Together we can make a difference!
After nearly 3 years and countless hours, we finally reached a settlement for the 18 Brownlow (71 Redpath) development.It was a team effort involving our councillor, Josh Matlow, city planning and legal staff and the community.
After 5 Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) pre-hearings and 2 years, we obtained a number of major concessions from the developer. Throughout all of this we enjoyed Josh’s very active support.
The development was scaled back from two towers and a large podium to one tower only, with a dramatic reduction in units (from 463 to 180) and parking spaces (from 302 to 137).
In addition, we gained the following major concessions:
- A much smaller, standalone garage with its own ramp.
- A three-storey podium at the base of the tower with a more neighbourhood-friendly townhouse design, to integrate more closely with the homes and townhouses along Soudan and Redpath.
- A small park at the northeast corner of Soudan and Redpath, with possibly funding for the design and construction of the space.
- Ample setbacks of the project from the Soudan and Redpath street edge, providing room for plantings.
- Increased space between the townhouses of 83 Redpath and the new tower.
- A reduction in height from 24 to 21 stories, lower than its “twin” at 11 Lillian (under construction) and lower than the 83 Redpath condo tower (the 11 Lillian tower has 19 storeys, but some of the floors have very high ceilings).
We wanted a tower no taller than 14 storeys, but with all the concessions we already negotiated, and after numerous attempts, the city, our team and Josh Matlow were only successful in negotiating a reduction to 21 storeys.
The development had been appealed to the old OMB, which has a reputation to render unpredictable and at times, unfavourable decisions. Both our and the city’s lawyers and planners, advised us to settle to lock in our gains. They explained there were too many recently approved tall towers on Soudan with similar or greater heights that created a negative precedent. Attempting to win further height reductions in a contested OMB hearing would risk losing our concessions and possibly result in restoring the full 24 storeys.
As we were told at the start, at the OMB, no one goes away 100% happy.
Fortunately, these kinds of battles are coming to an end. The abolition of the OMB means that future developments will have to abide by city planning rules. We thank Josh Matlow for his tireless pursuit over many years championing the abolition of the OMB. The end of the OMB was finally proclaimed on April 3, 2018.
That and the nearly completed new city planning blueprint for midtown (Midtown in Focus initiative) should restore a sense of planning control in our neighbourhood.
Now it’s time for a big THANK YOU to all the residents who helped oppose this huge development. It’s the theme of our upcoming SERRA Annual General Meeting: “TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE”. We hope you will join us at our AGM (see the flyer here).
A big THANK YOU for all the donations and for making our yard sale so successful. When the dust settles, we hope there will be some funds left to oppose another potential legacy OMB development at 700 Mt Pleasant Rd, right next door to “18 Brownlow”. Also, not to be forgotten, there remains the vacant portion of the 18 Brownlow site!