Long Branch (Ward 3) residents share advice with residents facing lot-split/overbuilding application on Lansdowne Ave (Ward 9) – Part 2

A previous post is entitled:

Long Branch (Ward 3) residents share advice with residents facing lot-split/overbuilding application on Lansdowne Ave (Ward 9)

A related (subsequent) post is entitled:

How to proceed with a media interview, related to a lot-splitting/overbuilding application, in the event you are not experienced at this task

Key points to keep in mind

At the previous post, I’ve shared some key points:

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.

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The two speakers at the current post are Lansdowne Ave. Resident (LAR) and Long Branch Resident (LBR).

On Aug. 6, 2018, LAR (Lansdown Ave. Resident) wrote:

We can accommodate you when it is best for you to visit. We are fine with sooner, whenever that fits into your plans.

It will be great to have experienced eyes look at this situation.

Looking forward to your visit.

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On the same day, LAR (Lansdown Ave. Resident) also wrote:

I just read your attachment about TLAB. OMG!

Sorry needed to do that and thank you for all the work – that must have taken so many people. There actually is hope…

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The resident from Ward 3 visited the Lansdowne Ave. site in Ward 9

LAR from the new Ward 9 and LBR from the new Ward 3 proceeded with their meeting, early in August 2018, on Landsdowne Ave. in Ward 9.

LAR (Lonsdale Ave. Resident) mentioned to LBR (Long Branch Resident) that the developer may be at the site, at the time of LBR’s visit, trying to get some homeowners “to sign a letter of support for some minor corrections. He has been trying for a while now.”

LAR also mentioned that the developer may chose to defer the committee of adjustment meeting.

On Sept. 13, 2018, LAR shared an update:

“Things became fast and furious,” LAR (Lonsdale Ave. Resident) noted. “The COA deferred the decision so there is a bit of a lull.”

“And thank you again so much for putting us in touch with [Long Branch Resident, LBR]. He has been a fantastic source of support and knowledge.”

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On Oct. 16, 2018 LAR shared a further update (please note: I’ve broken longer paragraphs into shorter ones):

Probably the most galling [thing] about all of this is the distinct feeling on our part of the reliance the developer had on our naiveté of the process on every level to slip his development proposal past the COA unchallenged.

Our neighborhood is multi-cultural and working class where no one has much extra time to deal with these sorts of things. Thankfully we do and were able to navigate the city website and read the building plans for the proposal. None of this was easy.

We found the proposal for 710 Lansdowne was a lot split where there would be two three floor semi-detached duplexes built. Each unit of each duplex would be almost as big as our entire house. That amounted to four houses going onto land where there used to be one, all done under minor variances. We would, as the direct neighbors to the north, be dwarfed or as a neighbor put it, crushed.

Highly concerned we contacted the builder. What followed were one or two meetings in which the builder kept asking for our support. We were negotiating with someone with twenty years of experience and a lot of money.

It became clear to us that we were being picked off. He just had to hope that we would weaken and so not have to bother with the rest of the neighborhood. We don’t think he showed the rendering of the proposal to anyone in the neighborhood but us and that was only briefly. It seems that much comes down to one believing that you won’t win so try and get the best deal from the developer that you can.

Appearing before the COA is, on the surface, simple enough. You appear before the committee and tell why you don’t want the development to happen. But the process is far more difficult than that. You have to understand the complexities of the situation and then distill them down to a five minute defense to counter the developer’s hired planning experts, and this from a standing start.

We needed help and found it from both Long Branch and our neighbors. Long Branch, whose expertise we are so grateful for, has been fighting this sort of development for years. They gave us the support and clarity we needed.

Our neighborhood help came from someone who understands our particular area very well. He suggested a petition with a very simple relevant statement, one everyone could understand and would not be nervous signing. We collected 101 signatures opposing the development. With those 101 signatures we asked our councillor to stand with us against the development. She did.

In response the builder asked for a three month deferral from the COA in order to talk with the neighborhood. He was granted his deferral. He emailed us to negotiate again, to ask for our support again. Our position is that we would talk with him only with the neighborhood present. We have not heard from him again and we are two months into his deferral period.

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