Community groups come together to oppose Lawrence Park proposal
12-storey condo could be precedent-setting for neighbourhood already at capacity, residents fear
Three community organizations are combining forces to oppose a planned development at 250 Lawrence Ave. W., which has been appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board.
The OMB hearing is set for May 22, and the Lytton Park Residents’ Organization, Old Orchard Grove Ratepayers’ Association and the South Armour Heights Residents’ Association are all raising funds to hire a lawyer and planner to go before the board for the community. Their target is $50,000.
A community meeting was held Feb. 13 to raise awareness of the proposed 12-storey residential apartment building with a height of 39.34 metres. Current height restrictions in the area do not allow for buildings over seven storeys. Graywood Developments, which is also responsible for developing 462 Eastern Ave. and the residences at the Ritz-Carlton, is behind the proposal.
The application for the 205-unit building, which will replace the current three-storey medical building, requires a zoning amendment from neighbourhoods to apartment neighbourhoods.
If the development is approved by the OMB, community members are concerned it will open the door for further intensification, as the current seven-storey cap will be removed.
That’s alarming to LPRO member, and planner, Dalton Wudrich.
“This is the proposal. It’s 50 percent denser than what it is allowable on Avenue Road,” he said. “If we get very strong community direction for specific portions of the project, then we will have to integrate that into the proposal.”
LPRO vice president Linda McCarthy echoed the sentiment, adding the project would put a further onus on the neighbourhood infrastructure, which is already at capacity.
“The risk is, they want to change the zoning from neighbourhood to apartment neighbourhood. Once they do that, there is no height restriction,” she told Streeter, just before the community meeting at Lawrence Park Collegiate Institute. “They’re already starting to develop the south side of Avenue Road.”
Leading the charge at the OMB will be OOGRA member, Debra Satok, who said she was hoping for more support at the community level in order to help their fundraising efforts.
“There are committee members that have gone door-to-door. We focus first on awareness and get people to understand why this is a threat to our community,” she said. “We’re all in this together and you don’t have to live next to this (building) to be affected by it.”
The developer is also proposing a change to sewer and stormwater runoff, which could further exacerbate flooding in the area.
On top of that, public schools in the area are already running at capacity. The location for the community meeting, Lawrence Park, is currently at 140 percent, according to the Toronto District School Board statistics.
Ward 8 trustee, Jennifer Arp, addressed the crowd of a hundred with her concerns regarding the development.
“This is precedent setting for the neighbourhood,” she told Streeter. “If this goes ahead, we will see an increase. All of our schools in the neighbourhood are operating at well over 100 percent capacity.
“I’m a firm and strong believer in local schools and doing everything we can to have children bussed into other neighbourhoods.”
The issue facing the public school board, in addition to capacity, is the lack of access to education development charges from the province. If the TDSB were able to obtain that, they would be able to purchase floors in a condo for future schools, in addition to expanding those already in their possession.
“We are currently working on a lobby to see that regulation change, not only to purchase land but expand the schools we already have,” she said.
Also on hand for the meeting, were Eglinton-Lawrence MPP Mike Colle, and Eglinton-Lawrence councillor Christin Carmichael Greb.
Greb has been vocal in her opposition to the site, dating back to 2015.
“This development is way too big for the site, neighbourhood, street, and traffic. The number of residents would be far too many for this area,” she said. “My opinion doesn’t change. It is what it is. And we’re going to continue to fight this.”
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