Changing Lanes: Laneway Suites in the City of Toronto – City of Toronto

On Wednesday, October 27th from 7:15pm to 9:00pm the City is hosting a virtual meeting to present their work on the Laneway Suites Review and Monitoring Initiative, respond to some questions raised at previous consultation meetings, preview the draft amendments to the Laneway Suite By-law for comment, and discuss other findings and potential recommendations.  

We have lots of laneways in Bloor West Village, so If you would like to attend and participate in this virtual meeting, a link to this session will be posted to the Changing Lanes website under the “Meetings & Events” tab, shortly.  

Toronto's High Park to close tomorrow for duration of cherry blossom bloom  period | News
There’s been a lot going on in Bloor West Village as we head into summer (which fingers crossed, appears to be on our doorsteps). Here’s a wrap up:

Humber Theatre Condo Development
The Site Plan has been approved and demolition permits have been issued for the buildings on Bloor from Riverview Gardens to the Theatre. We expect demolition will begin in the not too distant future.

Harcroft & Bloor Condo Development 
The original developer sold this site, along with the approved plans. The new developer is currently working with City Planning, and the immediate neighbours on Harcroft, on some small changes before going ahead with this project.

Avenue Study & Heritage Conservation District Study
While the Avenue Study has wrapped up, the HCD Study has determined that, while there were individual properties meriting an HCD designation, there were not enough Heritage Elements to warrant a District designation. We are pleased to report that a number of HCD guidelines are currently being worked into the Avenue Study. The approval process has been slowed down by the COVID -19 pandemic and staffing changes in both the Planning and Heritage offices. We are hoping things will soon get back on track with the next steps being a presentation to the Community before being sent to City Council for approval. Our efforts toward encouraging responsible development should be significantly reduced once the resulting bylaws and zoning restrictions are put into place.  

Laneway Suites & Garden Suites
Laneway Suites, approved by the City of Toronto in July 2019, are typically located in the rear yard, with access next to a public laneway, and are generally smaller in scale and completely detached from the main house on the lot. Garden Suites are similar except that their access is from the front of the property. The Garden Suites project is one of several studies being undertaken by the City to help create more housing options in residential neighbourhoods. The City would like to hear what you have to say on this topic by taking a brief survey that can be accessed on the BWVRA website.

Bloor Street Bike Lanes
The Bloor Street Bike Lanes have been successfully installed westward from downtown to Runnymede Road. Planning is now underway to eventually extend these lanes all the way to The East Mall. This extension of the Bike Lanes will require the approval of the Etobicoke-York Community Council.

Kennedy Park-Margdon Parkette   
In 2019 there were extensive improvements made to the Kennedy Park-Margdon Parkette, located behind the Runnymede Library,  between Glendonwynne Road & Kennedy Park Road. A section remains that has not been renovated, immediately behind the Library, that has mysteriously fallen off the Toronto Parks to-do list. We are working with our Councillor Gord Perks to get this project back on track.

BWVRA Annual Meeting
The BWVRA fiscal year is April 1st to March 31st, usually followed by an Annual Meeting in May. Last year we postponed our Annual Meeting to the Fall, in the vain hope that large gatherings would once again be possible. So, here we are a year later facing the same situation. Our virtual Meeting last Fall was a success and we thought it would be best to once again postpone to the Fall, with the hope that by then there may be some progress to report on the Avenue/HCD Study approval process and, if the chatter is accurate, there may even be a Federal Election!  

BWVRA Membership   
In addition to reporting to the Community, a key element of our Annual Meeting is having the Financials and our Board approved by our Membership. Only Residents who are Paid-up Members of BWVRA (have paid the $20 annual fee) are eligible to vote on any Motions presented at the Meeting. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated on-going restrictions our expenses have been minimal, so we have made the decision to suspend our Annual Membership Canvass. This means that those eligible to vote at our Annual Meeting, to be held at a yet to be determined date in the Fall, will be all those Residents who have already renewed their Membership since April 1st, 2020 last year, along with those who might decide to renew their Membership anytime between now and our Annual Meeting in the Fall. 

The City Planning Division has been working on a range of initiatives to extend our housing supply through the Expanding Housing Options in Neighbourhoods (EHON) work program. This plan expands upon recent work that’s supported laneway suites. As Bloor West Village has plenty of laneways, this program is quite relevant.

Laneway Housing in Toronto | Laneway Houses, Homes in Toronto

A new report has been published which can be found here. In it, the City looks at options for laneway type units (known as Garden Suites) for homes that aren’t on laneways.

This type of home too, features prominently in Bloor West Village. According to the report, City Planning will consult with interested stakeholders on potential permissions for Garden Suites in the City of Toronto during the first quarter of 2021 and then report to Planning and Housing Committee with recommendations by the end of June 2021 on findings and next steps. Stay tuned.