‘Aggressive’ developers cited in 411 Church debate

Dennis Hanagan – 

July’s city council meeting is expected to deal with a report about a multiple-storey residential building proposed for 411 Church St. north of Carlton near Church St. public school.

Ward 27 Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam predicts there’ll be a fight about it. “It’s not a tall building site,” she said at the June 14 Toronto community council meeting. She also spoke about developers getting “aggressive” with their proposals.

Wong-Tam said it’s wrong to consider a nearby development at 70-72 Carlton St. as setting a precedent for more tall buildings in the neighbourhood. She cited shadow problems that the 411 Church development would cause for children in their school yard.

“We are here today with very few options before us because we compromised the planning principles,” said Wong-Tam, referring to the Carlton project. She called it a case of “putting profits before people.”

She said the Carlton plan was adopted by city council “but ever so reluctantly. We ended up doing it because it went to the Ontario Municipal Board.”

Referring to the loss of school yard sunlight, Wong-Tam said “what is going to be lost in all of this is the quality of experience and learning for the kids in the neighbourhood.”

The Church St. proposal calls for a 38-storey tower with a 6-storey base building and ground retail space on the Church St. side. Parking would be underground. It has been revised from the original plan that called for 45-storeys and a 7-storey base.

A zoning amendment application is required for the project. For the time being the applicant has taken the application to the Ontario Municipal Board because the city failed to make a decision on it within the Planning Act’s allotted time period.

A staff report said an OMB pre-hearing conference is set for Aug. 22. The actual hearing is expected to take place late this year or early in 2017.

City staff say representatives of the Church Wellesley Neighbourhood Association, the Toronto District School Board and parents at the Church St. Jr. Public School have been notified about the revised proposal.

Addressing community council, Wong-Tam said her ward is dealing with some difficult proposals. “I have noticed the applications are coming in far more aggressive than they have in the past.”