Chatsworth condo proposal quashed at OMB

A controversial plan for a six-storey condominium on Chatsworth Drive, a residential street near Yonge and Lawrence, has been rejected by the OMB.

The Chatsworth condo proposal did not sit well with the local community, who complained of its height and density, as well as additional traffic it would bring to their local street.

The city also opposed the plans for the property, which had been the site of the Fifth Church of Christ Scientist until its 2013 demolition. The case then went before the Ontario Municipal Board in February for a hearing that lasted more than a week.

In ruling against the proposal, OMB vice-chair Jan de Pencier Seaborn wrote that the applicants frequently tried to draw similarities between their proposal and others. Seaborne found the others had mostly been approved by the city or were adjacent to arterial roads like Yonge Street or Bayview Avenue.

“Great reliance was placed on the approval for seven storeys at 1066 Avenue Rd. and Willowbank Boulevard,” she wrote. “Suffice to say that Avenue Road is not Chatsworth.”

Brad Smith, a Chatsworth resident and member of community group Developing Areas Responsibly in Toronto, who opposed the proposal, said that was a major point his side had argued from the beginning.

“Our interpretation was that these comparables were not in fact comparable,” he said. “And the OMB member ended up agreeing with that.”

DART director and Smith’s neighbour, Peter Brennan, said he hopes any developer takes this case as a warning when considering the next proposal for the property.

“This is a community who are organized, they’re galvanized and they’re funded,” he said. “And they expect the tenets of the Official Plan to be respected.”

The Chatsworth condo proposal had been mired in controversy before building plans were announced. In February 2014, demolition crews started removing trees in the ravine at the back of the property. The trees were protected under the Ravine Act and the company that removed them was later ordered to pay $5,000 per tree removed as a fine, for a total of $35,000.