Residents of Bedford Park had their first chance to meet with the developer behind a huge new proposal in their neighbourhood, but they say they are still “miles apart” on reaching a middle ground.
The proposal is for 3180-3202 Yonge St., just north of Lawrence. It calls for a rezoning of the area to allow for a nine- to 12-storey mixed-use condo with up to 109 residential units.
The development would take up almost the entire city block between Bedford Park and Woburn Avenue, except for a TD bank that is on the south end.
Residents, represented by the Bedford Park Residents Organization (BPRO), initially were up in arms against the development due to concerns over shadowing, traffic, overlook and density in the neighbourhood. The height of the proposal also goes against the current mid-rise character of the area.
To add to the tension, BPRO president Ted Butler said that the developer, NYX Capital, had not reached out to residents before their application and were not being cooperative.
Now the two parties have formally met for the first time.
“We had a healthy discussion,” Butler said. “[NYX Capital] stands by their proposal, which, of course, is unacceptable to us.”
NYX Capital’s CEO Yashar Fatehi said in a statement that the meeting with residents was an “introductory” one and the “first of many.”
“We discussed their concerns and expect to connect with them again later in the year,” he said.
While Butler said NYX Capital admitted there could be some changes to the proposal, he said they stand by that their “trump card” is the development’s proximity to Lawrence Station.
“They feel they have a right to start converting Yonge and Lawrence to Yonge and Eglinton,” Butler said.
However, Butler asserts there’s a “massive difference” between Yonge and Lawrence and the Bedford Park neighbourhood and Yonge and Eglinton, most notable are issues with traffic and pedestrian safety. For example, Blessed Sacrament Catholic School is right behind the site and requires many cars to be able to stop and pick people up.
“The traffic issue is key,” Butler said.
The proximity to Lawrence Station may help with the developer’s fight for rezoning, though, since the province amended the city’s Midtown in Focus plan to allow for greater densification around transit stations — without any consultation from the city.
Another community meeting will be planned in coordination with the city.
In the meantime, Butler is happy that residents were able to connect with NYX Capital and show that there were “powerful residents associations” involved. Ultimately, residents are hoping that the proposal will fall within city guidelines set for the area, which would limit the development to being a mid-rise, according to Butler.
“There are no more secrets anymore,” he said. “We’re starting from polar opposites and finding a middle ground is going to be a challenge.”