The above-noted post shares information of a general nature, on how to prepare for a committee of adjustment or Toronto Local Appeal Body hearing (or a hearing at a similar body outside of Toronto), no matter where you live.
Another post that discusses hearings in general terms is entitled:
I much appreciate messages from site visitors. Often, I am able to share information, and get people in touch with other residents, as a result of such messages.
We have a lot to learn from each other. The kinds of projects we are discussing are often too big for one or even a handful of people to address on our own. There is tremendous value in working together. The Preserved Stories website serves as a communications hub – one among many such resources – where we as residents can learn from each other.
As I’ve mentioned previously, I encourage others to set up their own websites, dedicated to sharing evidence-based, balanced, community-oriented information.
It’s a great idea to touch base with other people, when preparing for a committee of adjustment hearing, and for the Toronto Local Appeal Body (TLAB).
An appeal at the TLAB (or a similar appeal board outside of Toronto) is often the next step after a committee of adjustment hearing. When you’re preparing for a committee of adjustment hearing, it’s also a good idea to start getting to know what will be required, in order to most effectively communicate your message, at a TLAB hearing.
Still another kind of case, that residents may have to prepare for, in the event a TLAB hearing goes in their favour, is a hearing at the Ontario Divisional Court. Residents who were successful at two recent TLAB hearings, one in Long Branch and another in Mimico, are awaiting, with much interest, the outcome of two Divisional Court appeals (initiated in each case by developers whom residents would characterize as intent on lot-splitting/overbuilding) of the two TLAB decisions at issue. At the current post, I will not be addressing themes related to Divisional Court hearings.
It’s highly advisable to become familiar, as soon as you can, with how TLAB hearings work
Preparing for the Toronto Local Appeal Body hearings requires a lot of work. The work involved is well worth it!
The Toronto Local Appeal Body (TLAB) website has extensive information on the Rules and Procedures. Residents need to be up to speed on all of the steps.
If you need help in getting up to speed, please contact me as soon as possible. I can help to find people who may have time to offer guidance – on the many steps, that must of necessity be completed, when you are involved with a TLAB (or similar) hearing.
In my experience, writing of letters is a vital task – but petitions can also work well!
It sometimes is more effective for people to write letters, than to simply sign a petition, when dealing with a land-use application.
Once you’re at the TLAB stage in particular, however, 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.
A case where, some years ago, neighbours across the street in Long Branch 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. The case involved a street where I used to live. I’ve written about that case in the past. It was an exceptional case.
Some exceptional things have happened, during the 21 years we lived in Long Branch. That was one of them.
Based on what I’ve learned through my anecdotal observation of lot-splitting/overbuilding proposals, the best strategy, when faced with such an application on your street, 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.
Case study involving Lansdowne Ave. in Toronto
In this post I refer to a lot-split/overbuilding application. I use that term to distinguish from a lot-split application that does not involve overbuilding. A lot split that results in buildings that fit in with the existing character of a neighbourhood are in a separate category from lot splits that entail “overbuilding,” as defined in quantitative and qualitative terms. By quantitative terms I refer to the picture that emerges from data analysis. By qualitative terms I refer to the response that you feel when you are walking down the street and encounter a particular streetscape.
The message that I wrote above elaborates a message in wrote to a site visitor- whom we’ll call Lansdowne Ave. Resident (LAR) – in August 2018, who contacted me regarding a severance/overbuilding application on Lansdowne Ave. in Toronto.
Below is part of an additional message, from another resident than myself – a resident we’ll identify, for the current purposes, as Long Branch Resident (LBR) – concerned with a lot application on Lansdowne Ave. in Toronto. Lansdowne Ave. is far away from Long Branch yet, in many ways, both neighbourhoods face similar challenges.
LBR has noted that it’s is essential to attend a committee of adjustment, if you have an objection to a given variance application. You may have to wait several hours.
LBR has added:
You only have five minutes 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 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?
Response from Lansdowne Ave. Resident (LAR)
LAR has noted 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, LAR notes, will be the second narrowest lots on the street. The narrower lots have petite two storey 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, LAR adds, 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 Ana Bailão [Ward  Davenport].
I will send the petition to Ana and ask for her support.
The name of the developer, LAR has noted, is Doug Perry, the ownership of the property is under his sister’s name Judith Perry-Brinkert, and the agent who would 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.”
Background concerning the Lansdowne application
LAR wrote to me, in a message dated Aug. 4, 2018; an excerpt from the message reads:
Thank you for replying.
Yes, a new development is going in next door to the south. It is 710 Lansdowne Avenue. The developer wants to sever the property into two, add a third floor and add to the front and back. There would be 2 apartments in each house, resulting in what are actually 4 houses that used to be on a one house property. Each apartment would be bigger than most of the houses in the area.
We are to the north of the development and so most impacted. The resulting huge wall would plunge us into gloom and probably turn our backyard into a pizza oven. We will probably lose our garden. There is nothing the developer can offer us in a negotiation that would change that.
So we have decided to oppose the development.
We are getting a petition together. The community is too diverse to form an actual group; languages etc.
[End of excerpt]
Response from LR (who also shared some files; please see below)
Help is at hand.
Regarding the case, LR (that is, a Long Branch Resident) wrote:
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 committee of adjustment 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 opposition.
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.
The second resident has shared the following files (they were in Word; I have converted them to PDF, for ease of online access)