Grocery plan for vacant lot heads to OMB

It will be months before residents learn the fate of the [url=]proposed redevelopment project[/url] at 1860 Bayview Ave.

The developer, MJB Corporation, is [url=]once again appealing to the Ontario Municipal Board[/url] after the city rejected their application to build a two-storey retail complex at Bayview and Broadway avenues for the second time. The hearing is scheduled to take place on Oct. 18.

The former site of the Brennan Pontiac dealership has sat vacant for more than a year. Ward 26 councillor John Parker said the issue is over how much space the developer has to build on.

“What is in question is not the proposed use, the area has already been zoned for a grocery store,” he said. “The question is the size.”

The site is currently zoned to allow a 5,100 square metre structure with a minimum of 242 parking spaces. The developer is asking the city to allow a 7,620 square metre building with 220 parking spaces.

“They want as much building space as they can with as little parking space as possible,” Parker said.

Residents have said the structure and the activity it would attract would be too dense for the area.

“The concern that most residents have has to do with traffic and parking,” Parker said. “A lot of the neighbours are arguing that they don’t need or want another grocery store.”

Parker said the site plan proposes a Whole Foods grocery store and an LCBO. Currently there is a Metro grocery store at Bayview and Eglinton avenues.

MJB Corporation originally applied for a minor variance to the city’s committee of adjustment in Nov. 2009, which would allow them to build a larger building. It was infinitely deferred on Feb. 17 because the committee decided it was not minor and beyond their scope.

At the same time, the developer had a second application for a minor variance that was refused on July 6 on the grounds that the project was not supported by the community and did not meet the city’s official plan or zoning bylaws.

In fall 2010 MJB Corporation submitted a rezoning and site plan application with the hopes that this would permit them to move forward with the project. The city raised a number of issues with the application, including how the development would affect traffic congestion and parking.

MJB Corporation has now appealed directly to the Ontario Municipal Board, saying the city’s committee of adjustments failed to come to a decision within the allotted time period.

The Ontario Municipal Board will now rule on all the applications in the fall.