Residents at a recent community consultation meeting regarding a proposed eight-storey mixed-use condo development on the Danforth want another meeting to properly assess the developer’s plans.
The March 7 meeting was to be the final community meeting in the proposal process for the condominium on Danforth between Morton Road and Patricia Drive, the site of the former Wise Guys bar, but attendees said that since the developer was not able to provide fully revised plans since the last community meeting, residents should get another chance to listen to the developer and, most especially, to provide further feedback.
While city officials at the meeting appeared reluctant to schedule another meeting, Ward 31 councillor Janet Davis said she was in favour of a future meeting and intends to make it happen.
Davis was one of two city councillors at the meeting, the other being Ward 21 councillor Joe Mihevc, filling in for Ward 32 councillor Mary Margaret McMahon who has recused herself from the development talks due to a potential conflict of interest. Her house is close to the proposed development.
The developer, Marlin Spring Investments, said that the city took a long time to provide feedback on the original plans, submitted at the end of October, and that they did not have time to complete revised plans for the March meeting. The developer has been meeting with resident and neighbourhood groups like DECA since November, and said their team was listening to residents’ suggestions. The architect presented an in-progress rendering of the frontage of the building, which incorporated feedback that the building should be more in the spirit of other buildings in the area.
“What we presented at the November meeting is a work in progress,” said Laurie McPherson, of Bousfields Inc, the planning consultant on the project. “We’re looking at some changes to the elevations in response to some comments, we haven’t finalized that at all. We just wanted to show you we have been listening and we’re thinking about it. But after the comments we hear from people today and a follow-up meeting with planning staff we’ll be looking at the plans again.”
Many comments at the meeting included concerns over increased traffic, particularly with regards to the laneway behind the development which is set to be widened to allow service vehicles and garbage pickup, and with regards to the adjacent hydro substation which sees hydro vehicles frequent the area.
A number of people said they wanted the laneway, which exits onto Patricia, to exit onto Morton instead, as there is a school on Patricia. But the developer does not own the property exiting onto Morton.
Stress on permit parking spaces was also a concern, with some calling for people who buy into the development to be denied street permit parking.
City traffic and parking staff said the area near the development statistically can accommodate more street parking and that the developer is meeting the bylaw requirements for parking spaces, proposing 89 residential underground parking spaces, nine visitor spaces, and two car share spaces. Residents who disagreed with the city’s street parking assessment were told there is a petition process.
Some said the developer should do more to accommodate resident parking concerns.
“I think because this building is pretty substantially over the zoning bylaw, the development should give some more latitude to parking issues,” said resident Randy McCall. “I think there’s space to accommodate more parking spaces than the minimum, which appears to be what’s being offered.”
Other concerns at the meeting centred on the noise and dust pollution and disruption the construction would cause. But city staff said that this meeting was not the time to discuss construction concerns, as the development has not yet been green-lit.
“I don’t want to get into the details associated with construction, this is just a proposal,” said city planner Derrick Wong, noting that the city has standards later in the process to deal with the nuisance of construction.
Speaking after the meeting, McCall, a former project manager for the University of Toronto, said he hoped the developer was listening and that it will take a commitment from the architect, planning staff, and the owner to make sure they get it right.
“The proof is in the pudding,” he said. “Sometimes it looks like it’s been dealt with on the paper, but when it actually goes into use it doesn’t work.”