Leaside residents don’t want huge 34-storey tower on slim gas station site

A local residents’ association is ready to battle a developer over a proposed 34-storey condominium building that would be located at 1840 Bayview Ave.

A 10-day Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) hearing is set to begin this spring to look at the intricacies of the proposal of the mixed-use building. The ongoing debate over the development is under scrutiny by the OLT due to an appeal driven by local opposition.

In a June 2023 letter, the Leaside Residents’ Association (LRA) voiced concerns in their response to the City of Toronto’s appeal report. The association argues that the proposed development, located at the site of the current Bayview and Broadway Esso Station, is out of scale with the neighbourhood’s planning framework and could have adverse impacts on the community.

According to the LRA, the development’s scale and density are inconsistent with the Official Plan Amendment 405, which envisions lower densities moving eastward from Yonge and Eglinton to the Leaside node.

“The proposed development is located within the ‘secondary Zone.’ This location is therefore expected to have transit supportive development, but at a lower intensity than the ‘station core.’ In addition, it is expected that the proposed development will transition down in height and scale to the surrounding neighbourhood lands” the LRA letter states.

1840 Bayview
Rendering of the proposed development at 1840 Bayview Ave.

The proposed building would contain 377 dwellings and 202 square metres of ground floor retail space fronting onto Bayview Avenue. According to the LRA, the proposed development falls within the Bayview Focus Area—an area that is intended to be predominantly midrise, notes the LRA.

“In the version of OP Amd 405 adopted by the City, the City indicated a maximum of 8 storeys was appropriate for the site. The subject proposal is more than 4x higher than what the City felt was appropriate,” the letter read, in part.

“For the City to accept a 34 storey height for the subject proposal would run counter to the above-noted approved Official Plan policies and would create a precedent for any future proposal within the Focus Area. If 20-35 storeys is accepted as of right anywhere within the Bayview Focus Area, the result would be excessive density, plus situations where tall buildings are immediately abutting low density development with minimal transition.”

The LRA also raised concerns about the potential visual impact on the neighbourhood due to the building’s elevated location, potential wind effects, and its proximity to Sunnybrook Hospital’s heliport operations. The association argues that the density of the proposed building is much higher than that of recently approved buildings in the vicinity, reflecting an attempt to overdevelop a small site.

In an OLT hearing that took place on July 19, 2023—the first Case Management Conference for the 1840 Bayview Avenue proposal—steps were taken to address the appeals initiated due to the city council’s delayed decision on the project’s zoning amendment. The tribunal recognized the community interest in the case by granting participant status to multiple local associations, including the Leaside Residents Association.

A merit hearing is scheduled for March 18, 2024, and a comprehensive 10-day hearing is set to begin on May 27, 2024, via video conference, to look at the details of the proposal and its compliance with city planning regulations.

Click here for more information on the OLT case details.

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