Letter to Council re: Redevelopment of Sunnybrook Plaza

February 17, 2015

North York Community Council
North York Civic Centre
Main floor, 5100 Yonge St.
Toronto, ON M2N 5V7

Att: Francine Adamo, Committee Clerk

Re: NY 4.19 Preliminary Report – Zoning By-law Amendment Application – 660 Eglinton Avenue East (Ward 26)

Dear Councillor Augimeri and Members of North York Council,

The Leaside Property Owners’ Association provides this correspondence to express its preliminary comments on the above noted application for a ZBA to permit a 19 storey (66 metres) and a 13 storey (50 metres) apartment building with retail at grade (2,316 sq.m.) on this site. The two buildings would contain a total of 426 dwelling units and 420 parking spaces with 397 spaces located in a 2-level below grade parking garage and 23 surface spaces.

The lands are currently designated Mixed Use, and further to recommendations from the City of Toronto’s Eglinton Connects Plan, Council approved a special policy area under the OP in 2014. However this has been appealed to the OMB by the applicant.

Some of our preliminary comments are:

  • The Eglinton Connects Plan recently assessed this site as being suitable for mid-rise, NOT HI-RISE development. There is no justification for hi-rise development in this area. Bayview and Eglinton will be served by a station on the Eglinton LRT but there is no higher order transit contemplated on Bayview, and no transit hub.
  • The proposed development does not conform with the Official Plan policies for Mixed Use, with the recently approved special area policies; nor does it meet the requirements of the zoning by-law; however the application seeks approval of only a ZBA.
  • The massing, density and height of the proposed development is excessive, and precedent setting, and lacks appropriate transition to the existing mid and low rise development which includes a stable residential community immediately north and east.
  • While the land use designation is Mixed Use, the proposed mix is heavily weighted to residential, rather than commercial. As such there are significant potential implications of the development on the need for services such as schools and medical facilities. Currently there is a lack of capacity in existing schools for any additional school children to be generated by the project.
  • The amount of traffic generated by the project is a concern, despite the premise of the application being proximity to the Eglinton Crosstown LRT.   Good planning of the public realm and streetscape, and building in from the beginning a strong role for active transportation (walking, biking) are essential. For example bicycle parking should be fully at ground level (not underground parking) so that bicycling may be readily employed by residents and visitors.
  • The proposal includes a roadway around the rear of the project, creating a potential by-pass of the Bayview/Eglinton intersection, quickly attracting flow-through traffic. Also as a private road it would not be regulated or traffic rules enforced by the city.
  • The heritage significance of the site as the first shopping plaza in Ontario needs to be assessed.

It is recommended that:

  • Council defer proceeding with the rezoning application until an official plan amendment application has been submitted.
  • The notice for the community consultation meeting should be given to landowners and residents in North Leaside from Glenvale Avenue (Ward 26) and Broadway (ward 25) to Parkhurst Boulevard (Ward 26) and Soudan Avenue (Ward 22) and from Hanna Road (Ward 26) to Wales Avenue (Ward 22).
  • The applicant be required to submit a heritage impact assessment for the development

The LPOA appreciates your consideration of our comments.

Yours truly,

Geoff Kettel and Carol Burtin Fripp