Some neighbourhood residents are not happy about the latest big development application submitted to the city of Toronto in an area mostly consisting of two- and three-storey buildings — Yonge and Lawrence.
The development application is for 3180-3202 Yonge St., between Bedford Park and Woburn Avenue, a little north of Lawrence.
The developer, NYX Capital, is requesting a rezoning of the block to allow for a mixed-use building of nine to 12 storeys with 109 residential units and five commercial retail units on the ground floor.
The zoning currently allows for a mid-rise up to nine storeys tall, according to local councillor Mike Colle.
The development takes up nearly a whole city block that currently hosts 12 two-storey residential and retail buildings.
The design includes a step-down from 12 to nine storeys on its north end and a design that NYX Capital CEO Yashar Fatehi described as a “blend of traditional styles with a modern look” in a statement.
There will be a rooftop terrace to provide green space to residents as well as private terraces.
The 109 residential units will consist of 15 one-bedroom-with-den, 38 two-bedroom, 44 two-bedroom-with-den and 12 three-bedroom, and there will be 91 parking spots within two storeys of underground parking, plus 83 bicycle spots.
Residents and Colle, though, are not happy with the proposal as they feel the density is too great considering the parameters of the area.
Colle explained that the area is already short on green space, traffic is a problem, and the local schools — such as Blessed Sacrament Catholic School — are already full. That’s not to mention shadows cast from the development would limit sunlight for the properties behind it, according to Colle.
“[This proposal] doesn’t fit the character of the neighbourhood,” he said. “The neighbourhood is designed for mid-rises.”
Colle is worried that if this proposal goes through, it will leave no space for residents to live their lives in the neighbourhood and enjoy themselves.
“I don’t know where they would go to walk their dog or sit and have a cup of tea,” he said. “There’s no space outdoors.”
While Colle knows that redevelopment is inevitable, he thinks that it should be an appropriate density in order to maintain the integrity and continuity of the neighbourhood.
“It’s got to be an appropriate beginning,” he said. “Just because there’s a subway entrance nearby doesn’t give them the green light to increase density beyond what city planners think is reasonable.”
Colle was referencing the amendments the province made to the city’s growth plan, “Midtown in Focus,” to allow for developments of greater density near transit stations. However, since the developer-friendly policy has been put in place, huge buildings have been proposed across the city in mid-rise neighbourhoods, going against city planning guidelines.
Colle said the city is already stretched to the limit and can’t feasibly outpace infrastructure to accommodate the higher density.
In response to these concerns, Fatehi said that the rooftop terrace will provide “more green space compared to what is there now,” and that the step-down of the building was done intentionally to minimize shadows on nearby residences, and there will be enough parking for residents on-site.
Ultimately, Fatehi said the current height of the development is justified due to the proximity to Lawrence station.
“More housing on transit just makes sense,” he said. “Especially when the transit station is under-utilized like the Yonge/Lawrence station.”
While Fatehi said he is more than happy to talk to the community, Ted Butler, president of Bedford Park Residents Organization (BPRO), said that NYX Capital did not reach out to residents before the submission and have not been cooperative.
“It’s war at this point,” he said. “The neighbourhood will mobilize against this.”
Butler has the same concerns about amenities being stretched as Colle has and said it is his duty to stand up for the residents who may be impacted by the development.
The development application is currently in the very early stages and is awaiting a preliminary report from the city, which will be followed by a public meeting before it goes to city council for approval.