Update on City Council Items, July 7-9

The following development projects in Ward 24 were approved by Toronto City Council at its meetings on July 7-9, 2015:

98-104 and 110-114 Finch Ave East

This application is for a 75 unit, 4-storey mixed-use residential and commercial development with underground parking. The project was negotiated down from the original proposal in 2012, which was for 6 storeys and 82 units. The original height was brought down from 20.31m to 13.39m, significantly reducing the density on the site. The indoor and outdoor amenity space was increased from 192.8 m2 to 423m2, including a large section of green roof. Prior to being addressed at City Council, negotiation of about10% affordable housing units was arranged.

The building's structure will reinforce and enhance the existing built form along Finch Ave, with design features that contribute positively to the public realm in the area.

Newtonbrook Plaza (5799-5915 Yonge St)

After several reviews of the application by City Planning Staff, with input from community and ratepayer groups, a settlement has been reached with the developer. The application has been substantially reduced in terms of building heights and unit count, while the community benefits have been maximized. The details of the settlement will go before the Ontario Municipal Board in September 2015, with the Site Plan to be reviewed thereafter.

The first proposal for this site came in May 2011. It was revised earlier this year for the OMB, and then again to meet the current settlement principles. The earlier and more aggressive forms of the proposal included the following characteristics:

  • 194,000m2 Gross Floor Area (GFA)

  • 6% of GFA comprised of incentives (amenities, recreation space)

  • 13% / 4,280m2 parkland dedication

  • 4.5% office/retail space

  • 2,309 residential units

  • 5 towers, the tallest being 145m/44 storeys

  • Separation distance between towers=21m

The current settlement has improved the proposal significantly, including:

  • GFA reduced to157,000 m2

  • Incentive space increased to 30% of GFA

  • Parkland increased to 19% / 6,365 m2

  • Office/retail space increased to 11%

  • Residential units reduced to 1,548

  • 4 towers, with the tallest reduced to 112 m/37 storeys

  • Separation distance between towers increased to 26-41m

  • Townhouse component of original proposal removed

  • Negotiated childcare space, large community centre, subway connection, public park and 5% of total units to be affordable housing

  • Plaza retail and grocery store to be maintained

  • Increased office space in all phases of the development

** Over 330 units of affordable housing were approved in three North York projects at this Council session, more than the City has built in the last five years.

Other items of interest heard by Council include:

Canada Post Community Mailboxes

Canada Post is planning to end door-to-door mail delivery in Toronto in favour of 'community mailboxes' at a shared public location. In Hamilton, Ontario, the City recently lost a court battle with Canada Post over the placement of the new boxes on municipal land.

Toronto City Council voted unanimously for my motion to have staff report back on ways to protect residents and mitigate the impacts of these boxes. Council also voted 34-1 to support the Federation of Canadian Municipalities in their request for intervener status in an appeal of the City of Hamilton's losing court decision. For the full report on community mailboxes in Toronto, please visit the link below:

http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2015/pg/bgrd/backgroundfile-81118.pdf

Expanded Gaming at Woodbine Racetrack

City Council has voted in favour of an 'integrated entertainment complex' including expanded gaming activities, hotel operations, retail shops, restaurants and office uses. This also means the potential for new employment opportunities, revenue to the City and economic benefits stemming from related development. A link to the full report is available below:

http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2015/cc/bgrd/backgroundfile-82056.pdf

Electronic and Illuminated Sign Study and Recommendations for Amendments to Chapter 694 (Sign By-law)

As Chair of the Planning and Growth Management Committee, I had requested a study be carried out by City staff to address issues with the Sign By-law. The ensuing recommendations then proceeded through Council. They included:

  • Electronic signs permitted only in commercial, employment and utility districts

  • Reduce size of third party signs in commercial-residential areas

  • Signs for institutional use in or near residential areas must turn lighting off at 9pm instead of 11pm

  • Reduce permitted brightness of signs by 40%

  • Establish 'electronic' as a separate sign category

A link to the full report is available below: http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2015/pg/bgrd/backgroundfile-81113.pdf

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2016 by Councillor David Shiner