18 Brownlow – Making progress but the fight continues ….

November 2017 Update with pictures included at the end of the update below:

It’s hard to believe, but this development has been at the OMB for more than TWO years now and we aren’t even at a stage yet of a full Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) hearing, where both sides put forth their arguments about “good development” (now scheduled for May, 2018). Instead it has been about procedural issues of the developer NOT complying with city planning regulations that are not appealable to the OMB, such as providing on-site parkland dedication.

We have a new twist with the developer submitting a formal revision to his plans to develop only one half of the properties he acquired (excluding the six semis on Soudan closest to Brownlow). He is also no longer connecting the revised development to the underground garage of the 18 Brownlow and 83 Redpath towers.The win for us is in the form of a drastic reduction in the number of units (from 463 to 176), a big reduction in underground parking spots, an appropriate setback of the development from Soudan and Redpath (but NOT appropriate from the 83 Redpath townhouses), a lower podium (the lower part of the tower) that presents as townhouses (similar to the 83 Redpath townhouses) and a small parkette at the North East corner of Redpath and Soudan (10% of the lots being developed). However, the proposal is still too tall (24 storeys) and lacks adequate setback to the Redpath townhouses.

Our “win” might be short lived, since we are concerned about future development plans for the remaining 6 semis that till now had been part of the development plans. We have a sense that this “revision” is just a tactic in achieving the same original development, but in stages that also ensure the developer does not have to devote as much of his site to parkland dedication.

There is another pre-hearing scheduled for early December when we should receive further insight into the developer’s plans for the total site. The issues list that we formally submitted earlier to the OMB will stand.

New planning blueprint for our area – Midtown in Focus (MIF): Revision of the Y-E Secondary Plan. Now maximum 14 storey heights on Soudan, east of Redpath.

You might be aware that, since 2015, city planning has been working on a revision of the Y-E Secondary Plan. It’s a major undertaking, but a comprehensive and detailed draft has now been completed. City planning has now assigned specific heights for all locations in the Y-E area, where towers are allowed. On Soudan, east of Redpath, the permitted height will be 14 storeys and only 1 tower/block. That’s a tremendous boost for our cause, even though the report won’t be formally completed till Q2/2018 and existing applications might be “grandfathered” by the OMB. City Council has stated that effective Nov. 15, 2017 all current and future applications will be reviewed against this new Y-E planning blueprint. What will need to be determined is whether the OMB agrees with this City Council position.

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We need your input today!  Email SURVEY

Do you support the position (YES or NO ) that development at the 18 Brownlow site should be limited to one tower with a maximum of 14-storeys – as stated in the latest city planning blueprint, called Midtown in Focus of November 15, 2017?

Reply with an email to notobrownlow@gmail.com   -please add a YES or NO in the subject field of your email and include your comments.

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New development on Soudan block between Brownlow and Mt. Pleasant Rd.

We have an 18 Brownlow lookalike proposed development (700 Mt. Pleasant) with an application submitted on Nov. 3, 2017 by the Briton House (corner of Mt. Pleasant and Soudan) for a massive expansion of their retirement home with yet another 25-storey tower, including a massive 7-storey podium. The issues are familiar: too tall, too dense, lack of setback from the streets, lack of transition to surrounding buildings, zero transition to the neighbourhood on the south side of Soudan and no parkland dedication.

At least the new city planning blueprint calls for a max 14-storey development (including a 3-4-storey podium), and our neighbourhood is now well organized to oppose massive projects like this new proposal.

Development in the Soudan neighbourhood – now shifting to east of Redpath.

Development applications for the Soudan apartment neighbourhood west of Redpath are more or less complete with a recent application for a 36-storey building at 2161 Yonge (the former TD Insurance building at Soudan/Yonge corner). However, construction will be ongoing for many years.

Development seems now to be shifting to the area east of Redpath with the early applications of 167-173 Eglinton East (34 storeys under construction at Redpath and Eglinton), the 18 Brownlow application and now the 700 Mt. Pleasant application.

However, the new city planning blueprint has recognized the existence of the Eglinton Public School and specified heights for new developments close to the Mt. Pleasant LRT station – more in keeping with the 83 Redpath height (approx. 20 storeys). There are also improved setbacks for towers from the school property of 12.5 m. If this setback requirement had been in place when the tower adjacent to the John Fisher School was planned, it would never have been approved.

We will provide a further community update on 18 Brownlow after the next OMB meeting.

Andy Gort,
SERRA President

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