OMB decision in for Queen and Woodbine

Ontario’s tribunal for city zoning disputes has ruled in favour of plans for a six-storey condo at the northeast corner of Queen Street and Woodbine Avenue.

A group of Beach residents’ associations and the City of Toronto opposed the plans, saying the condo by developer Queen EMPC Six Ltd. would block views of the historic Kew Beach fire hall two doors down.

Based on a city-led Visioning Study that created new design guidelines for Queen Street, the city and the Greater Beach Neighbourhood Association had argued people should be able to see the fire hall from all four corners of Queen and Woodbine.

Writing for the Ontario Municipal Board on Dec. 11, board member Blair Taylor found there is no statutory planning document that calls for that four-corners view.

But Taylor did rule the condo should follow the view guidelines of a site-specific bylaw from 1994, meaning Queen EMPC will have to change its balcony designs.

Taylor also ruled out second-floor retail in the building due to traffic concerns and found plans for a corner façade of what looks like white marble on the condo are inappropriate for the neighbourhood.

Regarding the city’s Visioning Study, Taylor said the board has “considerable concern” that it began with the goal of “somehow ‘counter-balancing’ the approved Official Plan policies to meet the desires of local residents.”

A copy of the decision is available from the Ontario Municipal Board.

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So the City’s Visioning Study has been approved by City Council (for cases like these) – but the OMB says it’s not “official”???

McMahon has been steamrolled at every turn. Perhaps, our community requires a City Councillor with the competence and influence to protect our interests. The Beaches will not survive four more years of Mary Margaret. Let’s face it – we are essentially without representation on City Council. Her $100k+ tax payer investment in the “Beaches Bible” is just more rules, which will be ignored and we’ll have to listen to even more lame excuses for why she was out-manoeuvred, out-smarted, and generally made to look like a puppet.

I remember when Leslieville was up in arms over big box condos coming to Eastern Avenue. They never came because Fletcher out-manoeuvred them with bike paths. Could anyone imagine McMahon having such influence or know how? Instead we got an ESL teacher and our future is 60 unit condos on side-streets like on Kippendavie and minimum 6 story condos on Queen East.

I’m sure Mary Margaret is a nice person – unfortunately we need far more than this single attribute.

LOL! Now you’re trying to hang this absolutely correct decision on the local councillor? This is exactly the type of development contempalted by the places to Grow Act and the Official Plan. Fighting against it was a quixotic battle that was not going to be won.

By the way, the zoning on Kippendavie allows for multi-unit residential buildings. It’s highly unlikely that there will be similar developments on other side streets where such types of developments don’t currently exist. Likewise, as the Visioning Study noted, development sites on Queen are extremely limited, so after this building and 200 Woddbine are built, we will probably see an extended period with no further multi-unti development.

From reading the decision, the GBNA and its counsel should be shouldering the blame if there is any to be shouldered. No traffic study or infrastrucutre study and no cross examination of the applicant’s expert on these topics?! If flooding, traffic and parking are such an issue, surely the GBNA should have cobbled together reports or at least cross examined the applicant’s experts.

And bike lanes on Eastern? Yes that was real forward thinking. Sheer idiocy (bike lanes to no where a block north of the bike path along Lakeshore) that continues to cause problems for Beaches commuters. And the proposals on Eastern were for commecial developments anyway.

it is the developer who was supposed to do studies on infrastructure and traffic as part of the application, and the GBNA or most community groups lack the money to hire all the experts needed. in this case, the city should have provided a better analysis of both the traffic and infrastructure problems, but having approved Lick’s without showing much concern (or kicking the can down the road to future applications), the city would have a tough time explaining.


The “guidelines” were passed after the developer submitted their application – so in this sense, the developer argued that the guidelines were not yet in effect. Then the OMB also seemed to be concerned that the “balance” wording indicated that the study and guidelines could be in conflict or contrary to the “official plan”.

If you read the decision, in effect, they ruled that what Council passed for the Lick’s site should also apply here, included the minor 0.9m setback that Councillor McMahon negotiated on the 4th floor of the Lick’s condos. The OMB said that the 2004 guidelines were in effect (though the OMB did not require the open space and view protections from the 20042 guidelines beyond the 1994 bylaw “notch” and what the OMB did indicate is that because the planners and Councillor McMahon had allowed the use of the Avenues and Midrise guidelines on Lick’s, this justifies the 6 storeys/20m height here as well.

More on this later.


Nonsense! The decision had nothing to do with timing – guidelines are to provide guidance on the implementation of the Official Plan, not to counter balance it. Regardless of the timing, the decision would have been the same.

Well after months of whining and gnashing of teeth (not to mention the expenditure of considerable amounts of money by the City and the self-appointed saviours of the Beach, the GBNA) the OMB has come to the correct decision. Hopefully, the City will now approve 200 Woodbine without further delay so these much needed re-developments can get underway.

An Tom West, Council can approve the Visioning Study and the UDG all it wants, but unless they amend the Officla Plan, the Visioning Study and the UDG do not form part of said Plan! Pretty simple really.

The Avenues & Midrise Guidelines, which were used to justify Lick’s and other developments, are not part of the Official plan either.

Something does not have to be part of the Official Plan to be of use – but the OP trumps other things when there is any conflict or doubt.

We did have a secondary Plan until 2002, which was part of the old Official Plan, but the planners took that away without consulting our community, or other communities where they did the same thing.

These redevelopments are not “much-needed” – quite the contrary, but I know from experience that there is no use arguing that with you.

We’ll agree to diosagree on the need for new development in the Beach. Regardless, these developmens are coming over the protestations of the hysterical vocal minority.

I disagree with the Ontario Municipal Board decision. lately members of Toronto City Council along with the board appear to totally ignore zoning bylaws. As far as I can see there is no need for a city council these days.

As far as stating that people are in a minority or are hysterical, it appears that all parties really need to set their emotions aside.

Pauk Kett

I don’t think you can stop development, only mitigate it.

We are always in a philosphically opposed position. One side wants to maximize profits while the other rails against change. We need balance. I think however, that developers must make a tangible contribution to the neighbourhoods they exploit. I wouldn’t want to be the councillor for Ward 32, because you are in a no win situation.

If it where me, I would fight against over/inappropriate development and leverage it for better developer-paid-for parks, playgrounds, neighbourhood park structures to serve as gathering places and so on.

Anyway development is here, and we have to make the best of it.

The community was not trying to stop development on this site -quite the opposite – at the OMB hearing, both the City and the architect hired by the GBNA showed how a building that followed the 2012 Guidelines would look and that it was feasible – 5 storeys and about 3 times density, a 50% increase over the current zoning. You can see it posted on the website.

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