Plan a bad fit for post office site, say residents

Proposal for seven-storey condo 2 Laird Dr. 'won’t fly,' in its current form: Parker

Neighbours bordering the former Postal Station R site in Leaside pleaded with city planners during a lively community meeting on Sept. 24 to refuse a seven-storey condo proposal.

Calling developer Knightstone Capital’s proposal for 2 Laird Dr. an “abomination,” a “cruise ship in Leaside” and a “behemoth,” Leasiders who packed a room in St. Anselm’s Church for a two-hour meeting told the developer, city planners and local councillor John Parker the current design has no place in Leaside.

Neighbours who live within metres of the site were the most impassioned during the lengthy public comment period that followed short presentations, including one by Jonathan Kearns, the project’s architect. Many said the development would restrict sunlight and privacy, leading to an overall resale value decrease for their homes.

“Please be mindful this building would be dreadful in front of our homes,” said Brenda Berge, a resident of Krawchuk Lane. “The current plans would have my house facing a 15-foot wall … and the garbage.”

Berge added: “How would you feel if you were in our shoes?”

When Knightstone’s application proposing a seven-storey, 98-unit condo with underground parking was filed earlier this year, it aroused anger from residents who feel it is out of character with Leaside’s mostly low-rise, single-family homes. The current allowable zoning for the post office land, located at the terminus point of Laird’s industrial zone, is capped at four storeys.

Calling it an “abomination,” another woman who identified herself as a resident of Krawchuk Lane said she will “live in permanent darkness” if the building’s current form is given the go-ahead.

Reading from notes already submitted to the city, the resident said she’d also be subject to a smell and noise pollution given her proximity to the building’s proposed waste disposal area.

“Our houses are in your hands,” she told planners at the meeting.

During a slide presentation, Kearns noted the building is designed with setbacks and stepbacks that in combination will lessen the condo’s visual impact on adjacent residential roads, such as Malcolm and Millwood roads. Kearns noted the building is to feature a green roof, as required by Toronto’s building standards.

“Certainly, we’re very keen to comply with that, and to provide a generous amount of landscaping, not just to green the building, but to provide privacy, screening to our immediate neighbours,” he said.

The impact on area traffic was another matter that figured prominently at the meeting. Several residents noted traffic pressures are already reaching a fevered pitch with the construction of nearby retail complexes further south on Laird.

City planner Steve Forrester said planners are trying to resurrect a North and South Leaside traffic study conducted in the early 2000s to see about mitigating traffic flow concerns.

Though he supports a residential development at the former Canada Post site, Parker expressed his displeasure with the current blueprints.

“This application that we’ve seen before us, it’s not going to fly,” Parker said, prompting loud cheers and applause.

Parker said the community has to come together to identify priorities. However, he cautioned that in opposing the development, the community cannot overplay its hand. He noted the land-use guidelines deem 2 Laird mixed-use, and therefore it is targeted for new growth.

“If we chase this developer away, then it’s the next developer that we have to face,” Parker said.

A final report with staff recommendations is to come before North York Community Council in early 2013.


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By: Karolyn Coorsh
Posted: Sep 27 2012 12:12 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto
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