A debate over whether to designate Langdon House a heritage property abruptly ended May 30 when crews demolished the Lawrence Park residence.
The early morning teardown of 140 Dinnick Cres. came as a shock to the community, said local councillor Jaye Robinson. She and many local residents had been hoping to see the residence deemed a heritage property.
“The residents are really upset,” Robinson said hours after the house was razed.
City council was set to debate the residence in early June after heritage staff and North York councillors recommended the property be designated a heritage site.
Lawyer Amber Stewart, who is representing property owners Tim and Charlotte Stanley, confirmed her clients had proceeded with a demolition after winning an appeal at a May 23 Ontario Municipal Board hearing. That followed a permit refusal from at North York community council back in early May.
Langdon House has been the subject of controversy in the months following its purchase in 2011 by the Stanleys from the Langdon family, who had occupied the home since 1930.
In early 2012, the Stanleys applied for a demolition permit with the intent of building a larger residence on the land.
It was granted in February, but revoked a day later following objections from the North York Community Preservation Panel.
At a March community council meeting, North York councillors deferred consideration of the demolition permit, effectively delaying the process so heritage staff could report back on its heritage merits.
Then in May, councillors backed heritage staff recommendations for designation for the Tudor Revival style home.
A heritage designation creates an added layer of protection on a property, requiring special permits for alterations and renovations.
Though Robinson said she personally was “flabbergasted” and “heartbroken” to hear of the demolition, Stewart says her clients have done nothing wrong.
“It’s easy to pitch this as a battle of protecting heritage house, but what people have to understand is that it’s got to be balanced against private property rights.”
She added her clients purchased the house over a year ago, and never made any secret of their wishes to demolish the house.
“It’s not until they apply for a demolition permit that any concerns about a potential heritage designation were raised,” Stewart said. “I don’t think that’s fair.”
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