The following message was sent to us by the South Forest Hill Residents’ Association on March 27, 2018. Their message has great relevance to the Casa Loma Residents Association given the risk of inappropriate development in our neighbourhood.
A GREAT COMMUNITY EFFORT
The South Forest Hill Residents’ Association (SFHRA) is pleased to report that a mediated settlement has been reached for the development at 390-398 Spadina Road. This is the property that formerly included Bonanza Video and The Village Idiot at the corner of Spadina Road and Montclair. It passed City Council unanimously today.
Due to the rules of mediation, in which SFHRA was an official participant, we were restricted from providing detailed updates until after the process was concluded.
It is important to note that the compromise, which was reached after countless hours of mediation, negotiation and meetings, is a tribute to our devoted and skillful lawyer Johanna Shapira and the community effort led by SFHRA. Ms Shapira’s contributions were consistently professional and above and beyond the call of duty. Without her participation, we would have not been successful.
The original proposal was for a nine-storey, monolithic, block building with 46 units. The negotiated settlement we achieved is a six-storey building with a four-storey podium, a mechanical room on the roof, and a maximum of 34 units. The two upper floors and the mechanical room will be setback so that they will not be seen from Spadina. The mass of the podium is not ideal, but it has been designed to fit harmoniously with the heritage building beside it. The ground floor will contain at least two commercial units.
The overall result has been hailed as an enormous achievement by both the Councillors involved, Joe Mihevc and Josh Matlow – whom we thank for their skillful navigation and leadership.
During the whole process, SFHRA needed to balance its views of what was desirable against what was feasible. Despite generous contributions from within our community, we were seriously underfunded for formal opposition to the developer’s proposal. A rejection of a compromise at mediation would have meant a full OMB hearing. Any hopes for success in that venue would have required SFHRA to establish a budget in the hundreds of thousands of dollars for lawyers, planners and other experts. Furthermore, success at the OMB, historically, has resided with the Developer.
As a result of Ms. Shapira’s unstinting hard work and ability to work closely with the City staff, we were able to circumscribe the proposals of the developer that crossed “red lines”. At mediation, we were able to achieve a development where: the low-scale character of Forest Hill Village was respected, the precedent acceptable and, after a decade of derelict storefronts, an improved streetscape consistent with the neighbourhood.
Thank you to all – most especially to our amazing lawyer, Johanna Shapira of Wood Bull LLP and our generous donors.
We should also note, Councillor Mihevc obtained a commitment for a substantial Section 37 donation to the community by the Applicants. The SFHRA will play a key role in the process of deciding its allocation.
Further details on the settlement and answers to questions will be provided at a:
April 12th, 2018, at 7 p.m.
Grace-on-the-Hill (300 Lonsdale Road)
The April 12th meeting will also be an opportunity to start the discussion of where people would like to see the Section 37 monies, even though the money will not flow until the development has started.
A final point of business for the Community meeting will be to consider the future of SFHRA and, perhaps, elect an SFHRA Executive. Further information on this agenda will be circulated before the meeting.
Please join us for the Community Meeting hosted by Councillor Joe Mihevc for an opportunity to learn more about our community, to celebrate our achievement, to thank our lawyer, Councillors, the amazing hard-working City staff and to elect an SFHRA Executive.