By MICHAEL LEE
A proposal has been made for a new six-storey building at the northeast corner of Queen Street East and Rhodes Avenue, potentially adding 30 new condo units to the neighbourhood.
The City of Toronto’s planning division hosted an online community consultation meeting on March 22 where details of the proposed mid-rise building were shared with area residents. (Editor’s Note: The writer of this story lives within the affected area.)
If approved, the new condos would be built across the street from the Don Summerville complex, where more than 700 units — including a mix of condo, rental, affordable and Toronto Community Housing units — are now being built. (For more info on Sumerville build, please see — https://beachmetro.com/2020/03/01/community-consultation-meeting-on-plans-for-don-summerville-apartments-set-for-march-3/ )
“Although there are other houses and dwelling units going up in the neighbourhood, we feel there’s still a need to be met and that’s really what we’re trying to fulfill here,” Kayly Robbins, a senior planner with Weston Consulting, said during the community consultation meting.
Weston Consulting is serving as the planning consultant for the property owner, Sky Edge Development.
At a total Gross Floor Area (GFa) of 2,707 square metres, the development would include nine one-bedroom units, two one-bedrooms plus a den, six two-bedroom units, 10 two-bedrooms plus a den, and three three-bedroom units. Along with 25 vehicle spaces — not 28 as was originally proposed — most of which would be within a stacked parking system, there would also be 30 spaces for bicycles and two retail units.
There are currently a pair of two-storey buildings on the property, with commercial space and a couple of residential units above them.
It is still early in the approval process and the city’s planning division said staff are still reviewing the application.
The applicants argued that the development would fit within the city’s mid-rise building standards of between five and 11 storeys, pointing to other similar and larger developments in the area to highlight the different types of housing available.
Planning staff also added that the ideal height of a mid-rise building should be about the same width as the road right-of-way, which for Queen Street East is 20 metres. The proposed building height is 21 metres.
And although the number of existing residential units does not meet the threshold to quality for rental replacement — six or more — the city’s planning division said staff would work with the applicant and any tenants on a relocation and assistance plan.
While residents generally signalled their support for more housing, some who participated in the community meeting expressed concerns with the increased density in the area, especially given the nearby Don Summerville project.
Residents also raised concerns about the amount of shadowing that would be created by the new building. A shadow study shared as part of the application shows that a few homes west and north of the building would be the most affected, with the degree of shadowing varying depending on the time of day and month.
Some residents also asked whether the additional vehicles the development is expected to bring would add to an already tight parking situation on Rhodes Avenue.
But Toronto-Danforth Councillor Paul Fletcher, who attended the meeting, said residents of the building would be excluded from applying for permit parking.
A representative from the traffic consultant for the project, Nextrans, argued that the expected impact to traffic would be minimal, based in part on their study of vehicle ownership data in the area.
Based on the number of parking spots proposed for the building, it could add at least 25 new vehicles to the area. Some also argued that the Don Summervile project is expected to increase traffic as well — if not through increased vehicle ownership then by the use of ride-share services such as Uber.
And given that Rhodes Avenue is a southbound one-way street, with access from Dundas Street East, there are questions about how people will get to the building.
One resident noted that a small, poorly maintained laneway exists off of Craven Road just west of Rhodes Avenue, which leads directly to the property in question.
Other concerns include the impact of construction and privacy, including whether residents of the new building would be able to see into the yards of neighbouring homes.
For more information on the proposal, please go to the City of Toronto’s Application Information Centre at https://secure.toronto.ca/AIC/index.do?folderRsn=s3buI9ZimbzRqLNLI39jxA%3D%3D
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