City battles Wellesley East tower at OMB

Dennis Hanagan–

Toronto and East York Community Council wants to go to the Ontario Municipal Board to oppose a 28-storey condo proposed for a site in the Church-Wellesley neighbourhood where an 1800s mansion was demolished just months after it was cited for possible heritage designation.

A planning report to community council said the proposal for 81 Wellesley East submitted by planning consultant Walker, Nott, Dragicevic Associates Ltd. has been referred to the OMB because city council didn’t make a decision on the Official Plan and zoning amendment applications within the pre-scribed time period under the Planning Act.

A pre-hearing was held last October and a full hearing is scheduled to begin April 20. Staff has been told to continue discussions with the applicant to iron out problems.

“The proposal represents an over-development of the site … and does not conform to the intent of the existing Official Plan policies,” said a planning report.

The report added the plan doesn’t fit in with the council-adopted policies for the Church Street Village Character Area “which require new development to respect and reinforce the low-rise scale of existing development in this area.”

The report also noted that as of November 2011 Odette House, a Victorian-era mansion that used to be on the site, was up for possible heritage designation under the Ontario Heritage Act. But in January 2012 the structure was demolished.

The planned tower with a 6-storey base building would have a 7-metre mechanical room on top and 182 units made up of 22 bachelors, 108 1-bedrooms, 31 2-bedrooms and 21 3-bedrooms. There would be 69 parking spaces in a four-level underground garage

At a February community consultation meeting residents expressed concerns about the proposal including noise from garbage pickup and shadows on the Church–Wellesley intersection.

TEYCC has directed staff to get what benefits they can for the community under Section 37 of the Planning Act should the OMB approve the proposal.