One of the missions of the CLRA is to actively engage in addressing development proposals within our neighbourhood or that affect our neighbourhood.
Most recently, the CLRA has been taking the lead along with the Tarragon Village Community Association and the Castle Hill Townhome residents group in objecting to a number of aspects of two proposed 8 storey residential towers being proposed for 555 Davenport Rd. (at Kendal) and 550 Macpherson Ave (at Kendal) which proposes to convert educational use zoning on land that had belonged to George Brown College to residential and construct a high end condominium project. The concerns include the height and density of the two residential towers, setbacks and scale, as well as the heritage status of the building located at the corner of Davenport and Kendal. There are also concerns regarding the loss of the surface parking lots which has to be addressed given the overflow requirements of Casa Loma and our desire to protect the street parking north of the castle for the use of our residents.
These towers at their proposed height of 8 floors would substantially detract from the views from and to Casa Loma and the Casa Loma escarpment which are protected Official Plan public realm views. Our second submission can be viewed HERE.
Over 30 years ago our residents banded together with other residents and the City to prevent the Goldman Group from building an 8 storey tower on the land southwest of Spadina and Davenport. Instead, negotiations led to the Castle Hill townhouses which is a very attractive development on that site with substantial landscaping and protective of the views of Casa Loma. Given the context of the Castle Hill townhomes we believe the Zinc proposal is a material over development of the two sites.
The CLRA recognizes that the City’s Official Plan is for higher density in its core to address our growing population. We are not objecting to residential buildings intensification on Davenport and Kendall, only to ensuring that the remaining development land is developed in proper context of this unique heritage neighbourhood.
When you read our submission referenced above you will see that we have started working with Terry Mills of ARRIS Planning Consultants who has provided substantial assistance and has a track record of working to support residents’ associations. We have learned that it is critical to provide independent planning perspectives to the City to comment on planning reports submitted by the developers planners and consultants.
Earlier this year, working in collaboration with the ARA (Annex Residents Association) and local residents, we were successful in negotiating a reduction in height from 9 to 8 storeys and an overall height reduction as well as some façade improvements to minimize rail noise reflection as well as aesthetics for the Self Storage building proposed for the northeast corner of Dupont and Bathurst to specifically address the objections raised by residents on Austin Crescent and Lyndhurst Court. We also identified and addressed a number of transportation issues regarding ingress and egress from Bathurst which would affect our residents as well as many others.
All of these projects where we interact with other associations as well as city staff gives us resources and connections for all of our other issues. We have developed a strong reputation at the city and with other associations for our constructive contributions.
The experience we are gaining will help us going forward with the traffic and parking issues at Casa Loma, the traffic congestion on St. Clair and the work needed to complete the Heritage Conservation Study and related designations under the heritage act. Councillor Matlow and his team continue to be extremely helpful and supportive of the CLRA and our constructive contributions to the City planning issues.
The CLRA has learned from Erin Smith, a Heritage Planner at the City, that Heritage Planning has now determined that 555 Davenport meets Ontario Regulation 9/06 criteria prescribed under the Ontario Heritage Act for determining cultural heritage significance. Staff will be recommending to City Council in January that the property be included on the City’s Heritage Register and designated under the Ontario Heritage Act as part of the planning application process.
Please join the CLRA. Membership is $25 per 12-month period. Together we can accomplish so much more than we can as individuals to protect our very special neighbourhood.
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