By AMARACHI AMADIKE, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Almost two years after receiving the application, the Toronto and East York Committee of Adjustment (CoA) has approved a plan to alter the existing two-storey building at 2273-2275 Queen St. E. in the Beach.
At a hearing on Wednesday, Jan. 18, the CoA gave permission for four variances to the city’s zoning bylaws in order to allow the renovations to the west side of the building to expand the Chabad Beaches Jewish Community Centre at 2273 Queen St. E.
Ed Wilson – owner of the east side of the building at 2275 Queen St. E. – has resided in the property with his wife for the past 42 years.
He had a number of concerns with the proposal for the expansion of the 2273 portion of the building, owned by Rabbi Shalom Lezell and Chabad Beaches. The plan to expand the school and daycare at the site was first made in 2021.
The building has a distinctive Price-Brothers appearance that is unique to the surrounding area in the Beach. Wilson opposed the proposal due to concerns that the design would alter the duplex building’s front façade.
He also argued that the construction of a rear two-storey addition, with rooftop deck, would negatively impact the amount of light enjoyed by both him and his tenant who also resides in the building.
“As a third party most affected by this – both personally and financially – I would like to ask the committee to turn this application down, respectfully,” Wilson told the CoA hearing earlier this week.
Although Wilson said he expected to the CoA to disregard his concerns regarding the amount of sunlight that would be on his property due to the renovations, he was hoping that the Kew Beach Precinct Urban Design Guidelines would be taken into consideration.
Those guidelines state that the area located between Woodbine Avenue and Glen Manor Drive is the commercial and retail heart of the Beach and that “rows of original Price Brothers buildings at the east end of this precinct are important for their cultural value and should be preserved”.
Wilson also placed hope on the fact that city zoning bylaws state that the maximum combined non-residential and residential gross floor area cannot be more than two times the area of the lot. However, in this proposal, the combined gross floor area will be 2.12 times the area of the lot.
Furthermore, the zoning bylaw says the maximum permitted non-residential gross floor area shouldn’t be more than 1 times the area of the lot but the proposed plan was 2.12 times the area of the lot.
Adam Ezer, who was representing Lezell, told the CoA that the variances were minor and the original proposal from 2021 had been redesigned in order to preserve the look of the building.
“What we’re dealing with here is a local community centre that wants to expand and was unable to operate their daycare in the last three to four years due to the constraints of the building,” said Ezer.
“The new design is trying to keep the original nature of the building while allowing the developers to develop it.”
The CoA unanimously agreed that the zoning variances being sought were in fact minor.
The only conditions placed on the proposal were regarding noise control during construction on the building’s shared wall, as well as noise control on the rooftop deck which will be used as a play area for the children attending the Jewish School.
“I understand that there is a lot of neigbourhood concern about this,” said Peter Reed, a member of the committee during the meeting. “But, objectively looking at this application, I think it’s very defensible.”
Amarachi Amadike is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter for Beach Metro Community News. His reporting is funded by the Government of Canada through its Local Journalism Initiative.