At least three parties are anxiously awaiting a ruling from the Ontario Municipal Board regarding a proposed townhouse development at Bayview Avenue and York Road.
Both the city and the York Mills Residents’ Association oppose the proposed development at 2500 Bayview Ave. which would see eight, 3-storey townhouses constructed on what is currently a two-lot property.
“I feel hopeful that this one will be decided in favour of the residents and I think we have a good chance of winning it,” said David Bawden, president of the York Mills Residents Association.
In early February, the OMB reviewed the case in a three-day hearing attended by lawyers for the city, the residents association and the property owner, Reza Akbari.
Akbari, who could not be reached for comment, first filed an application for a zoning change in January of 2009. However, the city failed to respond within 180 days, giving him the right to take the matter directly to the OMB, the final arbiter of such disputes.
An October report by the North York District Community Planning Office outlined numerous concerns including increased traffic, loss of mature trees, a loss of character to the neighborhood and contravention of the city’s Official Plan for neighbourhoods.
Residents sounded many of those same concerns as well.
“It’s the entrance to York Road and it would change the whole character there,” said Bawden.
So much so, the residents felt, that they raised $25,000 in order to send an independent planner and lawyer to represent them at the OMB hearing rather than relying on the city to represent their needs.
“It would be a good development if it was one new house or two new houses,” said Bawden. “We’re not against somebody putting something up there … But an eight unit town house is way beyond what we can envision there,” he said.
“You can’t blame the guy for wanting to make the most out of his land,” said Bawden, referring to Akbari. “But he makes his money and doesn’t stay there to live with consequences.”
Although the site falls within the jurisdiction of councilor Cliff Jenkins, he could not comment, citing a conflict of interest, his own home being within close proximity to the development. Instead, the issue is being managed by Willowdale councilor, John Filion.
A decision by the OMB is expected in early March.
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