A long-disputed development project at the corner of Orchard View Boulevard and Duplex Avenue is now moving forward after North York Community Council approved the project along with a number of residents’ amendments.
“Basically, everything the community asked for, they got,” said Councillor Karen Stintz, who headed a working group that tabled a list of amendments to the plan recommended by city staff.
Among the changes adopted by council, the building — first proposed in 2002 — would now be taller, but thinner and would have fewer units overall. It would also be set further back from the northern property line. At 20 stories, the site would house a maximum of 223 units, 13 less than a 2008 proposal by the developer.
Still, some members of the working group were not pleased with the outcome.
“They didn’t acknowledge in any way the problem that this development goes all the way up to the (eastern) property line with windows that look over the next-door property,” said Terry Mills, a member of the working group and a candidate running against Stintz in the upcoming election.
“There are four apartments per floor that exclusively rely on looking over the library lands for their view,” said Mills, himself a former planner. “If they build this building in this manner overlooking the library, then any potential to build in a similar manner on the library lands vanishes.”
The Northern District library lands to the east of the proposed development currently house the Stanley Knowles Community Coop, a housing cooperative that specifically caters to people with limited mobility.
Although Mills acknowledged that the library currently has no intention of adding on to its existing site, he said they may wish to do so in the future and suggested a further amendment be added guaranteeing the library’s building rights.
But Stintz disputed the idea that the new building would hinder the library from further development.
“There’s this mystery notion that somehow the library’s rights have been infringed upon and really, nothing is further from the truth,” said Stintz. “There’s no development opportunity before us. If they want to develop in the future, their rights are fully protected.”
Stintz said the working group had twice consulted with Stanley Knowles and the amendments passed by community council covered 70 percent of their requests.
Stintz said the two requests she was not able to broker involved renting car spaces in the new condo’s parking lot and having community access to the building’s fitness facilities.
Overall, however, she said the project would benefit the community.
“(The area) is designated as an apartment neighbourhood. It was expected in the official plan that intensification would be directed into areas that could accommodate it… We’ve worked really hard over the last two years and the community has come to the meetings and asked for things such as a thinner tower, which they got.”
The proposal must now be reviewed by city council. If approved, the new building will replace a parking lot that currently stands on the property, as well as two semi-detached homes at 443 and 445 Duplex Avenue.
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