Leaside Business Park

Employment area policy proposals

The amendment to the provincial definition of “area of employment” narrows the scope of uses from what is currently permitted in areas of employment. In particular, it expressly excludes from the definition institutional uses and commercial uses, including retail and office uses that are not associated with manufacturing, warehousing, and research and development in connection with manufacturing.

Up to now the Leaside and other Business Parks has been protected though Official Plan policies and zoning bylaws, and Ontario Municipal Board decisions that have respected the Employment Lands boundaries and policies therein. However, under Bill 97, Municipal Comprehensive Reviews would no longer be required, creating open season on employment area conversions, creating uncertainty for employers, and reducing future opportunities for Ontario businesses to grow within their markets.

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Tree canopy - Toronto

Infill housing and protecting Toronto’s tree canopy

We strongly support the identification of potential strategies to protect and enhance the City’s tree canopy and growing space for trees, while also supporting infill housing growth in Toronto’s low-rise neighbourhoods.

However, we note the multiple previous reports to, and motions adopted by City Council, as documented by the Long Branch Neighbourhood Association (LBNA) in its PHC submission on the same item that leads to their recommendation that the effort needs to be hastened and expedited.

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New mid-rise construction adjacent to single-family residential area.

Mid-rise buildings rear transition

The rear angular plane guidelines were developed through a comprehensive study in 2010 that resulted in a guideline that the rear transition to abutting low density residential areas be a 45 degree angular plane applied from a height of 3 storeys at 7.5m from the side lot line of the residential property. The 7.5m is to be used for access and green space.

The (proposed) The guidelines omit any consideration of an objective to ensure an appropriate relationship with the adjacent residential neighbourhood, a key consideration for the angular plane regulation.

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Large house in Casa Loma neighbourhood

By-law simplification for low-rise residential zones

FoNTRA supports simple and clear zoning bylaws, but most important we support bylaws that do the work needed for building and maintaining a livable City. As such we are in broad support of most of the report directions and recommendations.

Simplification is also about simple understanding…But, calling a “converted house” a “low rise apartment building” creates confusion as the building forms are quite different.

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Yonge St. at night

Night Economy Review – final report

Most of the members of our member resident associations, like members of other RAs across the City, have little experience with the current Noise Bylaw, little knowledge of the City’s zoning, no knowledge of the City’s night economy objectives, and no direct experience with the issues caused by current night economy type establishments, which do not operate over night.

Some residents participated in initial discussions about general ideas for changes to regulations for bars, restaurants and entertainments venues including permitting night clubs etc. in areas of the City beyond the Downtown. The main message we heard from residents from the affected areas that the entertainment establishments were extremely noisy and disruptive, and that their patrons on the street, were noisy too. And that making complaints often did not result in successful outcomes. The changes to the regulations now being presented in the staff report were not discussed in any detail at these consultations.

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Heartwood condos - Queen St. Wood construction mid-rise

Mid-Rise Buildings – Rear Transition issues

We are providing our comments on the draft proposal that has been the subject of recent public consultations. We are concerned about the proposals that appear to be one-sided and do not reflect an evidence based and careful assessment of the Mid-Rise Guidelines developed by Brooke-McIlroy Planning, dated May 2010.

  1. Important stakeholders were not represented in the consultation process to develop the revised Mid-Rise Guidelines.
    • The process appeared to rely on input/guidance from the development industry to generate a final report and recommendations including draft revised performance standards.
    • There was no similar opportunity for input from residents including those living in the immediately abutting lands and other affected areas
    • The public is now being asked to comment on what appears to be a “done deal”.

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aerial view of planned community

FoNTRA opposes proposed changes to Ontario’s land use planning framework

On April 6, 2023, Ontario announced new components of its Housing Supply Action Plan, which seeks to encourage the construction of 1.5 million homes by 2031. Two key elements of the announcement are the introduction of Bill 97, the Helping Homebuyers, Protecting Tenants Act, 2023, which is currently at second reading stage in the Ontario Legislature, and the release of a draft Provincial Planning Statement, 2023 (the “Statement”), which was out for public comment until August 4, 2023.

FoNTRA’s report concludes that the proposed Provincial Planning Statement (PPS) and the simultaneous repeal of the Growth Plan for the Golden Horseshoe should not proceed since these initiatives are not only harmful but also entirely unnecessary. FoNTRA, respectfully, urges the government to withdraw the proposed Provincial Planning Statement and to maintain the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

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low-rise residential condo under construction at 7 Dale Ave. Toronto

Zoning by-law simplification and modernization for low-rise residential zones

FoNTRA supports the objectives of the Housing Action Plan and looks forward to participating in the upcoming consultations related to implementation of the objectives of “simplification”, “harmonization” and “modernization”.

The report notes that “A key objective of the Plan is that new development be sensitive, gradual and “fit” the existing physical character to respect and reinforce the general physical patterns in Neighbourhoods.”

We agree that this must remain the overriding objective for the consultation process, which is to begin shortly. All neighbourhoods are not all alike and their differences are important in making our City a great place to live.

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man in suit on e-scooter

Planning for an e-scooter pilot

This item concerns a letter from Councillor Saxe which recommends that:

Infrastructure and Environment Committee direct the General Manager, Transportation Services, in consultation with the Toronto Parking Authority, the Executive Director, Environment and Climate, other relevant divisions, agencies, boards and commissions and key stakeholders including the Accessibility Advisory Committee, to report back to the February 2024 meeting of Infrastructure and Environment Committee on a Micro mobility Strategy as part of a comprehensive “Active Transportation Network” for the City of Toronto.

Infrastructure and Environment Committee request that the report include recommendations concerning a possible E-Scooter Rental Pilot Project with the following characteristics (list provided):

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New multiplex housing on High Park Avenue

Defer multiplex decisions until after mayoral election

FoNTRA supports intensification. It sees it as necessary for the city. On the other hand, it wants to be sure that, as the city intensifies, it does it well. It is crucial that Toronto remain green, and, given climate change, that it become greener. And it is important to build an attractive city. The new multiplexes should fit in well with their neighbourhoods. Some neighbourhoods already have duplexes, triplexes, and four-plexes, and often they harmonize with their surroundings. We can look to them for models for building well.

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Ontario Place

FoNTRA supports staff report on redevelopment of Ontario Place

The staff report provides an excellent overview of the complex considerations that must be given to the review of the Province’s planning applications that, if approved, would result in significant changes to this area, that is of provincial, not just local importance. It notes that there are a number of changes proposed which do not comply with City Planning objectives and many concerns issues particularly about the Province’s proposals for the West Island.

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KPMG report - review of Committee of Adjustment

KPMG review of the Committee of Adjustment – some concerns require additional action

The KPMG report states that “concerns have been raised by a number of stakeholders that the process is too complex and inaccessible for many users. Some users have expressed lack of confidence and satisfaction in the process and do not believe the current practice consistently delivers quality decisions. Further, there have also been concerns raised about the public’s ability to effectively participate in the public hearings, both in the traditional in-person model and in the virtual hearing model introduced in 2020.”

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development pipeline report

Residential planning applications in the pipeline will build 43 percent more than the total need by 2051

FoNTRA found the Development Pipeline report to be a useful and important document. The data it presents provide ample evidence on the astounding imbalance between planning approvals and construction of new housing. But the data are also incomplete, because it says nothing about the provision of affordable housing for households with below-median income.

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City of Toronto Application Centre web page

FoNTRA proposes technology improvements in the AIC, Notification Service and new Reporting in response to Bill 109 Report

FoNTRA praises the efforts of the City Planning Division and other City staff to respond to the challenges posed by Bill 109 and its adverse effects on citizen participation in planning issues in Toronto. The proposed process changes have the potential to effect both an increase in review efficiency and an improvement in information availability. The challenge will be to implement these improvements within the very limited application review time permitted by the Provincial Bill.

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Residential street with mixed housing

2023 Housing Action Plan lacks a staff report and Multi-Tenant Housing report raises many new concerns

FoNTRA says that the 2023 Housing Action Plan proposal lacks a staff report justifying the recommendations, and the Multi-Tenant Housing report raised many concerns when previously considered, which require to be further addressed, such as how will the new regulatory framework be enforced?

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FoNTRA raises concerns about the legislated changes made by the Province which are introduced without meaningful consultation with municipalities or the public.

FoNTRA like many across the City are extremely concerned about the legislated changes made by the Province to the City’s development approval system, which are being introduced without meaningful consultation with municipalities or the public. FoNTRA notes, with great concern, the significant reduction of public consultation in the revised application review process, which will deprive the public of important information for consideration and will be extremely detrimental to the outcome.

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Greenbelt river valley

FoNTRA’s objections to proposed Greenbelt changes

The Federation of North Toronto Residents Associations, representing over 30 residents associations in Toronto, submits the following objections on proposed changes to the Greenbelt Plan that would remove or re-designate 15 parcels of land, and add lands in the Paris Galt Moraine area.

Our submission is based on the following points.

1. There is no proven need for this additional land for development.

The government’s Ontario Housing Affordability Task Force stated that: “a shortage of land isn’t the cause of the problem. Land is available, both inside the existing built-up areas and on undeveloped land outside greenbelts.”

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FoNTRA identifies the elements of Bill 23 that are regressive and identify flawed assumptions behind the legislation

FoNTRA states that Bill 23 does many regressive things, but one of the items of most concern is to prohibit any third party (i.e., citizen/resident or community association) appeals of development applications to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT). The Bill also proposes increased powers of the OLT to order costs against the party who loses at a hearing, which is intended to inflict substantial costs on parties to chill their participation. These measures are fundamentally undemocratic, vindictive, and represent an unacceptable diminution of citizens’ rights.

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Ontario Legislature

FoNTRA open letter opposing Bill 23

We believe that the foundation of Bill 23 is flawed and if approved it will result in significant adverse impacts on our communities without any guarantees that the needed housing will be built.

The legislation focuses solely on supply (i.e., construction of new houses), not demand. For example,  the federal and provincial governments could reduce the demand for housing in the overheated GTA by influencing the location of jobs.  And conspicuously, the Bill avoids dealing with affordability, again focusing only on production of new housing. The report assumes that affordability is simply a function of supply, i.e. the idea that more supply will bring down the prices, which is unproven.  The experience is that public sector financial and regulatory intervention (ie. subsidy, inclusive zoning) is required in order to achieve affordable housing.

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FoNTRA cites grave concerns with Bill 23

On November 10th, 2022 the FoNTRA Board sent a Letter of Objection to the Standing Committee on Committee on Heritage, Infrastructure and Cultural Policy with copies to our local MPPs and councillors.

Bill 23 is omnibus legislation that seeks to make significant changes to municipal planning legislation throughout the province. Many residents, community and environmental organizations have begun to raise their concerns in a variety of public forum.

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