Update, Modified Development Proposal at 100 Ranleigh Avenue

February 9, 2012

in City of Toronto Official Plan

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Folks,

Following is an attempt to respond to questions that have been asked over the recent past – especially regarding the contention of the city planner (echoed by our councillor) with respect to not requiring an Official Plan (OP) amendments in order for the 100 Ranleigh modified proposal to proceed. Many of you may have already seen some this material (or a variation) as part of a February 2nd email or other emails from me. My apologies if this is a duplication for you.

The 100 Ranleigh site is covered by the new OP (adopted in 2006) and the old (previously existing) Zoning By-law (ZBL). The OP has a “higher status” than the ZBL in terms of land-use planning. That’s why the OP policies refer to (in a number of places) the ZBL either directly or indirectly as a way to provide the “details” of what is permitted in any given neighbourhood/community.

Most planners would likely classify the previous as well as the current proposal for 100 Ranleigh as an infill development and, as a result, would initially apply policy 4.1.9 (partially copied below). Also, following are portions of some other relevant OP policies that have been “bolded” for emphasis.

Policy 4.1.5 “Development in established Neighbourhoods will respect and reinforce the existing physical character of the neighbourhood, including in particular: … c) heights, massing, scale and dwelling type of nearby residential properties; d) prevailing building type(s); … f) prevailing patterns of rear and side yard setbacks and landscaped open space; … ”

Policy 4.1.8 “Zoning by-laws will contain numerical site standards for matters such as building type and height, density, lot sizes, lot depths, lot frontages, parking, building setbacks from lot lines, landscaped open space and any other performance standards to ensure that new development will be compatible with the physical character of established residential Neighbourhoods.”

Policy 4.1.9 “Infill development on properties that vary from the local pattern in terms of lot size, configuration and/or orientation in established Neighbourhoods will: a) have heights, massing and scale appropriate for the site and compatible with that permitted by the zoning for adjacent and nearby residential properties; … ”

Policy 5.3.1.3 “Amendments to this Official Plan that are not consistent with its general intent will be discouraged. Council will be satisfied that any development permitted under an amendment to this Plan is compatible with its physical context and will not affect nearby Neighbourhoods or Apartment Neighbourhoods in a manner contrary to the neighbourhood protection policies of this Plan. … ”

Policy 5.6.1 “The Plan should be read as a whole to understand its comprehensive and integrative intent as a policy framework for priority setting and decision making.”

As a non-planner, my interpretation of the new/current OP is that it states (in any number of places/ways) the importance of “protecting” stable residential Neighbourhoods and that growth should be directed to Mixed-Use Areas (such as Yonge Street) as well as other non-neighbourhood parts of Toronto.

My contention is that Policy 4.1.1 merely describes what you may find in Neighbourhoods. It is also useful to note that 4.1.1 states “Neighbourhoods are considered physically stable areas made up of residential uses in lower scale buildings such as detached houses, semi-detached houses, duplexes, triplexes and townhouses, as well as interspersed walk-up apartments that are no higher than four storeys. … “. Nothing is mentioned in terms of four storeys with an elevator or mixed-use buildings.

Also, there’s a long list of other uses that may be “provided for” in Neighbourhoods – schools, community centres, small-scale retail, etc. The ZBL actually specifies what is permitted in any given neighbourhood/community. [The entire Policy 4.1.1 and related Sidebar can be found in the pdf file attached to the email Councillor Robinson distributed on January 19th.]

One way to determine the “physical character of a neighbourhood” is through observation of the prevailing building types – mainly single family residential and duplexes for Bedford Park. As well, the ZBL describes more specifically the prevailing building type permitted through maximum height (10 m.), floor space index/density (0.60 x lot area for Bedford Park), front/side/rear lot set-backs, etc. as well as a ban on apartments & semi-detatched triplexes in the case of the Bedford Park R2 area.

Finally, there are five zoning categories for neighbourhoods/residential areas in the former City of Toronto – R1, R2, R3, R4, & R4A. Bedford Park is a R2 area with a special provision that prohibits apartments & semi-detatched triplexes. As another residential zoning example, Teddington Park & Lawrence Park are both R1 “single family” areas with a FSI of 0.35 & 10 m. height limit along with (in some cases) different set-backs, etc. Since the R1 zone category specifically states single family or detached houses, special provisions in the ZBL are not needed to prohibit apartments, etc.

Anyway, trust the above comments are of some help in understanding the OP and ZBL as they should be applied, in my opinion, to 100 Ranleigh Ave.

Best regards, George

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