Howard Park project sparks opposition

Height mismatch with street among criticisms of planned condo development

Ward 14 councillor Gord Perks said a proposed condo development on Howard Park Avenue is still too tall for nearby residents.

The application for the rezoning of 24-66 Howard Park Ave. proposes two new residential buildings: a 6-8 storey building with 104 units to the west and an east building with 6-10 storeys, featuring 96 units. The site is currently zoned as industrial and does not permit residential use.

Perks set up a working group with members from the local residents’ association, Business Improvement Area and residents who live within 120 metres of the site.

The last meeting was in late November, where community members, the city’s planner assigned to the site and representatives from RAW design, the project’s architect, met to discuss the proposal.

“Folks in the neighbourhood were very clear that they thought it was too much,” Perks said. “We’ve been working with the applicant, they’ve come down a lot in terms of how big they want the building to be, but we’re still not satisfied.”

The city’s Avenues and Mid-Rise Buildings Study states the total height of a mid-rise building on an avenue cannot exceed the width of the street on which it fronts.

Perks says Howard Park Avenue is 20 metres wide, which makes for about a six-storey building.

Height is not the only issue. Perks said residents have expressed concern on the kind of materials used for the towers, not having any commercial properties at grade, and how vehicles would access the building.

He said the applicant has been co-operative in trying to meet residents’ concerns.

“We’ve fixed an awful lot of the smaller details, but we still have a disagreement on how big the building would be,” Perks said. “While it would be nice if we could just reduce it to about six storeys and nothing else, it’s actually far more complicated than that.”

Resident Nick Kourakos, who lives across the street and also owns five buildings on Roncesvalles Avenue is concerned about how the development could affect the area.

“It’s going to be good for the local merchants because it will bring more people, but as a small community I don’t think it’s really going to be nicer for us,” he said.

Kourakos is especially concerned about the buildings going up so close to Howard Junior Public School.

“It’s too high of a volume being too close to the school,” he said. “We already know there are a lot of pedophiles here as it is.”

He’s concerned the new buildings will only attract singles and new couples.

According to an Oct. 2011 City of Toronto staff report, only three of the currently proposed 200 units have three bedrooms.

“How’s a young family going to live in a one or two bedroom?” Kourakos said.

He also believes there will not be adequate parking. Currently, a total of 163 vehicular parking spaces are proposed and 200 bicycle spaces are proposed.

Perks said the applicant has worked with rental company AutoShare to have that service available to residents, which would allow them to reduce the number of parking spaces in the building. He feels the current number is reasonable.

“We want to try to come to a balance,” Perks said. “You don’t want to have no parking on site because you’ll create problems on nearby streets, but on the other hand you don’t want to force a whole lot more of automobile dependence in the neighbourhood.”

The developers of the site, Triumph Developments, did not respond to interview requests by press time.

RAW Design, the architects behind the project, said they are conducting ongoing communications with the councillor and community groups and did not feel it appropriate to comment.

The statutory meeting date on the project will be held in the future.

About this article:

By: Omar Mosleh
Posted: Mar 6 2012 4:35 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto