LPOA Comments on Planning Recommendations proposed at Eglinton Connects Open Houses October 7,8,9, 2013

Building

Encourage mid-rise buildings through as-of-right zoning

  • We appreciate that mid-rise may be appropriate for certain parts of Eglinton. However we have two caveats.
  • First, while the current zoning situation has been pejoratively described as “shrink wrap zoning”; however the reality is that developers invariably “push the envelope” so that much larger and taller buildings than allowed by zoning result, invariably permitted on appeal to the OMB. So in the current situation, lifting the zoning should be carefully considered as to whether the controls are in place to prevent a massive over-building to result.
  • Second, we are concerned that implementation “…through as of right zoning” will result in an “unearned” economic benefit to affected landowners and a financial loss to the city (because section 37 benefits will be reduced or eliminated). We recommend that the city ensure that the benefit directly resulting from public investment and regulation benefits the public purse (through development charges or taxes)

2.  Implement Eglinton specific built form pattern

  • •Bullet 4 indicates “some segments which are designated Neighbourhoods will remain low rise”. However a careful examination of the megamap displayed at the October Open Houses reveals that re-zoning to permit four storey residential development such as townhouses in the Donlea (east of Bayview) to Sutherland stretch of Eglinton is being considered .
  • While this zoning would be permitted under the Neighbourhoods OP designation our concern is that this change would potentially destabilize the area that will serve as a disincentive for home owners along Eglinton to maintain their homes, and indeed may result in pressure for mid-rise development rather than the town house development envisaged.

3.  Integrate development at LRT stations

  • We do not support “high rise” along Eglinton except at the designated mobility hubs where there is an intersection with higher order transit (i.e. Yonge, Don Mills)
  • As such we strongly oppose high rise developments shown on the megamap in the Eglinton/Laird/Brentcliffe focus area.
  • In addition to the transportation planning reasons for opposing high rise in this location we feel this is inappropriate in the context of Leaside’s historic character as a low rise community. There currently are no buildings greater than five storeys in south Leaside.

4.  Permit Neighbourhood Transition Areas

  • • It is our understanding that this does not affect the Bayview to Brentcliffe section and as such we have no comment

5.  Enhance community facilities and public spaces through new development

  • • We strongly support the principle that recreation and social service facilities be increased to support increased densities

6.  Implement additional performance standards to reinforce local character areas and heritage

  • We support in principle the idea of performance standards for built form in Character and Heritage areas.
  • We note that Phase 1 of the Project included a heritage assessment along the corridor and the October Open House presentation included a commitment to making recommendations for preservation of individual properties and districts (HCDs). We strongly support this.  However, we are disappointed that these recommendations are not part of the 20 recommendations being brought forward at this time.
  • We note the special character of the business district on the north side of Eglinton from Sutherland to Laird and the apartments east of Brentcliffe

Greening

7.  Create a network of public open and green spaces

  • We strongly support

8.  Grow great trees

  • We strongly support

9.  Connect Eglinton to trails and ravine system

  • We strongly support

10. Green transit infrastructure

  • We strongly support

11. Coordinate public art

  • We support

12. Implement three primary greening typologies

  • We strongly support the Main Street Landscape including great trees, open planters and groundcover

Travelling

13. Create a complete street

  • We strongly support. Our concern would be that the resources need to be made available to permit this transformation to be implemented across the corridor at the same time, and not just at the Metrolinx funded sections (i.e. LRT stations).

14. Right-size travel lanes

  • We support in principle while noting that the outside lanes will need to be wide enough to accommodate buses

15. Provide wide sidewalks

  • We support

16. Build protected cycling lanes

  • We support

17. Maintain parking supply

  • We do not support maintaining parking supply on Eglinton through on-street parking, or “parking “bays”. Off-street and underground parking should be provided in conjunction with mid-rise development and enforced by the city as part of the site pan approval process.
  • Currently the lack of bicycle parking is a constraint on increased cycle use. Increased provision for bicycle parking could also be considered as part of development approvals.

18. Extend network of rear laneways

  • We support in principle; however there are risks – of destabilizing the adjoining houses and of maintaining safe and vibrant places
  • As in #17 these areas should be for access to and servicing the development on Eglinton; NOT for parking or for relief through-[ routes.
  • We suggest increased access to the rear laneway by mid-block passageways from Eglinton which could have public art, or could serve as an outdoor patio for a restaurant or café.

19. Implement boulevard guidelines for character areas

  • We support

20. Plan for incremental implementation

  • Allocated funding (Metrolinx) exists to upgrade the streets near stations but not in between the stations, so as things stand the changes in Eglinton’s streetscape will happen only where particular stretches of the corridor get redeveloped. It is essential that improving the street occur at the same time as the LRT goes in; otherwise the new street layout would likely not be completed for decades.
  • “Incremental implementation” is a concern. A coordinated plan for resourcing implementation of the plan is needed. We would recommend that all stakeholders including elected officials, residents’ associations, and BIAs should work together to ensure that the plan is implemented in a coordinated and complete manner.

Unresolved Questions

There remain several questions that relate to the impact of intensification (i.e. higher density) on the massing and bulk of development; and on transportation (amount and mode), that are not fully addressed and resolved to the LPOA’s satisfaction (agreed — they are tricky!):

  • The plan assumes mid-rise development as a norm. However there are differences of interpretation as to what is “mid-rise”. The plan evidently considers that 8-11 storeys are mid-rise whereas in a Leaside context, 4-5 storeys are considered mid-rise.
  • The plan assumes that increased density along the corridor will be accommodated without increasing the amount of traffic (in fact a reduction is anticipated). At the same time the transportation behaviour (amount of travel, modal split) related to the increased number of residents is unknown i.e. will people own cars, and if so, will they use them, despite the LRT?
  •  The spacing of the LRT stations is such that there are many residents who will be greater than 400 metres from an LRT station.

These questions suggest several implications

  • The need for careful attention to neighbourhood integration (shadowing, setbacks, good design, etc.
  • The risk for traffic infiltration into neighbouring residential areas
  • The need for maintaining parking provision (standards) but perhaps being creative in how this is accommodated
  • The need for some level of continued surface transportation (buses) on Eglinton
  • The risk for on-street parking in adjoining areas
  • The advisability of a public campaign to actually change travel behaviour, (i.e. use the transit, walk, cycle?) in association with the launch of the LRT.

October 18, 2013

Holler Box