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On Wednesday July 23rd, join the campaign to help tie pink ribbons along Bayview Avenue, and on neighbourhood hydro poles, in commemoration of last week’s tragic accident. Organizers are hoping that many Leaside dads and children will participate.
Come to the northeast corner of Bayview and Millwood at 2pm and join us. All are welcome.

The Thomas G. Elgie House has a distinguished past. But does it have a future? Right now this is a live question.

The Elgie farmhouse and its large landscaped lot is threatened with major change. A developer has purchased the property and intends to subdivide the lot (the largest in Leaside) into three, demolish the back part of the original house, move the front part forward on the lot, add a major addition behind, demolish the north and south side later additions, and construct two new houses, one on each side of the moved heritage house. The proposed re-development would require severance of the existing lot into three; and numerous zoning bylaw variances involving massing, coverage and setbacks. The City has rejected the proposals at each stage, but now the developer has appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board. And that’s where we need your help.

The case involves a designated heritage property, the Thomas G. Elgie House and the City has agreed to have a heritage staff person there to defend their decision to reject the development on heritage grounds. However there are also planning issues. The neighbours together with the Leaside Property Owners’ Association (LPOA), have opposed the development, on the grounds that this proposal represents over-development of the lot and loss of the cultural heritage character, both buildings and landscape. The LPOA has agreed to be represented as a Party and to hire a Planner to be an expert witness. The City has agreed to share the costs of hiring a Planner, but that is where you come in.

We need your support to attend the hearing beginning on July 23, 2014 and to assist with the costs of hiring a planning expert. Please consider attending the hearing on Wednesday, July 23 at 10 a.m., 655 Bay St. Suite 1600, and making a donation to the LPOA to support the costs of hiring a planner.

Facts about Eglinton Connects 

City Planning has received comments, questions, and phone calls from residents and concerned citizens about Eglinton Connects. The nature of some of these calls is concerning, as several of them reference misleading or incorrect information. For more than 2 years, the Planning Study Team has worked to involve you in the process and keep you informed about goings-on and how you can get involved. Today, we are writing you to make sure you have the right information.

Below are some of the common questions City Planning has received in the last two days regarding Eglinton Connects. As always, more information is available at www.toronto.ca/eglinton.

What components of the Eglinton Connects Planning Study are before Council July 8-9? 

Official Plan Amendments and Site and Area Specific Policies are before Council today or tomorrow. These amendments set the tone for further study in the Focus Areas, set out where laneways will be required over the long term through new development, and propose changes to land use designations. The full Staff report is available here. This information was previously sent to you via an e-update from the Study Team on June 16, 2014.

The streetscape plan (the plan for how the street will look, how it will function, the width of sidewalks, street trees, bike lanes, etc) was passed unanimously by Council on May 6, 2014.

Through Eglinton Connects, will all of Eglinton Avenue have only 1 travel lane in each direction? 

No. The corridor is 19km long and for 11km the LRT will be underground. For this portion (roughly from Black Creek Drive to Brentcliffe Road), an Environmental Assessment was conducted as part of Eglinton Connects, and it was approved at Council on May 6, 2014. This Environmental Assessment generally tailored the street to the local conditions, but most of the future roadway will be four lanes, with turn lanes at selected intersections. However, a 3 lane cross section was approved for about 1.5km of the corridor, roughly between Avenue Road and Mount Pleasant. This means one lane in each direction for continuous traffic flow, plus centre lane for turning movements as well as permanent parking in indented bays. For more information on this, download the Staff Report, or visit the ‘Questions’ section of the website (Materials > Questions > Transportation Study FAQs).

Are houses going to be expropriated to create laneways? 

No. New laneways or laneway widenings will occur only through redevelopment and will be placed within the 7.5m. setback distance between a future building fronting Eglinton and their rear property line. The intention of laneways is to create a great street on Eglinton by providing a place for loading and servicing to take place at the back of the building, rather than the front.

Are laneways intended to act as arterials for Eglinton or otherwise accommodate through traffic? 

No. Laneways will be designed for local servicing and access only.

Are houses to be demolished to encourage new development? 

No. However, on 2 properties (6 Sanderstead Avenue, and 9 Croham Road), an Official Plan Amendment is being put forth as a ‘test’ or ‘demonstration’ that would allow for a developer to purchase the home (if the owner is willing to sell), and use the home for a laneway, landscaping, or parking. This would allow the property fronting on Eglinton Avenue to be built taller closer to Eglinton, and transition down in scale to the neighbourhood in behind.

Links to all Staff Reports and Committee or Council Decisions are on the website under Materials > Staff Reports.

Thank you once again for your involvement and participation in the Study. Stay tuned for more updates regarding zoning, which should be coming shortly.

Committee of Adjustment – 206 Hanna

July 8, 2014
The Committee of Adjustment,
North York Civic Centre,
5100 Yonge Street,
North York, Ont., M2N 5V7.

Re:  206 Hanna Road,
File No. A440/14NY.

Att: Mr. Dan Antonacci,
Manager & Deputy Secretary Treasurer North District Panel.

Dear Mr. Antonacci,

The Leaside Property Owners’ Association provides this correspondence to express our strong opposition to this application for minor variances. This application involves demolition of a one and half storey (dormers) detached house and replacement with a new two storey detached home with integrated garage. The existing house is a good example of only a few “Modern” style homes built in the 1940’s (another is located at the corner of Hanna and Parkhurst). The home is located at a very prominent corner property (Hanna Road/Parklea Drive intersection) within the area included in the Leaside Heritage Conservation District nomination. The application therefore represents the loss of a significant Leaside character home at a prominent location on the access road to Leaside High School. The 15 requested variances (8 when duplications are considered) amount to an over-development of a very prominent lot:

  1. Proposed Floor Space Index (FSI) of 0.654 times the area of the lot WHEREAS a maximum FSI of 0.60 times the area of the lot is permitted. This represents 10.9% over the permitted FSI. This is not a minor variance.
  2. Proposed lot coverage of 40% of the lot area WHEREAS a maximum of 35% of the lot area is permitted. Any variance to coverage represents an over building of the site since the permitted coverage is set greater than the permitted FSI. This is not a minor variance.
  3. Proposed building height of 8.84m WHEREAS a minimum of 8.5m is permitted. This variance will disrupt the uniform height of the street which is below the permitted height.
  4. Proposed front yard soft landscaping area of 45.2% whereas 75% is required. This represents 39.7% over the permitted and is contrary to the environmental objectives of the city
  5. Proposed side yard soft landscaping area of 55.9% whereas 75% is required. This represents 25.5% over the permitted and is contrary to the environmental objectives of the city
  6. Proposed north side yard setback of 0.53M whereas 1.2M is required. Any variance to side yards next to the neighbour represents a loss of amenity to the neighbour. This is not a minor variance.
  7. Proposed south side yard setback of 0.45M whereas 1.2M is required. This represents a loss to the public realm on a prominent corner and access to the High School.
  8. Proposed parking space of 2.72M whereas 3.2M is required

[click to continue…]

The Eglinton Crosstown is a 19 kilometre light rail transit (LRT) line that will run along Eglinton Avenue through the heart of Toronto, with an underground central section. The line will connect Mount Dennis in the west to Kennedy Road in the east, and the new service will be up to 60% faster than bus service today.

What we are building?

What: A massive shaft will be excavated to prepare the area to launch tunnel boring machines (TBMs). The site will remain a construction zone for the next few years as we work through several stages of the project. Launch shafts are deep excavations that provide access points for TBMs. The two TBMs will begin tunnelling at the launch shaft east of Brentcliffe Road and work their way west towards Yonge Street. Very large equipment such as cranes, drill rigs, construction fencing, concrete barriers, etc. will be visible in the vicinity of launch shaft site.

Where: Crews will be relocating a portion of Eglinton Avenue East between Brentcliffe Road to west of Leslie Street to accommodate construction staging while rerouting traffic during construction around the excavation of a launch shaft. Pylons will be used to separate the work zone safely from traffic.

When: Starting as early as the week of June 23, 2014 for approximately three weeks. Timelines may be adjusted due to weather and unforeseen circumstances.

Traffic Details

During road work:

  • Crews will be working on the north side of Eglinton Avenue East
  • Traffic will be reduced to one lane in each direction along Eglinton Avenue East between Brentcliffe Road to west of Leslie Street.

The pedestrian walkway on the north side will be closed during construction. Pedestrians will be able to use a temporary sidewalk on the south side. [click to continue…]

LPOA receives SmartCentre settlement

In April 2013, the LPOA reached a financial settlement with SmartCentres, regarding their then-proposed SmartCentre North shopping mall site at Laird and Wicksteed. When it became clear that they were not prepared to agree to any decrease in the size of the anchor tenant, nor to exclude any specific tenant, our focus shifted to seek a settlement that would provide funding measures to address at least some of Leasiders’ concerns, and which would help protect the community from the negative impact of the many large retail outlets on Laird.

The written settlement agreement between LPOA and SmartCentres, concluded on April 9, 2013, allows LPOA to embark on measures that will benefit both the areas closest to the proposed development and the community as a whole. In particular, it provides LPOA with $110,000 in funding, which should be sufficient to:

  • hire our own experts to address flow-through traffic problems with a proper traffic study
  • initiate heritage conservation efforts
  • assist the Bayview shopping district through a new and much needed BIA., and
  • pay some of the consultant fees incurred to date (approximately $10,000)

This funding is to be spent at LPOA’s discretion.

The settlement also notes the community’s safety concerns regarding underground parking, and everyone’s desire for good landscaping and increased bicycle use. SmartCentre has agreed to involve LPOA in the site design implementation. [click to continue…]

Municipal Class Environmental Assessment Study Notice of Public Information Centre #2

Please join us at our second Public Information Centre to learn about the options considered and the recommended solutions to help reduce the risk of future basement and surface flooding in the study area.

You will have an opportunity to view displays, speak one-on-one with project staff, and tell us what you think about the recommended solutions. Drop in between 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on the date and location noted below. We look forward to seeing you there. Details are as follows:

Date: Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Time: 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Location: Leaside Memorial Gardens, 1073 Millwood Rd. (Enter through main arena doors)

Notice of meeting (PDF)

This could have been very bad news: on reading the agenda for the June 10 City Council meeting, my LPOA Co-President Geoff Kettel noted an important motion which would have significantly affected how groups like the LPOA interact with our elected municipal representatives. The motion, “Requirement to Register with the Lobbyist Registrar’s Office”, was proposed by Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly and seconded by our Councillor, John Parker. It would have required “non-profit organizations, unions and all community organizations designed to target specific City-wide issues resulting in financial impacts…… and … all grass roots campaigns, regardless of who started them” to register as lobbyists.

It read very much like an attempt to make it much more difficult for ratepayer groups (like LPOA) to meet or communicate with their Councillors. Not only are ratepayer groups non-profits, we are made up entirely of volunteers. We are voters and taxpayers, not lobbyists trying to gain some personal or business financial interest or benefit. Where does a constituent’s conversation with their Councillor end and ‘lobbying’ begin? Should every voter who is in a ratepayer group be reduced to the same status as a paid lobbyist or developer? Would ratepayer representatives have to fill out paperwork with the Lobbyist Registrar’s Office whenever contacting our Councillor? We had received no prior warning that a lobbyists’ registry of this description would be proposed at City Council, nor were ratepayer groups such as LPOA consulted as interested stakeholders.

Whatever happened to the principle of unfettered access to one’s elected representatives?

This motion was a dangerous step down a very slippery slope, which would have reduced the voices of residents like you on issues that matter to you. LPOA contacted John Parker and every other City Councillor to urge that ratepayer groups be clearly exempted from this onerous measure.

Fortunately, the motion was eventually withdrawn by Deputy Mayor Kelly on the second day of the Council meeting. No reason was given for the withdrawal. Perhaps the Mover and Seconder were encouraged to reconsider the wisdom of such a motion? It is not scheduled to come back to Council at a later date, although it still could be reintroduced, in a new or amended form. We’ll be watching.

Since the previous posting, Leasiders should know that the LPOA has continued to try to set up an All Candidates’ meeting in the Don Valley West riding. A few of you had expressed the opinion that we should have a meeting even if not all the candidates were going to attend, so we considered the possibility of going ahead with a representative for the premier, but even then, could not get all the candidates and/or representatives together at any time.

Because the date of the televised Leaders’ Debate was not confirmed until well into the campaign, it has been even more difficult than usual to book a location for a local meeting, although we have been working on this since the election was called. Venues are virtually impossible to book at short notice, with many end-of-school-year and sports events taking place.

Together with the Don Mills, York Mills, St. Andrews, and Edwards Gardens Ratepayer Associations, who had – purely on spec – booked St. Bonaventure Church on Leslie Street for June 9, we attempted to match candidate (or representative) availability with the only date still available. June 9 is only three days before Election Day, and candidates and party representatives are committed elsewhere. It may be of interest to note that none of the three party leaders have participated in All Candidates meetings in their home ridings during this election.

A lot of time and effort went into trying to arrange this meeting. We are disappointed that there will not be an LPOA All Candidates meeting, but it certainly has not been for want of trying.

Provincial all-candidates meeting

You’ve been asking if the LPOA will be holding an All Candidates’ meeting in Leaside for the upcoming provincial election.

The answer is: no, with regret.

We have tried to arrange one, but it has not been possible: our MPP is also the Premier, and her travel schedule across Ontario means there was not an available evening when the candidates would be able to attend.

However, there will be a televised Leaders’ Debate on June 3, to which we can refer you.

Looking ahead, the LPOA is already planning two All Candidates’ meetings for the October municipal election. There will be one meeting for the Mayoral candidates, and another for councilor candidates. The Leaside Gardens is reserving the William Lea Room for the dates currently being considered by the Mayoral campaign teams, and we will be announcing details once confirmed.