How to prepare for a lot-split/overbuilding application, at the Committee of Adjustment and the Toronto Local Appeal Body

I am pleased that from time to time, people across Ontario visit this website, when they are facing local Committee of Adjustment proposals that would, if passed, have a direct and deleterious impact on their quality of life.

I am pleased that, by way of sharing information of this nature, this website can be of service to fellow residents elsewhere.

A post that is a good starting point for gathering information, related to Committees of Adjustment, is the following one:

Committee of Adjustment and Toronto Local Appeal Body (and similar appeal boards elsewhere)

Below are some excerpts from recent emails, from a couple of people, offering some detailed advice.

Jaan Pill recently wrote (by way of email to a site visitor):

Yes, I do give advice, for whatever value it may have.

I’ve outlined things at a number of posts; a good overview is available here:

Committee of Adjustment and Toronto Local Appeal Body (and similar appeal boards elsewhere)

Where do you live? Are you facing a severance application close to you just now? If you would like to share details, I can offer reflections regarding the choices that are before you.

My most recent opinion article, for the Etobicoke Guardian, provides some background:

Local resident Ron Jamieson, with a strong background in data analysis, outlines emerging trends in land-use decision making in Long Branch

In a later email, Jaan added:

I would say that your best bet is to get in touch with [three specified individuals in Long Branch].

They would be good people for you to touch base with, in preparing for the Committee of Adjustment hearing, and for the Toronto Local Appeal Body (TLAB) hearing that will likely be the next step after the Committee of Adjustment hearing.

I have copied them on this email.

Preparing for the TLAB requires a lot of work. The work involved is well worth it. The TLAB website has extensive information on the Rules and Procedures. Residents need to be up to speed on all of the steps.

It sometimes is more effective for people to write letters, than to simply sign a petition. Petitions are widely used and do serve a useful purpose. Once you’re at the TLAB stage, in particular, individual letters are more important than names on a petition. It takes more work to write a good letter, than to sign a name. The people who assess such things are aware of that.

I would say the important thing is to focus on the challenge that you are facing, and do the best you possibly can, despite the obstacles and challenges that you may face.

I am really pleased you have checked out my website. That is a way that I can help – by sharing information.

The case where neighbours across the street negotiated to buy a property from a developer who wanted to perform a lot-split was an exceptional case. That’s not about to happen very often.

Based on what I’ve learned through my anecdotal observation of lot-splitting / overbuilding proposals, I think the best strategy is to face the current situation, that is before you — and stay in the present moment. I would not spend a lot of time, that is, on trying to predict the future.

The fight against a lot-split proposal is well worth all of the energy that is put into it. Going in, we never know whether we will win or lose.

When we do put up a good fight, however, we increase the probability that things will go the way that residents desire. Without such an effort, the developer wins, hands down.

[End]

A resident of Long Branch (Resident No. 1, by way of I.D.) recently added, by way of email to a site visitor:

I note your hearing is Aug 15.

It is essential to attend if you have an objection. You may have to wait several hours.

You only have 5 mins to speak. The more people who attend the better. If next door owners are there that is best as they are the ones most affected.

With a doubling of the density from 0.6 to over double this is huge increase in the mass affecting sunlight sky views and privacy. The lots on the street seem to be as the proposal. Are the buildings taller than others on the street? Are any trees to be axed?

The first thing I suggest is ensure you meet with the planner concerned who will write the City Planning report. Go through every variance and have explained what the impact is. Ask about the 4 tests that must be met for variances and Official Plan policies. The Planner’s name can be found on the Applications Information Website through the file technician. The sooner you act the better. Letters are better than petition as Jaan says.

The process may seem simple but it is complex. Can you get a letter from your Councillor to oppose this?

[End]

Response from resident from outside Long Branch

The resident notes that, “The impact on our property will be enormous but other than the petition we probably stand alone at council to oppose. It is a mixed working class neighborhood where people can not take time off work to attend; many don’t speak English, some are scared, most are resigned.”

To date there are 37 names on the petition. Most are single homeowners.

“The proposed lots,” the resident notes, “will be the second narrowest lots on the street. The narrower lots have petite two story homes on them.”

“The proposed houses will be the only full three storey structures on the street. They will look like an out of place tooth sticking up. There is one other building that is 4 story but up by Dupont in the next block.”

The latter is “next to a medium sized condo and a men’s shelter and so don’t look so out of place.”

“The trees went as soon as the developer took possession last year. We all thought he had a permit.

“After reading Jaan’s information I asked the councillor’s office about having access to the planner and his/her report.”

The local councillor is Councillor Ana Bailão [Ward [9] Davenport].

“I will send the petition to Ana and ask for her support on Tuesday.”

The name of the developer, the resident notes, is Doug Perry, the ownership of the property is under his sister’s name Judith Perry-Brinkert, and the agent who will be at the Aug 15, 2018 meeting representing him is Janice Robinson. She is affiliated with the Goldberg Group: http://goldberggroup.ca

The resident refers to a Globe and Mail article published Oct. 1, 2010 and updated April 30, 2018, with the founder Micheal Goldberg; the article is entitled: “Question and Answer: Michael Goldberg.”

[End]

Response from Resident No. 1 (who also shared some files; please see below)

Help is at hand.

The recent decision by TLAB should make your journey through the planning process much better.

I am forwarding separately what I sent to Councillors.

Attached are some points to show that what we call soldier houses are not harmonious.

What might seem like a relatively simple set of applications are in fact incredibly complex as you will see form TLAB’s decision.

It takes a year for a person new to the system (and most are) to get up to speed. I learn something new almost every day.

Your area is more dense than Long Branch so I would need to have a site visit to see how bad the impacts are.

I would be willing to wend my way to Lansdowne outside rush hour and really the sooner the better for you.

You can check online to see who the COA technician is and they can tell you the planner’s name.

At least try to get to them as soon as possible to let them know there is oppostion.

It might be helpful to show on a map with red dots (danger) which house owners/tenants oppose when approaching Ana and her staff.

Attendance at the hearing will be essential and may take hours.

Resident No. 1 shared the following files (they were in Word; I have converted them to PDF, for ease of online access)

oppolicy

refusals

tlabsoldiers

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