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