109OZ in Context
Ossington Community Association July 2012 This is a work in progress. OCA does not purport to expertise in the law or planning, and all claims made in this document are “to the best of our knowledge”. OCA is grateful for notification of any factual errors or interpretive implausibilities.
What’s the nutshell story?
• • Every existing building on Ossington is Lowrise.
– Lowrise means 4 stories or less; Midrise means 5 to 10 stories.
There should be only Lowrise on Ossington.
– Lowrise is part of why Ossington is an evening and nightlife destination. Midrise would suck the life out of the Ossington Strip, just as it has sucked the life out of College and Palmerston. – And Lowrise is key to Ossington buildings having a good interface with the Neighbourhood. Midrise would destabilize the Neighbourhood: its intrusive presence goes beyond height, for engineering reasons that are inseparable consequences of height.
A developer has applied to build “109OZ”, an 82 foot tall Midrise building with retail space for a chain store on one-third of the block just south of Golden Turtle.
– This proposal is even more intrusive than typical Midrise: it fills out a huge volume with prominences and balconies, markets a party lifestyle to 100 residents with 80 balconies east and west up as much as 70 feet, routes 70 cars across kids walking to school, and overlooks as many as twenty house lots, half of which back directly on to it.
The laws do not support Midrise on Ossington.
– The Official Plan specifically directs Midrise to the Avenues: Queen East, College, King West, Dundas, and Bloor West are Avenues: Ossington is not an Avenue. – The applicant’s argument that Midrise is OK on Lowrise Ossington because Ossington is “like” an Avenue undermines the very foundation of the Official Plan. – The Official Plan’s call for growth can be met through Lowrise development on Ossington. – The Official Plan promises protection to Neighbourhoods. In our view, these safeguards legally require keeping midrise off of the Ossington Strip.
And so the OCA calls on Councillor Layton to vote now, always, and only for Lowrise on the Ossington Strip to protect the basic framework of the Official Plan, to protect against destabilization the local business, residential, and school communities, and to work with the community and developers to guarantee a more enjoyable Ossington Strip for the Neighbourhood and all of Toronto.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
• BASIC FACTS AND IMPACT • THE APPLICANT AND ITS HISTORY IN THIS AREA • THE PROCEDURAL STATUS OF THE “109OZ” PROPOSAL • THE OFFICIAL PLAN: GROW, BUT PROTECT • STRATEGY: HOW TO KEEP OSSINGTON LOWRISE AND WIN
BASIC FACTS AND IMPACT
What is 109OZ?
• A proposed condominium structure • Site: 103, 109–11 Ossington Avenue • Ossington Strip, east side, about 50m south of the light at Argyle • Between Hollywood Foods and Böhmer • The lot is 46m wide and 41m deep
How big is the proposed building?
• 82 feet high, 150 feet wide, 108 feet deep (counting the balconies) • Retail on the ground floor, five levels of condos, and a “mechanical penthouse” on top = HVAC unit • Not counting the HVAC unit, the building is 70 feet high • Not exactly a cube:
– The sixth story is slightly set back on the street side, though its balconies reach forward to the proposed property line – The top half of the sixth story is set back by about ten feet on the laneway side – The laneway façade recedes at the edges
• Still, not that far off.
What does that mean?
• Consider the three-story building to the north, housing Hollywood Foods, Frantic City Books, and the Golden Turtle • That building is about 33 feet high, 50 feet wide, and 68 feet deep (half of the lot) • So — ignoring the HVAC unit — the proposal is more than twice as tall, three times as wide, and almost 1.6 times as deep. • So the proposal has over nine times as much volume as the biggest building on its block.
But it doesn’t look huge in those pictures!
• Well, it is huge. Here is OCA’s artist conception based on plans, zoning maps, and photos of the block if the proposal is built as proposed:
Proposed true height
Ossington side view
Golden Turtle height: three stories
Böhmer height: one story
Proposed true height
View from G-S School side
Lowrise limit Typical-sized house
Two story high blank brick wall
View walking north on Ossington
66 feet to go!
View from Argyle looking south
A setback! … by 10 feet, at 66 feet up
Balconies = negative setback
Balcony life up 3X the height of a house
… wait, did I read that right?
“Lands conveyed to the City for a nominal sum for road widening purposes”??? “LINE OF PROPERTY WITH 1M CONVEYANCE FOR ROAD WIDENING”?????
Ya mean they’re gonna widen Ossington???
• Ohoho, not exactly … • Part of the “intricate” legal position on which this proposal rests on is the applicant’s offer to the City to pull the building one meter back from the sidewalk “for road widening purposes” • We explain more below
What are the units like?
• 86 units, the median unit 720 square feet • Most units are about 11’9” wide and have only one window • 70 units are only 1BR • In the 2BR units, one of the ‘bedrooms’ is more like a partitioned-off space that receives light through a glass scrim over 30 feet from the window
How much do the units cost?
• The median apartment costs $412K • Going by the figures we have available, they are $574 per square foot. • At that rate, the typical 1800 sf house in the neighbourhood would go for over $1,030,000 — and for that you get a yard and no $500 monthly condo fee.
Do the units increase affordable housing?
• • So the applicant has often claimed. But:
– It should be asked whether in four years, the buyer who needs more than 720 sf will be able to recover that investment: especially if the selling point for these condos, the Ossington Strip vibe, has been significantly degraded in their creation. – The condos are expensive:
• • • At 3.5% on a 3-year mortgage with 25 year amortization, the cost of mortgage + condo fee on the median $412K apt is $2556/month. Get rid of the condo fee, and you can afford a $512K house Better to rent and save, perhaps.
– In discussion with the applicant in Councillor Layton’s office, the prospect of a supermarket came up: the applicant envisaged a branch of the high-end Pusateri’s chain – By our calculation, the applicant stands to realize $150–250 psf profit: knock $100 off that and the monthly cost drops to $2247, the cost of a $450K house
Two young couples could divide a house and a yard and get more space:
– $2247 a month each: an $800K 1800sf house + $100K to divide it: 900 sf each – $2556 a month each: a $900K 2000sf house + $120K to divide it: 1000 sf each
Finally, OCA is pro-residential intensification, but that does not require Midrise
How profitable is the proposal?
This is our attempt to use the city’s proforma to estimate the financials of the proposal Justification:
– – – – – Development insiders repeatedly tell us $200 per sf construction costs The city proforma recommends a 30% of construction “soft costs” pricing Development insiders have reported land costs of as low as $3M and as high as $7M, we split the difference Unit prices and parking are sourced here The applicant stated rents of $20–40 prevailing on the strip, but we assume AAA space goes for $50; 11560 sf retail; cap rate of 8%
Our best estimate is of a profitability within the $150–250 psf range
– Disclaimer: this is all highly inexact, and does not accommodate how much the applicant is borrowing to finance the proposal, or how long it will take for the construction to occur, as well as many other unknowns. Corrections appreciated.
Here is one of 16 720 sf units
Sold as “1BR+Den” — the “den” a desk of solitary contemplation in otherwise unsaleable space between front door and bathroom, more than 50 feet from the sole narrow window
Here is a “2BR” for a “young family”
This unit is 1112 sf for $740K, or $665/sf. At that rate, an 1800 sf house would cost $1.2M. The range of resale house prices in our area in 2012 has been $725–1225K. For that price you also get a yard, and you don’t have to pay monthly condo fees, and you would get a house that has stood the test of 80–100 years rather than a hastily constructed new building.
Are there other noise and visual impacts?
• Balconies on every level
– About 40 on the street side and about 40 on the laneway side – Since the building is marketed as a place to party, and judging by similar structures at Wellington and in Liberty Village, residents are understandably concerned about party noise
• The HVAC unit is supposed to be ‘screened’, but we find it implausible that it will not project significant noise from a level high enough to travel quite far • The laneway side features a two-story tall blank back wall with a loading dock and garage entrance • The laneway side also features a 12’ cube electrical transformer, which would presumably be a source of significant noise
How many residences are near the site?
• Eight houses on Givins are across the laneway from the site, with their rear yards and rear windows facing the 40 balconies • One house on Argyle Street abuts the laneway side-on, and it and two other houses have backyards equally in the viewshed as those on Givins • There is a house on Argyle Place, the laneway: less than 60 feet from the site, its front door opens directly onto the laneway • Another ten or more lots on Givins are within 150 feet (half a narrow block) of the site, as are seven or eight on the other side of Argyle Street, as are one or two on Argyle across Ossington, as are one or two on Humbert • Several rental apartments are in the three-story building immediately to the north
What about shadow?
• • • Fix a certain time t: noon on April 21 or September 21. At t, an 82 foot building in Toronto would cast a shadow about 80 feet long Toronto tilts a bit counterclockwise of true north, so at time t:
– Shadow would reach the north sidewalk along Argyle Street for the width of five houses – The house on Argyle street abutting the laneway would be cast completely in shadow – Shadow would cover the garages of three houses along Givins
At all other times on the day of time t, the shadow would be longer
– At 9AM on that day, shadow would cover the intersection of Argyle and Ossington, spreading perhaps as far south as Venezia and as far north as Quasi Modo – By 3PM on that day, shadow would cover the lots of 11 houses along Givins and Argyle
For the six winter months, the shadow would be longer at all times of day
– For months, there would be no mid-morning sun for four houses west of Quasi Modo – For months, seven house lots along Argyle would be completely cast in shadow at noon – For months, the intersection of Argyle and Ossington, and the Givins-Shaw playground, would receive no late-afternoon sun
60–70% of the residents along Givins derive significant economic value from produce grown in their back gardens. For most of the year, these back gardens would receive no afternoon sun. Consider these remarks as speculative and provisional, subject to closer investigation soon
What about cars?
• The proposal is for a 70 car garage, 60 for residents, 4 for business, 6 for visitors • The garage would be accessed from Argyle Place, a 17 foot wide laneway. • Argyle Place empties to Argyle Street and Bruce Street • Argyle Street is part of the city’s bike path network • Argyle and Bruce Streets are very significant paths for children walking to Givins-Shaw School • Argyle runs one-way toward and past the school’s playground, and there is a right turn available onto Givins Street, on which the school fronts
What does this mean for the GivinsShaw School?
• We discuss traffic safety issues above, in the slide on cars:
– 70 cars would cross the paths on Argyle and Bruce Streets where children walk to school – Every car exiting onto Argyle Street would pass either the school’s dropoff area or its playground
• The proposal is also only 200 feet from the school and its playground, and so both would easily be in the viewshed of the proposal
A map of car/pedestrian flows
A picture of car/pedestrian flows
What about the retail space?
• The retail space would be 12,000 sf
– By comparison, the largest legal restaurant on Ossington is 1833 sf, less than one-sixth the size of the retail
• There is no proposal to put ‘hard dividers’ to make many smaller shops • That means that there is every possibility that the retail space would be occupied by a single operation • The retail space is likely to be affordable only by a chain store
– It is likely to rent for $50 or more per square foot annually – That works out to over $90,000 a year rent for that 1833 sf restaurant – The full space would rent for $600,000 a year
• The applicant has expressed its “hope” that there would be as many as five businesses operating, but that will not be up to the applicant
– Their business model involves selling the retail space to a national property management firm for perhaps $7,000,000 or more – From that point forward, the tenants would be entirely the concern of the property management firm
Which stores would rent the retail space?
• That is anybody’s guess • Shopper’s has a spot just at the foot of Ossington, so they are not the likely tenant • But it could be H&M, Zara, the Gap, or some similar business hoping to locate in an area the development community has declared “chic” • It could also be a large grocery store, which would involve many daily semi-truck deliveries to the laneway
THE APPLICANT AND ITS HISTORY IN THIS AREA
Who has made the proposal?
• Reserve Properties, a development firm run by Sheldon Fenton, a long-time developer in the GTA, and his son Shane • Reserve has recently won approval for two projects in The Beach and another project further south on Ossington across from the ministorage • Their development team includes architect Roland Colthoff of RAW architects and planning consultant Craig Hunter, a prominent advocate for GTA developers • According to news reports, Fenton initially tasked Colthoff with designing a 100 unit building
Has the applicant been willing to negotiate?
• The applicant is well-aware of the community’s view that Midrise development and big chain stores do not belong on Ossington. • And yet:
– They have declared in print, and in Ward 19 Councillor Layton’s office, that they are unwilling to adjust the height of the building unless compelled to do so – They declared in the Councillor’s office that they are unwilling to guarantee that no national tenants would be considered – They have expressed a “hope” that several stores would occupy the retail space, but have been unwilling to take any action to further this “hope”
Is the applicant worried about the many destabilizing effects of the proposal?
• For example, about the safety of children on the way to school? • If so, they’re not letting on:
– “Sheldon Fenton describes his six-storey building as appropriate for a main street in a rapidly growing city. ‘Everywhere we’ve done developments you have a protectionism from the local people,’ says Fenton, who … calls the reaction pure NIMBYism. … Asked if he heard anything that would modify his project, he said: ‘What we’ve proposed is reasonable and I believe it should be approved.’”
• This is a surprising turnabout from the applicant’s earlier statement that “We understand you, we want to embrace the community, we want to be a part of it, and we don't want to try and be a thorn in the side”
Doesn’t the applicant have something else on Ossington?
• Yes. They are the developer of the “Motif” condo at 41 Ossington, northwest corner of the Rebecca intersection. It is a mixed project, involving a “condo” part fronting on Ossington together with several townhouses behind on Rebecca. • The condo part is, sad to say, a Midrise structure. Its circumstances differ from this one in several ways:
– Much smaller: less than one-quarter as large as the 109OZ proposal, with one-third the street frontage and under one-quarter the retail space – On a corner, abutting only the townhouse part of that development rather than backing onto eight residential lots – The safety issues with the laneway do not exist – The Planning Department does not consider Motif to be precedental
What happened at 41 Ossington?
• As we understand it, something like this:
– Joe Pantalone was running for mayor when the application was filed – Mike Layton entered office with the clock already ticking on the file – Initially, the proposal was for a five-story 18.5m residential structure with an HVAC unit atop the townhouses – The Rebecca Street neighbours spent months in good faith negotation – The city, confronted with an application filed at a strategic moment, was slow in processing the decision – The OMB allows the city 120 days after a completed application – Approximately one year after the date the application was filed, the applicant immediately appealed to the OMB, and the city, lacking sufficient resources for an OMB trial, settled – The result was a six-story structure stretching east along Rebecca nearly as far at six stories as the original proposal stretched at four stories, and with a substantially increased overall floor area, with a slightly diminished “parking stacker” structure at its eastern extreme
41 Ossington: initial proposal
41 Ossington: final settlement
41 Ossington: Initial figures TYPO!
41 Ossington: Final figures
After months of negotiating: One extra story taller 9% higher GFA
How did 41 Ossington go to 21.5m?
• A mystery:
– The “right-of-way” (ROW) of a street is the distance between opposite side buildings – A&MRBS says “maximum allowable height is the ROW” – ROW on Ossington = 17.5m – eh???
• OP 2.2 Structuring Growth Policy 3a: • “The City’s transportation network will be maintained and developed to support the growth management objectives of this Plan by: protecting and developing the network of rights-of-way shown on Map 3 … by:
– i) acquiring over time the additional property needed to achieve the designated width. The conveyance of land for widening may be required for nominal consideration from abutting property owners as a condition of subdivision, severance, minor variance, condominium or site plan approvals; – ii) extending and altering the widths of pavement, sidewalk and other facilities as necessary within the designated rights-of-way”
• In other words, by encouraging all Major Streets to have all buildings torn down and replaced with ones with the Map 3 ROW • Map 3 says the ROW for Ossington is 20m …
• The legal basis for 21.5m is found here:
• In other words, a certain map says that Ossington needs to be 20m to carry enough traffic, and that the ROW once all buildings are torn down will be 20m, and so that is why it is OK to build 1.5m above that hypothetical ROW
Is that as nuts as it sounds?
• In our view, yes. • Our analysis of traffic data shows that the Ossington Strip carries the second-least traffic of 31 major street segments on the West End for which data was available. • The Planning Department recognizes this: the Ossington Strip is a destination, not a thoroughfare from Queen to Dundas • A just-built structure at 2 Ossington does not expand the ROW • Councillor Layton has also assured us that the ROW relevant to planning decisions on the Ossington Strip is 18m.
the procedural status of the “109OZ” proposal
Where in the legal process is the “109OZ” proposal?
• • The application for the proposal has been completed, on or shortly before 5 July 2012. The city has 120 days to vote the proposal, or some descendent compromise, up or down. The proposal requires two changes in the zoning bylaw controlling the lands on the Ossington Strip:
– The bylaw limits height to 14m, the proposal requests 21.5m
• • • • • • • • That is a “technical” height: the HVAC unit brings the height to 25m but is not counted in the “technical” height “Density” means: (area of all floor space inside the building)/(area of the lot) Density 2.5 would mean three stories on the front half of the lot and two stories on the back half, or four stories on the front quarter of the lot and two stories on the back 3/4, or four stories covering a little over half of the lot, or … Density 3.9 would mean four stories over almost the whole lot, or five stories over 78% of the lot, or six stories over almost 2/3 of the lot The proposal distributes density in something like an “average” of the latter options. The first story is as tall as Böhmer, by itself half the height of the 3-story Golden Turtle building The top three stories are 11.5 feet high Balconies are not included in “density” but are no different from interior space in how the building presents to the outside
– The bylaw limits “density” to 2.5, the proposal requests 3.9
– Note that the “density” figure understates the structure’s impact in two ways:
What is needed for the Zoning Bylaw change?
• Two “yes” votes:
– One from “Community Council”, the Councillors from wards in old Toronto-East York – One from City Council
What determines how these votes go?
• As a matter of something like custom (by no means of policy or law), in cases like this one, City Council votes the same way as Community Council • And as a matter of something like custom (by no means of policy or law), in cases like this one, Community Council votes along with the Ward Councillor • So in the present case, Ward 19 Councillor Mike Layton’s choice of how to vote will be very strongly influential over the city’s position
What determines how Mike Layton will vote?
• This is not for us to say • Councillor Layton relies heavily on the report issued by the Planning Department • Councillor Layton will also rely on the outcome of the “visioning study” he will be running with the community over the coming months • But ultimately, Councillor Layton is a legislator, who is free to vote in either direction in accord with his best policy judgement
What will the Planning Department say?
• The Planning Department is obligated by the Official Plan to consider a large number of factors. • We are not Planners, so we will gesture at the principles that determine what Planners would say, and then make some speculative remarks. • Planners are sworn to interpret the law and principles of sound planning. Still, like any experts, Planners are not uniform in their interpretation, and frequently disagree on the merits of a proposal.
What has the Planning Dept said?
Can you try to explain that?
3. 4. 5. 6. 7.
The Planner in charge floats the proposal around the office, soliciting comments from his colleagues. They collectively came up with these worries: It’s too tall and the setbacks are insufficiently deep. It hulks over everything else, is too close to the house lots in back, and is not even in line with the constraints specified by Midrise Performance Standards, a document specifying what Midrise should be like. We do not know what the crucial word ‘treatment’ means here: this may be an aesthetic criticism of the ground floor façade. We are not familiar with the relevant standards here. The apartments are tiny, and developers are supposed to compensate this with “amenity space”. The applicant is marketing the Ossington Strip as the amenity, and includes on site only a perfunctory second floor terrace above Böhmer. We believe the city parking standard is one spot per unit. The applicant (in a way of which we approve) is including less. As a matter of going down the checklist, the Planning Dept needs to form an opinion whether this is appropriate. The “green roof” the applicant offers to provide is inaccessible, and occupies under 1/3 of the actual roof space Access to the underground parking and laneway loading requires a “technical” widening of the Laneway to the standard width of 6m from the current level, more like 5m.
THE OFFICIAL PLAN: GROW, BUT PROTECT
What does the Official Plan say about this situation?
• The Official Plan does not deal with the specifics of what precisely can be built on this or that specific lot. Instead, it is a broad system of guidelines. • For specific parameters, the Official Plan is supposed to be supplemented with a second-tier layer of regulations, known as Secondary Plans or Area Studies. • In many cases, these specific regulations exist. Not, however, in the present case. An Area Study was done for Ossington in 2009, but instead of including within its scope what would make for appropriate built form, it confines itself to the regulation of restaurant size.
What, in general, are the broad guidelines of the OP?
• The backbone of the OP is a compromise:
– Preserve the “stability” of residential Neighbourhoods (such as the lands back of the lots along the Ossington Strip) – Direct regional population growth into the city rather than out beyond the suburban fringes
• This is implemented by two strategies:
1. The OP directs growth into certain non-Neighbourhood areas 2. And the OP strongly regulates the interface between areas for growth and abutting Neighbourhoods
• The broad guidelines capture these strategies …
– … as well as various other desiderata.
Where will the city grow?
• OP 2.2 Structuring Growth in the City: Integrating Land Use and Transportation, Policy 2: “Growth will be directed to the …
• Yonge and Eg; North York Centre; Scarboro Centre; Dundas/Kipling
• “Important corridors along major streets designated for intensification and reurbanization” (Bloor West, Dundas West, Eglinton, Ronces, …) • Midrise along the lands fronting onto the Avenues
– Employment Areas:
• Industrialized or formerly industrialized lands: • Only two anywhere near subway/streetcar are Niagara area below King and east side lands below Eastern Avenue
• Bathurst east to Yonge up to the tracks by Dupont; Yonge east to the Don River below Rosedale Valley; Bathurst west to Lansdowne below the Gardiner
• … as shown on Map 2 … (next slide) • … in order to … protect neighbourhoods … from the effects of nearby development” (Policy 2i)
Official Plan Map 2: Urban Structure
Does this allow intensifying growth on the Ossington Strip?
– The Ossington Strip is not in any of the four land-use classifications to which growth will be directed – Subclauses (a)–(h) of Policy 2 are motivations for increasing density in relatively urbanized regions – Why not build towers everywhere? – Policy 2(i): “to protect neighbourhoods from the effects of nearby development” – Policy 2(i) is one of the most important subclauses in the entire OP. Without it, the most basic framework of the OP provides no rationale to prevent limitless intensification everywhere.
Is Ossington an Avenue?
• Ossington is not an Avenue: Map 2 makes this clear. • The applicant has been asserting that Ossington is “like” an Avenue and should be opened to Midrise development. They have even hired the author of the Avenues and Midrise Buildings Study (A&MRBS) to consult on this project. • That is their assertion, however. It has no legal basis.
Is Ossington “like” an Avenue?
• No. • Avenues are “significant corridors along major streets”
– The Ossington Strip is not a “significant corridor”: it is only .6km long. Almost all other Avenues are far, far longer.
• Exception 1: west side of Bathurst Bloor to Dupont, .9km — but the east side is Core so that is pro forma • Exception 2: Bayview in Moore Park, .7km — but that is 27m wide and heavily car-dependent, with pod-malls
– The Ossington Strip is not a “corridor”: the 2009 Area Study recognizes it as a “Destination”, not a space to go through but a place to come to
• The MR performance standards for Avenues require a “Right-OfWay” = minimum distance between property lines on opposite sides of the street of 20m
– The ROW on Ossington is 17.5m – The A&MRBS is adamant that buildings must not (HVAC unit aside) be taller than the ROW. This is known as the “building envelope”.
Does Ossington meent OP’s qualitative picture of an Avenue?
– The informal text box on 2-1 states that “the policy framework found here prepares the city to realize *forecast *forecast population+ growth … depending on the success of this plan in creating dynamic transit oriented mixed use centres and corridors” – The informal text box on 2-2 states the purpose of the growth management portions of OP as to “shape the urban fabric of the GTA into a system of mixed use centres and corridors” – Ossington is not a mixed-use corridor, so the Ossington Strip is not a segment of a mixed-use corridor
Main shopping street:
– The informal text box on 2-3 explains the “Avenues” as “the City’s main shopping streets” – Familiarly, Ossington is not one of the City’s main shopping streets:
• • “People from around the city travel to Ossington in order to play” Paul Johnston, realtor for the 109OZ project “The cool thing about this project [41 Ossington] is it demonstrates that Ossington is not just a street that people come to eat and drink. It’s a place where people actually want to live, because you are so close to so many fantastic amenities that the city has to offer” Shane Fenton
And isn’t an Avenue, really, ultimately what the OP says is an Avenue?
• Yes. • Ossington isn’t “like” an Avenue in the most important sense: the Official Plan says it is not an Avenue. • In insisting on the sort of intensification intended for Avenues, the applicant is not merely requesting a zoning by-law change — they are effectively trying to undermine the very framework of the OP itself • This makes for an extremely dangerous precedent. Whether a certain patch is “like” an Employment Area in some way or other is irrelevant to whether establishing a smelter there is legal.
Is the applicant genuinely abiding by Avenue standards?
• [***2-16 policy 3]
How does the OP protect Neighbourhoods from adverse impacts of growth?
• 2.2.3 — Avenues: Reurbanizing Arterial Corridors
– Policies 1 and 2 strongly encourage holistic Avenue Studies of “strategic Mixed-Use segments” of Avenues to specify “appropriate transitions” to Neighbourhoods and height and density limits. – Optional according to Policy 3 but only if it can be proved that redeveloping the entire Avenue segment using the proposal as precedent “will have no adverse impacts” on adjacent Neighbourhoods – Policy 4 insists that Avenue designation does not overrule Neighbourhood designation in terms of protecting Neighbourhood lands
• 2.3.1 — Healthy Neighbourhoods
– Policy 2 guarantees development on Mixed-Use lands adjacent or near Neighbourhoods must (a) be “compatible” w/ Nbh (b) gradually transition scale and density (c) maintain light and privacy (d) not significantly worsen traffic and parking – Policy 3 states “intensification of land adjacent to neighbourhoods will be carefully controlled so that neighbourhoods are protected from negative impact. Where significant intensification of land adjacent to a Neighbourhood or Apartment Neighbourhood is proposed, Council will determine, at the earliest point in the process, whether or not a Secondary Plan, area specific zoning by-law or area specific policy will be created in consultation with the local community following an Avenue Study, or area based study”
How does the OP regulate Mixed-Use to protect Neighbourhoods?
• 4.5 Mixed-Use Areas
– Policy 2: “In Mixed Use Areas development will:
• (c) locate and mass new buildings to provide a transition between areas of different development intensity and scale, as necessary to achieve the objectives of this Plan, through means such as providing appropriate setbacks and/or a stepping down of heights, particularly towards lower scale Neighbourhoods; • (d) locate and mass new buildings so as to adequately limit shadow impacts on adjacent Neighbourhoods, particularly during the spring and fall equinoxes”
What’s the big deal with Midrise against Lowrise?
• Lowrise is 1–4 stories, Midrise is 5–10 • It’s not just one story!
– A four story building can be framed with wood – A five story building must be framed with steel; must have an elevator; must have an external HVAC unit; must have a loading dock.
• All of this infrastructure has an impact on the Neighbourhood. • All of this infrastructure adds a lot to the construction costs. A 5story building will therefore not make very much money for the applicant. A 6-story building has very similar costs to a 5-story building, but with an additional story to sell. Developers will use every trick in the book to get that sixth story: which is what happened down on 41 Ossington. • To oversimplify, there is no such thing as a 5-story building. The choices are:
– 4 and low-impact infrastructure – 6+ and high-impact infrastructure
Is it even possible to build MR on Ossington that protects the Neighbourhood?
• The way to protect Neighbourhoods from Midrise is made operational in the A&MRBS. It involves a wide range of constraints. • We can avoid the details, however, because in all illustrations in the A&MRBS, it is assumed that abutting residential lots have an axis parallel to the Avenue. • For the entirety of the Ossington Strip, on at least one side, the residential lots have an axis perpendicular to the Avenue.
– In particular, this is the case on the lot under discussion.
• That makes a big difference to the adverse destabilizing affects on the Neighbourhood of the MR buildings …
What’s the big deal with parallel or perpendicular?
s c s e t u n s n Growth will be directed to the Ce re , Ave , Em p o l ym t n e Di tri s t t and the Down own … in order to: … protect neighbourhoods … from the effects of nearby development.
Side% On ! impact: ! impact End% On End% On
Midrise means Side-On, End-On means Lowrise
What about those Area Studies?
• Council did not order them when the Motif proposal was advanced. • It did not order them when the 109OZ proposal was advanced. • It has not ordered them. • Councillor Layton has stated he will approach Council to request that they be ordered in September. • Planning is highly understaffed, so even if they are ordered, it will be a long time before they are completed.
If Area Studies are impossible, what can be done?
• Councillor Layton is working with the community on a Visioning Study. The aim is to come up with a surrogate for the absent Area Study. • This has the potential to be of significant value. The city can use it in backing up its case. If it is written with due attention to law and good planning principles, it can stand up just as well as a study by the Planning Department. • The Ossington Community Association is looking into retaining a Planner to assist in this process.
Are there other OP regulations bearing on the situation?
• The OP is complex, and there are very many — especially since it insists on being interpreted “holistically”. • We will point to two factors:
– Coherence of the public realm – Health of the retail sector
How does the OP protect the “Character” of the public realm?
• 3.1.2 Built Form
– Policy 3(c): “New development will be massed and its exterior façade will be designed to fit harmoniously into its existing and/or planned context, and will limit its impact on neighbouring streets, parks, open spaces and properties by … creating appropriate transitions in scale to neighbouring existing and/or planned buildings”
How does the OP protect Commercial Zones?
• 3.5.3 The Future of Retailing
– Policy 2: “Traditional retail shopping streets will be improved as centres of community activity by:
• a) encouraging quality development of a type, density and form that is compatible with the character of the area and with adjacent uses; • b) improving public amenities such as transit and parking facilities, street furniture and landscaping; and • c) encouraging and supporting effective business associations in these areas.”
– Policy 3: “Retail development along the Avenues is encouraged and will suit the local context of built form and support the establishment of a high quality pedestrian environment.” – Policy 4: “in order to provide local opportunities for small businesses and maintain the safety, comfort and amenity of shopping areas, zoning regulations for ground floor commercial retail uses in new buildings in new neighbourhoods or in Mixed Use Areas along pedestrian shopping strips where most storefronts are located at the streetline, may provide for a maximum store or commercial unit size based on the following considerations:
• a) the prevailing sizes of existing stores and commercial units in the area; b) other indicators of opportunities for small business, such as vacancies in existing stores and commercial units; c) the provision of a range of store and commercial unit sizes to meet the range of local needs including day-to-day convenience shopping and other household goods and services; d) the potential impact of large vacant stores and commercial units at the ground floor level on the safety and comfort of the strip for pedestrians, e) the need for ‘eyes on the street’; f) the rhythm and flow of storefronts on the strip; and g) the potential for the building design, particularly the street façade, to address the safety, comfort and amenity of the shopping area.
STRATEGY: HOW TO KEEP OSSINGTON LOWRISE AND WIN
How will this all play out?
• Scenario A: Councillor Layton pledges to vote only for Lowrise
– – – – – Community and City Council vote against the proposal by, say February The applicant appeals to OMB The city is then bound to defend its decision at OMB OCA cooperates with the city in defending the legal and planning case Everything depends on the Board Member’s judgement at that point, but in our view we have a very strong legal and planning case to keep Ossington Lowrise – Communities have been winning against applicants at the OMB with increasing frequency as the Harris Board has faded out and is replaced by a McGuinty board
• Scenario B: The compromise game gets rolling
– Councillor tries to broker a bargain down to 5 stories – The applicant, as announced, “won’t budge” – Either the applicant runs clock out and goes to OMB or city votes no on 6 and applicant goes to OMB – Now city is either going to cave in to 6+ or bound to defend a weak position at OMB, having just given the nod to a second MR, at that point arguing over shades of grey rather than principles; then maybe we’re looking at 7 or 8
What does OCA want from the city?
• OCA thinks there is an extremely strong principled case to be made here: Ossington is Lowrise. • OCA calls on Councillor Layton to vote now, always, and only for Lowrise on the Ossington Strip. • OCA believes that this commitment is the keystone of creating the strongest possible position for the city going forward to promote the flourishing of the Neighbourhood and its Commercial Zones.
What does OCA pledge in return?
• OCA pledges in return:
– To extend its full support to Councillor Layton as he defends the Lowrise character of the Ossington Strip and works for all the constituents of Ward 19, – To engage fully and enthusiastically with the Councillor’s Visioning Study and to bring together the full Ossington Community to guarantee a more enjoyable Ossington Strip for the Neighbourhood and all of Toronto, – And more generally to work in partnership with the Councillor to promote the flourishing of the Neighbourhood and its Commercial Zones.