As promised, the resolution was speedy. This 35-page report is dated July 15th.
The bottom line:
Well it’s done.
Today the LPAT (aka OMB) hearing related to this development application ended … in four SHORT days instead of ten LONG days. The Chair was Mr. Reid Rossi; the appellant Mr. Dani Cohen was represented by Ms. Eileen Costello and the City by Mr. Ray Kallio. The GDNA was represented by myself, Valerie Eggertson (GDNA Secretary) backed by a very strong team: Ann Marie Strapp (Chair of our Development Committee) and Participants Eris Ritcey (32 Camden), Doug van Fraassen (Fabrik), Kelly Nixon (Morgan) and Max Allen (Grange Community Association).
The hearing itself was a whirlwind … the Chair cut off witnesses and counsel alike when they didn’t stay focused. No reciting of official plans or bylaws here, no reiterating issues, no augmenting explanations once the Chair had grasped the point! The Chair also asked that the witnesses be called not in the usual “appellant first, City next” order but by subject … hence heritage issues were addressed by both sides on day two and urban design issues on day three.
These scheduling changes did cause some degree of angst to the legal counsels but definitely added to my enjoyment of the proceedings. I found it much easier to hear arguments and counter-arguments within the same day rather than a week apart.
All the witnesses, for both City and appellant, were strong and effective. The Participants were particularly blessed that the City’s Urban Design witness, Joseph Luk, created some amazing visuals which only reinforced their particular issues (separation distances of the proposal from the Fabrik outdoor amenity space and the north facing balconies of 32 Camden; the sky views from the north facing balconies and the outdoor amenity space of 32 Camden). A special call-out to Richard Eriksson who, a few weeks earlier, had invited Joseph into his suite and the public spaces at 32 Camden to take photographs.
If you are interested in reviewing these particular visuals, click here ... it is a 21.5 MB file. Page 37 presents the City’s preferred built form which the GDNA endorsed in closing arguments, remaining neutral however on the issue of heritage retention. Pages 40, 43, 45, 47 and 48 illustrate the effect of the submitted proposal on nearby condos.
Chairman Rossi has promised a speedy resolution to this file … weeks rather than months. So now we wait.
This past March, the GDNA as a Party and three local condominium corporations as Participants met with the developer of this proposal, Dani Cohen, and his legal counsel, Eileen Costello. We met in the amenity room at 32 Camden, a perfect location, providing Dani and Eileen a vantage from which to understand and appreciate issues of the residents in that condominium.
Then in April, Dani and Eileen came back to us ... with new plans, attached HERE. Changes addressed two specific issues for residents at 32 Camden: the relocation of outdoor amenity space from the second floor to the 13th floor - and - the installation of a 2.2 metre privacy/security fence on the third floor terraces.
Everyone is now preparing for June 10th, the start of a two-week hearing.
At the pre-hearing conference, parties and participants were identified and a date for the hearing was set.
City Council, at its March 26th session, adopted a "Request for Direction Report" which outlines the issues Community Planning finds with the development proposal.
A subsequent "Procedural Order" was filed with all the details, specifically:
An OMB pre-hearing is the forum at which one declares one's intention to be a “party” or as a “participant” at the hearing proper.
To support those interested in what is involved or those wanting to challenge this development proposal, the GDNA intends to conduct a workshop where options are presented, experiences are shared and approaches are evaluated.
Interested individuals are encouraged to email email@example.com and a date/time/location, satisfactory to the respondents, will then be fixed.
On December 5th, City Council will likely approve the inclusion of 94 King-Spadina properties on the City of Toronto’s Heritage Register, listed here.
This particular development proposal includes a parking lot at 451 and demolition of the 3-storey building at 457 Richmond Street West, one of the properties on the heritage list.
This is certainly a complication for the developer. Back to the drawing board?
The rezoning application for this site at 457 Richmond Street West has been appealed to the OMB. The City intends to oppose.
For details, follow this link or download the attached file:
Owners of units at the condominium on 32 Camden Street were concerned that the south edge of the proposed building would be so close to the north edge of their own. Interestingly nobody from the Fabrik condominium complained that the proposed building would completely block their west-facing windows.
Residents pointed out that there was no accommodation for service/delivery vehicles, complicated by the fact that there is no parking curbside and that Richmond West bends at that point in the road, creating a blind spot.
457 Richmond West is currently a 2 storey warehouse building which the developers do not plan to preserve. Though not designated heritage, this 1950s building is on the list of buildings in the King Spadina Heritage Conservation District (HCD) that have been frozen from demolition for a one-year duration, as described here.