Update on the Condo Development at 1674-1684 Bayview Avenue

A win for the community!

For the past two and half years, SERRA has been working hard to get the best possible development for this site.

The original proposal called for a 9-storey building that we felt represented over-development of the site and serious and potentially precedent-setting encroachment into the adjoining low-rise neighbourhood.

Specifically:

  • The 1674-1684 Bayview Avenue application proposed to insert a Mixed Use building typology onto a site designated entirely Neighbourhood.
  • It was too solid and too tall, and it protruded, in part, above the accepted 45-degree angular plane.
  • We felt that this encroachment might have the potential to set a precedent for further, similar developments involving incursions into established Neighbourhoods.
  • There was inadequate transition to the low-density neighbourhood to the west. As one former SERRA board member said, “It looked like the Queen Mary cruise ship on Bayview.”

We are happy to report that the developer listened to the concerns of both the residents and City Planning staff and presented a new proposal that addressed our major issues.

Here are highlights of the new proposal, passed by City Council on March 9:

  • The two properties at 701 Soudan Avenue and 720 Hillsdale Avenue East are to be removed from the applications for Official Plan Amendment and are to remain designated as Neighbourhoods in the Official Plan.
  • The height of the proposed development is limited to a maximum of 7 storeys and 25.1 metres plus a maximum 4.0 metre mechanical penthouse.
  • On floors three to six of the proposed development, on the Bayview Avenue frontage, the balconies will be recessed and not extend beyond the required setbacks.
  • One or more landscaped planters will be added and maintained on the terraces and balconies on the portions of the west façade of the building that extend beyond the 45-degree angular plane.
  • Additional architectural treatment of the Bayview frontage of the proposed building is to emphasize the existing streetwall character of the Midtown Village character area of Bayview Avenue, to be finalized as part of the site plan approval.


Leading up to the City Council vote, we were part of a very productive working group with our partner residents’ association, the Leaside Property Owners Association (LPOA), and representatives of developer The Brown Group. We were also greatly supported by our Councillor Josh Matlow and the City’s planning staff, especially Giulio Cescato and David Driedger.

We see this as a fine example of collaboration leading to a better result for the community.

Everything had seemed relatively quiet on the 1674-1684 Bayview development application (west side of Bayview between Soudan and Hillsdale Aves) since our last update meeting on May 16, 2016 at Hodgson Senior Public School, attended by the developer (The Brown Group), the City planner, Councillor Josh Matlow, SERRA, and the community.

That meeting saw the developer incorporating many of the community’s recommendations:

1) lower height (from 9 to 7 storeys),
2) fewer units,
3) fewer parking spots,
4) a revamped and more attractive, neighbourhood-friendly architectural design, and
5) improved setbacks especially at higher levels (which make the upper levels of the building appear less prominent).

Despite the changes to the proposed development, the City planning department announced that they felt unable to make a decision on the application until they completed a comprehensive review of the whole of Bayview Avenue. This initiative is part of the Yonge-Eglinton Secondary Plan update and will not be available until later in 2017. They also reserved judgment because the development seems to encroach too far into the neighbourhood, and such encroachment may set a precedent for future developments along Bayview – and other areas of the SERRA neighbourhood.

The developer has the right to appeal the application to the OMB (Ontario Municipal Board), if the City/Council fails to make a decision on an application within a reasonable time. This occurred shortly after the May 16, 2016 meeting.

Early this January we received a notice of an upcoming OMB hearing for this development for March 1, 2017, with the developer proposing a very similar application to the much improved 7-storey proposal presented “without prejudice” on May 16, 2016. However, the City planning department at a City Council meeting this week formally opposed the application (for much the same reasons as we heard last May) and asked for the Council`s support, which they received (as well as the support from SERRA and the Leaside Property Owners Association). At the Council meeting SERRA stressed that we appreciated the willingness and flexibility the developer had shown. We definitely do not want to lose the improvements introduced to the original proposal.

Our concern now is that the developer might revert to the original 9-storey proposal, fought at a long OMB hearing with an uncertain outcome.

We trust that our Councillor, Josh Matlow, and the City planning department will ensure that the changes we all endorsed of a less dense, more attractive and a lower development, as well as protection from neighbourhood encroachment, will be protected at the OMB.

For the SERRA letter of support for  the City Planning position click here: http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2017/te/comm/communicationfile-67181.pdf

For the City Planning`s Request for Direction Report opposing the application click here: http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2017.TE21.6