SERRA has officially formed a Party at the OMB to oppose the proposed development at 18 Brownlow Ave.
by Andy Gort
Photos by Larry Nicols
Our goal is to try to achieve a development of at most a modest mid-rise in height and density, the implementation of a 10-metre green strip along Soudan Ave. and the preservation of a low-rise transition to the south from the 75-81 Redpath townhouses.
Some 10 engaged residents made an appearance at the OMB on Oct. 17 to voice their objections to the “huge” (as Donald Trump would say) proposed development. We were also there to support the City, which has already ruled against this monster proposal.
The intent of a pre-hearing is to organize how the appeal will be conducted with the registration of groups and individuals who want to appear, the establishment of hearing length and dates, the exchange/consolidation of issues lists, and decision regarding the possibility of an attempt to mediate the dispute.
Four “Parties” registered – the developer, the City, the TSCC 2120 Condo Corporation (on behalf of 83 and 75-81 Redpath), and the SERRA-led neighbourhood group. No individual “Participants” registered. SERRA and the TSCC 2120 condo group have been closely working together, but the condo group has some unique “shared infrastructure” issues (shared garage, ramp, etc.) to resolve. All but SERRA were represented by legal counsel (but that didn’t prevent spokesperson, SERRA president Andy Gort, from representing our positions at the pre-hearing).
Perhaps unsurprisingly, neither the City nor the developer appeared even remotely interested in mediating the conflict (probably because the developer realizes how far apart we are), so the appeal will move first to another pre-hearing on February 9, 2017 (lasting up to two days) and then to a full hearing, starting on July 31 for up to nine business days.
SERRA also raised the issue to the OMB chair that the 10-metre Soudan green strip for this property has already been appealed to the OMB by the developer as part of a larger suit by some 25 developers, all of whom are fighting the new regulation of green strips in the Yonge-Eglinton area (OMB case PL150678).
We argued there was little sense in proceeding with this OMB case till that matter is cleared up. The chair seemed to agree, and if I understand correctly, the City lawyer (Stephen Bradley) and the developer’s lawyer (Patrick Devine), will look for a way to consolidate this issue with the 18 Brownlow development appeal, so it is not part of two appeals. We asked to receive all documents related to legal communications between the lawyers.
We will exchange issues lists and consolidate all issues at the next pre-hearing. We have already exchanged SERRA’s issues list (18-brownlow-omb-oct-17-2016-serra-issues-list-final) with all the Parties, but do now have an opportunity to make changes or additions before the next pre-hearing date.
We are working with a professional planner, who reviewed and gave his blessing to our issues list, which Andy Gort, Terry Mills (himself a professional planner) and Jane Auster had worked on.
Now that we understand how the appeal will be conducted, it is clear that our next priority is to retain a lawyer, knowledgeable with planning and development issues (municipal law) and experienced at navigating OMB hearings. The next pre-hearing will involve wrangling over what issues will be entered at the hearing, and having our own legal representation will be necessary.
We should now be able to prepare a more realistic estimate of our total costs and assess how to secure our funding.
On behalf of the “SERRA Part – 18 Brownlow” group
Andy Gort, president, SERRA