City planners are challenging a developer who wants to build four houses on three lots along Neville Park Boulevard. The contested plans call for two new homes and two major renovations of existing houses. The three properties back onto a ravine slope at Neville Park’s north end.
Builders are already framing a third-storey addition on one house, even though the project was rejected by the City of Toronto’s committee of adjustment panel last May and is now under appeal at the Ontario Municipal Board. In his May report, city planner Derrick Wong said the project failed a key city test for over-development.
If built, the four houses would require special exemptions to the local bylaws on height, density, porch size, distance from the street, green space, and parking. For example, the maximum height for houses in the area is 10 metres, but plans for 190 Neville Park call for a maximum height of 14.2 metres and side walls twice as high as the bylaw allows.
Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon said it’s rare for the city’s adjustments panel to reject such plans. “They haven’t often weighed in to oppose anything in my four years,” said McMahon. “So you know when they do oppose something, it’s pretty darn serious.”
McMahon said planners met several times with the developer, and with a group of Neville Park residents who agree the plans are out of scale. Besides the form of the buildings, McMahon said the residents are concerned the project may damage the surrounding ravine, or cause problems with the area’s high water table.
“They’re not opposed to something going in,” said McMahon. “Essentially, it’s too much density for that area.”
The Ontario Municipal Board, the province’s top appeals body for real-estate disputes, will consider the plans for 190, 192 and 194 Neville Park Boulevard in mid-December. The OMB opened a hearing on the issue in early October, but had to reschedule after the developer made significant changes to the original building plans.