Art Shoppe dispute headed to OMB

After raising the hackles of both city staff and the community with its proposal for a 38-storey and a 29-storey condominium development on the 2131 Yonge Street and 32 Hillsdale Avenue East location currently occupied by the Art Shoppe, Freed Developments has submitted its application to the Ontario Municipal Board.

A pre-hearing has been set for March 10. City council will seek the application’s refusal at the OMB.

Speaking on behalf of Freed Developments, solicitor Cynthia McDougall told the Toronto and East York Community Council on Nov. 19 the decision to request an OMB hearing was the result of “a very large difference of opinion.”

“The … view, as reflected by the community, is that it’s a mid-rise site only,” she said. “In my view and the client’s team, a tall building — tall buildings — could be accommodated.”

Tim Burkholder, the senior planner in charge of the site, says the Freed application represents an over-intensification of the area. It is outside the Yonge and Eglinton designated urban growth centre, which encourages towers.

“It doesn’t comply with the city’s Official Plan policy with respects to such things as build form, transition down to neighbourhoods areas, and tall building design guidelines,” Burkholder said.

Calling it “inevitable,” South Eglinton Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association board member Jane Auster said she is disappointed but not surprised by the developer’s appeal to the OMB.

SERRA had been involved in discussions between the city, area residents and the developer, who showed no willingness to compromise on its proposal, Auster said.

“As currently presented, we believe the development would literally be in the face of the single family home residents of Soudan and Hillsdale avenues,” she said.

Freed Developments representatives declined comment.

About this article:

By: Eric Emin Wood
Posted: Jan 15 2014 2:45 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto