Councillors ignore position of local residents advocating height restriction and improved site design
(May 26, 2006) â€“ The controversial application to build a 10-storey condo tower on the site of the former Humber Odeon theatre at Bloor and Jane Streets has been given the green light by Toronto city council. By a vote on of 31-10 on May 25, Council overturned an earlier decision by York-Etobicoke Community Council that would have prevented the developer from exceeding the five-storey zoning limit in Bloor West Village.
Community Council turned down the application on April 4th following near-universal opposition from local residents, including representatives from the Bloor West Village Residents Association, to the design and height of the mixed condo-commercial development. It did so despite the position of the Cityâ€™s planning department which had supported the application.
However, City Council last week approved the project knowing that the developer, Wynn-Bitton, was in a position to appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) and would have had a strong case based on two years of community consultations and minor modifications.
In reversing course to allow the development to proceed, council attached a list of conditions to its approval. Chief among them is that Wynn-Bitton must top the building with a â€œgreenâ€ roof. Under city guidelines, half the roof surface must be covered with mixed vegetation. For details on the green roof policy please visit: http://www.toronto.ca/greenroofs/incentiveprogram.htm#definition.
The developer will also be required to pay for improvements to a local park and the nearby streetscape, and to make further improvements to blank side walls.
Local Councillor Bill Saundercook (Ward 13) voted against the re-zoning motion saying, â€œI was disappointed council chose to approve this proposal. After two years of intense public consultation I regret we were unable to achieve a better result for our community.â€
The following conditions were attached to City Councilâ€™s re-zoning approval for the Bloor-Jane condo (old Humber Odeon):
May 25, 2006
A- the Section 37 Agreement secure the quality of materials and the current architectural design;
B- staff continue to work with the applicant to secure further improvements to the design and quality of materials to the north-east and south-west facades of the building and mechanical penthouse;
C- balconies, terraces, roofs and other outdoor spaces of the building include planter boxes
D- the applicant be required to make a minimum of 25 percent of the units in the building handicapped accessible;
E- the Section 37 Agreement require that the applicant pay for a Traffic Impact Study and resulting physical improvements to control the infiltration of northbound traffic on Riverview Gardens;
F- the Section 37 Agreement requires monies for the improvement of Traymore Park;
G- all third party advertising be prohibited upon the building and that no signs of advertising be permitted on the side walls of the building;
H- the applicant to provide further improvements to the pedestrian walkway from Bloor Street to the Toronto Park Authority parking lot; and
I- the applicant must construct a “Green Roof” consistent with the city’s Green Roof initiative. For details see: http://www.toronto.ca/greenroofs/incentiveprogram.htm#definition