City has ‘jumped the gun’ according to group opposed to midtown condo plan

City staff are recommending approval of a 12-storey condo development to takeover the site of a beloved neighbourhood hub at Yonge and Roxborough, and the local residents association says city planners are jumping the gun.

The development at 1080-1088 Yonge St. is located at the southwest intersection where a small retail plaza is located that includes a busy Starbuck’s, a popular sandwich shop and other amenities.

A city staff report, scheduled to arrive at Toronto & East York Community Council later this month, recommends “approval of the application to amend the Official Plan and Zoning By-law to permit a 12-storey mixed-use building at the southwest corner of Yonge Street and Roxborough Street West. The proposed building will have 28 dwelling units, with 1,390 square metres of commercial space on the ground and second floor.”

When the project was proposed, the ABC Residents Association (ABCRA) has issues with certain parts the development plan include the way the 12-storey building transitions to the local low-rise neighbourhood immediately to the west of the site. And, despite the developer making some changes to the plan, that remains the case.

“We’re not satisfied,” said John Caliendo, executive director of ABCRA. “We’ve asked councillor Dianne Saxe to defer the item not oppose it, not refuse it, but defer it. We think there’s still some small but important improvements.”

Caliendo used the example of another development just north of Roxborough where discussions with the development team lead to a successful outcome for all involved.

“We had a developer who was very willing and able to sit down with ourselves and the City, but we took the lead and we we achieved an excellent outcome specifically as it relates to transitioning from the building on Yonge to the lower houses on Roxborough, Marlborough, etc, up there,” he explained. “So in this case, our concern is the transition is not yet good enough. Some very small changes can make the development work much more effectively in terms of transitioning to the neighbourhoods. So the answer is no, we’re not ready to support it.”

According to the staff report from city planning, the developer agreed to a number of revisions including the following:

  • Increased setback to centre line of lane from 4.51 to 5.15 metres;
  • Increased stepback above streetwall on Yonge Street from 1.5 to 2 metres;
  • Increased setback for the north portion of the ground floor along Yonge Street from 0 to 1.5 metres;
  • Decreased building height closest to Neighbourhoods from 6 to 4 storeys;
  • Added additional stepback along south side of building at the tenth floor;
  • Added additional street tree at corner of Yonge Street and Alcorn Street; and,
  • Increased lane widening conveyance from 1.17 to 1.67 metres along the north end,

    and from 0.26 to 0.76 metres along the south end of the lane.

But, that is not good enough, according to ABCRA.

“We’re hoping the developer will come to the table. We have a whole bunch of experts who have prepared an analysis of how it can be improved,” Caliendo said. “And again, it’s not a big ask, right? We’re frankly disappointed the city planners have jumped the gun.”

The development is just one of a number of planned towers that will soon descend onto Yonge Street in midtown Toronto, including a 15-storey tower across the street at 1087-1091 Yonge St., which city planning staff are also recommending for approval this month. 

The development application will be considered by Toronto and East York Community Council on June 22, and depending on what happens at that meeting, it could come to city council on July 19.

Article exclusive to STREETS OF TORONTO