West-end councillors voted this week to fight what many Kingsway residents have charged is a brazenly outsized development proposal in the heart of their Bloor Street shopping district.
Ward 5 Coun. Justin Di Ciano’s Etobicoke York Community Council (EYCC) colleagues unanimously supported his motion to send the city solicitor to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) to stand against Fieldgate Urban’s mixed-use development proposal for 2915-2917 Bloor St. W. during a special evening session Tuesday, May 2.
The meeting drew a standing room-only crowd to the Etobicoke Civic Centre — among them, representatives from Kingsway Park Ratepayers Inc. (KPRI), Sunnylea Kingsway Community Association and Thompson Orchard Community Association.
“The most egregious element in this application has to be the height ... but asking for an extra 34 feet of height overall is not minor, it’s greedy and it’s brazen,” said Fiona Campbell, president of the KPRI.
“This building protrudes on all sides into somebody else’s space. It’s too big for the land it stands upon and the density increase is untenable.”
The much-opposed application in question proposes a nine-storey, mixed-use development, containing commercial uses at grade and 126 residential units above.
In their report to EYCC, city planning staff noted the proposal conforms neither with the city’s Official Plan policies relating to height, massing, shadowing or transition, nor with the 2003 Bloor-Kingsway Avenue Study.
Under the provisions of that study, buildings in the area are to be limited to six storeys (or 18 metres) in height, with a maximum density of three times the area of the lot. The current application for 2915-2917 Bloor St. W., however, seeks a zoning bylaw amendment to allow for a nine-storey, 28.4-metre building at 4.96 times the density.
“Staff is of the opinion that the proposal ... represents an overintensification of development on this site,” the report reads.
“As such, the proposal cannot be supported and the city solicitor and appropriate staff should be directed to attend the (OMB) hearing to oppose the application in its current form.”
Di Ciano, who tabled the motion to defend the Bloor-Kingsway Avenue Study and its six-storey height limits at the OMB, said he thinks the case is entirely “winnable”.
“We have bylaws for a reason, and this particular community spent years and years and years working with city planning to establish certain development expectations. It’s very distressing when you put that kind of time and energy into something and the rules are forever changing,” he said, noting that 567 members of that community signed a petition opposing Fieldgate Urban’s proposal.
“So we are going to go to the OMB, we are going to work as hard as we can to establish our arguments that defend the avenue study, and I believe we will prevail.”
Di Ciano’s motion passed unanimously 8-0, with support from councillors Frank Di Giorgio, Frances Nunziata, Vincent Crisanti, Mark Grimes, Stephen Holyday, John Campbell and Michael Ford.
The matter will now go before Toronto City Council for final approval later this month in advance of the OMB pre-hearing conference on the matter, scheduled for June 29.