Developers pushing the envelope

The excessive amount of development allowed by the city’s planning rules is already jamming our roads, crowding our subways and straining the capacity of our schools. That should be bad enough!

Now we have developers and land speculators who want to build larger, taller and stupider than the rules allow.

In the first part of January alone, I held community meetings on three such applications. The largest of these is at the Sheppard Centre (Yonge Street and Sheppard Avenue) where the developer wants to build a 39-storey condo out of density created with smoke and mirrors. The applicant has asked with a straight face for the city to exempt more than 500,000 square feet from the normal calculations limiting the size and type of building.

On Sheppard East, someone else wants to ignore the city’s rule that controls the height of buildings.

The rule is simple: a building should not be taller than its distance from the property line of a home located outside the development area. In Willowdale, this rule has never been broken. If it’s ignored at one location, you can bet that the same will happen elsewhere.

For Church Avenue, we spent an evening looking at a dismal attempt to shoehorn a 22-unit apartment building in between some existing townhouses. Worse, the owner was attempting to get around the rules for apartments by calling the building a “retirement residence,” even though it lacked any of the features that would make it one.  

I’ll be fighting these develop-ments. If you’d like to help, contact me at

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