height as specific concerns and commented that, despite requests to modify the design, the builder had not made sufficient change to enable the homes to reflect and reinforce the neighbourhood character and conform to the Bylaws and OP.
At the hearing, the COA made reference to a revised Planning Memorandum that was dated July 23, 2018 and posted to the COA website on August 2nd. I searched the COA website for this disclosure while I was at the hearing and it was not posted – i.e., publicly available – until AFTER the hearing.
The revised report, which I have attached, offered no objection, although the plans had not substantially changed from what was submitted previously. The memo indicates variances were reduced for height and setback and that the FSI of one house had been reduced from 0.68 to 0.66 while the other remained at 0.68.
This does not sound like sufficient change to support a 180 degree change in opinion.
I have 4 concerns.
- First, the revised Planning report does not indicate what caused the planner to change her recommendation.
- Second, the report was prepared in ample time for the COA to have posted in advance of the meeting. It was not.
- Third, the use, by the COA, of such a memo at the hearing defies the principles of disclosure and transparency that are part of obtaining a fair hearing.
- The revised plans that the planner accepted in her July 23rd memo were not made publicly available.
The reports to which Ron Jamieson refers are as follows:
Outrageous that a planning document was posted as late as it was
A resident has commented that it’s outrageous that the planning document was posted as late as it was. It was also noted that, if a member of the committee comments that residents can engage with planning staff, residents need to have such a planning document well in advance.
A member of the committee had asked a resident, during the recent hearing, if she had reviewed the planning document. The resident had replied she has reviewed it “briefly” because she wasn’t sure what was the actual latest document. The committee website, she added, is so awkward and she didn’t have time to open everything.
Another resident noted that the Application Information Centre does include the date posted. However, it frequently does not include the date a given document was originally written or sent.
A third resident had looked at the committee website late in the evening before the hearing and at that time only the January 2018 Planning report was in place. “That is unacceptable,” the resident has noted.