About the project
Letters from the community
32 Glasgow Street
Toronto, ON M5T 2B9
October 17, 2013
To: The Ontario Municipal Board
Re: 245 – 255 College Street and 39 and 40 Glasgow Street
My name is Julie Lam. My parents and I are co-owners and current residents of 32 Glasgow Street. Our family has lived in this house for over forty-five years. My parents raised their children in this home, as did a handful of fellow residents currently living on our street.
Please remember that the proposed building is on Glasgow Street.
My family and I object to the proposal at 245-255 College Street (previously 245-253 College Street) and 39-40 Glasgow Street, which will be mere steps from our home. A previous proposal for a mere three-storey building on Glasgow was rejected as overdevelopment by the OMB, and I hope you will reject this far-larger building as well.
My parents arrived in Canada in the early 1950s and when we moved to Glasgow Street, there were at least 6 other Chinese families on this street. And they (the parents) still live here. Similar to my parents, they do not speak English well enough to communicate with you, thus I feel that I am representing what I understand to be their views as well.
As I mentioned earlier, we have lived on this street for more than 45 years now. My parents have lived in this area of Toronto since they first arrived in Canada in the 1950s. Before settling on Glasgow Street, we lived on Beverley Street and on Darcy Street.
As a child, my siblings and I would play with our friends and neighbours on this street. Because it was not connected directly to College Street or Spadina, we could play on the street without worrying about traffic. We played street hockey here. Glasgow Street was our football field. It was our baseball diamond. We strung up a badminton net from two porches. We played hide and seek with all the other kids who lived here. I learned how to ride a bicycle on the cobblestones that used to exist here (until they were replaced by asphalt).
Visitors are often surprised about the quaintness and tranquil nature of this street. It often feels like a small town – we know each other. We look out for each other. We help each other out.
Reasons for our Objections
This letter will be outlining some of the objections to this proposed development.
The proposed development of 24 storeys is approximately nineteen storeys higher than any building in the area bounded by Spadina, College, Huron, and Cecil. The Lillian Smith Library is only 4 storeys tall and the former RCC building is about 5 storeys.
The homes on Glasgow Street (which runs from the south of this structure) are mainly historic two-storey homes built in the early 1900s.
From College Street, it is clear that this building will stick out like a sore thumb in this neighbourhood. From the residential point of view, this building will loom over the two-storey single family homes on Glasgow. When you drive north on Glasgow, this imposing building will dominate your impression of a quaint, old, and little neighbourhood.
When we walk out of our house, this imposing building will always be in our peripheral vision since it will be 12 times the height of the houses on the street.
This residential neighbourhood bounded by College Street, Huron Street, Cecil Street, and Spadina Avenue is dominated by two-storey houses. Most of the residences are single family dwellings or two-storey homes where a student population co-exists with many more who call the area home.
On Glasgow Street there are 22 homes of which only 5 houses are not single family homes. According to the 2006 Census, the population density for this part of Toronto is 2.8 people. In our opinion, this current proposal is a 24-storey “rooming house”. The 750+ students living here will increase the population density for this area of Toronto beyond its capacity.
During the past six months the developer/property owner has acquired additional property on College Street – so it has a bigger footprint on the main street but it’s still set for students and is still 24 storeys. As for the number of students, the proposal at the start of 2013 was 753 students – now with more square footage, they are calling for 849 students.
This will be more than 12-times what is allowed for this area. This proposed density is troubling and will no doubt have a negative impact on a stable community and its delicate services.
If this building is allowed to be built, we worry that other parts of the neighbourhood will be pressured to have other high rises built near their homes, thereby jeopardizing and affecting all long-time homeowners and residents who have made this area into a neighbourhood of families and residents with a will to live in a “livable city”.
This proposal has already had a domino effect on the neighbourhood. At the moment, there are two proposed developments within 100 metres of this development – at 247 College Street (a proposed 15 storey development) and at 231-235 College Street (a proposed 19 storey residential development with 2 storey of commercial and underground parking for cars and bicycles).
In our eyes, this student housing proposal that will be operated by a private operator for mainly U of T students in pod environments (where students live 4 to 6 per pod) is essentially a really big rooming house.
According to Chapter 285 of the Toronto Municipal Code, a rooming house is defined as:
A building that contains dwelling rooms and may also contain one (1) or more dwelling units, where:
- The dwelling rooms, in total, are used or designated or intended for use as living accommodation by more than three (3) persons; and
- The living accommodation is provided in exchange for remuneration.Even though this building will be using dons and may be subjected to some University of Toronto guidelines, since it is not going to be operated by the University, it should not be considered an “academic” residence.Current Student PopulationThis proposal will increase the population in a stable area and will add additional stress on our current neighbourhood. As mentioned earlier, there is an existing student population living in this area – many in houses that have been converted into student rooming houses. There is also an apartment building (160 Huron Street) where residents are either students or young working people or small families. Each of these types of residences has checks and balances that monitor their residences.While many students do live in this neighbourhood, most currently live in houses that were converted to student residences and most house no more than 4 to 6 students. To house 849 students in residential houses in this neighbourhood would require 140.5 additional houses (assuming 6 students per house).How many other areas of Toronto have this number of “houses” in an area this size?ParkingThis proposed building does not intend to provide any on-site parking for its residents but does plan to provide bicycle “parking” for bicycles. It is hard to believe that not one single person living in this building will own a car. If a person owns a car, he will need to park somewhere and this “somewhere” will no doubt be in the area. In addition, it is safe to assume that there will be visitors to this property with vehicles.The “no parking” aspect of this project is a concern. During the daytime, parking is at a premium on the street and many times we cannot find a parking spot on the street or on the surrounding streets.Also, we still have an issue with the lack of parking in this neighbourhood for the current residents. Parking is at a minimum especially during the weekends, and on Glasgow Street there is insufficient parking for the people who live on the street. Often one or more of us will need to park on Huron or Cecil because we cannot park our own car on the street where we live.This lack of concession for parking will add more stress to the parking woes we currently endure. While we may be able to find parking at 12 am midnight – why can’t I find parking on my street at 12 pm noon?Workers in the area will often park in our neighbourhood because of its close proximity to the University of Toronto and other businesses in the area. This building will have workers who will also have vehicles. We strongly believe that these people will attempt to park in the neighbourhood and leave their vehicles in thoroughfares, which will result in potentially hazardous congestion, and gridlock.In addition, parking for some 400 bicycles will add to the increased traffic of another kind to the street. Since this bicycle parking area is at the back of the development, we believe that many of the cyclists will use Glasgow Street as a means of accessing College Street or even exiting off the street which will also dramatically change a quiet narrow street.We’re not even talking about what will happen with parking if this development is allowed. That should be considered in the future.Green space and usageThe current proposal has a small area of green space with tailored green lawns and several small trees. While we do like the idea of green space, we have issues with many of the green spaces downtown being used for sleeping and partying.Case in point, the police have often roused people who are creating noise, partying, and sleeping in the Glasgow Street parkette. While I don’t have the actual number of calls to the police, I have heard the frequency of this type of activity is quite high and we even have witnessed it on many occasions.Shadow effectThis building will block a significant portion of the sky to the north of our houses on Glasgow Street. Many may argue that we will still get the same amount of light because the building will have set backs towards the Glasgow Street side but The proposed building height will have the appearance of creating shadows due to the immense size.In fact, when you step on to the sidewalk in front of my house and look left, this structure will obstruct our view to the north. This reminds me of how I feel when I stand in front of the CN Tower (or any high rise building in Toronto) and look up. The only thing you see is a solid wall of concrete.Currently we have a community garden just south of the Lillian Smith library. This garden will lose some of its sunlight if this building is constructed in this location. As someone who doesn’t garden, I still have a great appreciation for those who have maintained this garden for the past fifteen or so years.The shadow effect involves more than physical daylight – it’s the perception of the loss of open air/sky that will affect us personally.Perception of the “loss” of open air/skyAs stated earlier, our house will be a few meters from the property line for this building. In all designs seen, the back of the building will be higher than all the two-storey houses on the street. Even at four storeys, we would feel that this building would overpower the rest of the houses on the street by its sheer height.A development that was proposed to be next to my house (that was not approved by the OMB twice) had been planned to be 1.5 metres higher than my house. The OMB felt that even this short height difference would be a detriment to my living conditions.This development would magnify that difference by its sheer size.As we leave our house on a daily basis, we will see and feel this huge building on the edges of visual perception.GarbageSeven hundred plus students residing in this building will generate a great deal of garbage. We are concerned that the containers for these residents will be located near the back of the building that is part of Glasgow Street. The smells and odours from these containers will affect all of us on the street.The owners of the Epitome Apartments (160 Huron Street) currently have their containers on Glasgow Street and the odours from these containers every summer are extremely noxious. This occurs despite their careful uptake and maintenance of these containers.The garbage trucks that service our street currently back their way on to our small street to dispose of our garbage every week. We are concerned that this proposed residence will result in a greater amount of large truck traffic. Therefore we hope that the building will not use our street in this fashion as the existing buildings do not at present.Other than the residents’ garbage, we are concerned that the litter around this building will become an issue. Currently there is a littering issue on the property and those who maintain the building do not come by frequently enough to take care of the issues. In the past year, we have contacted the City and asked them to help us with this matter.Another issue on garbage is based on what we have seen in the neighbourhood at the end of the academic school year. We are talking about the abandoned possessions of students who do not wish to take some of their property home. Walking through the neighbourhood at the end of the school year, we see that it’s left to the permanent residents and concerned citizens to contact the city in order to have this junk taken care of. Imagine how much 800 students can leave behind at the end of the academic year.
While not all the residents in this building will be smokers, we believe that there will be smokers who live and work in this building. As with many buildings in Toronto, people will smoke where and when they can and we believe that a fair number will be using the back of the building for their habit. I cannot imagine how many cigarette butts we will find every spring when the snow melts and the water runoff will deposit them outside our houses. Even now, when you walk through this area, smokers have left evidence of their presence at the back of 245-255 College Street.
The one and only fire hydrant on this street is currently located on the property being discussed here. The developers have informed us that this hydrant will become part of the building. In many ways, seeing a hydrant on the street has meant security for those who live here. Incorporating it in the building will mean that it will be hidden from view and no one will be readily aware of its existence in case of fire.
So if this fire hydrant is moved into the building, there will not be any fire hydrant at all visible to the human eye to anyone passing by.
Turnaround area for the street
Glasgow Street is a dead end street. As cars park on the east side of the street (the only side which allows parking), there is no turning area for vehicles on the street. Vehicles use the top of the street to navigate their 180 degree turns. If this building is constructed, those who live here will lose this ability to turn their cars around. This has been the method here since the first parked car on Glasgow Street.
In the winter, the city owned snow ploughs often would remove snow from the southern end from Huron lane and south. The northern end will not ploughed as often because there is no turnaround area for these vehicles. Often the north end will get ploughed by the smaller ploughs and not the mid-size ploughs.
Throughout the year, garbage trucks back their way on to the street from Cecil Street. This is due to the fact that they cannot turn their vehicles around on their street.
Emergency and City Owned Vehicles
In early 2012, there were two fires on one of the properties in question.
A garage once stood on one corner of the back property. At each fire, there were at least 6 fire trucks who responded to this fire. Of these 6 trucks, only 1 could make it up the street due to its narrow features at the southern end of the street. All remainder trucks were parked on College Street and Spadina Avenue.
This is a concern for those who live on the northern end of the street if the emergency vehicles have difficulties accessing these homes.
In 2003, I was involved in a separate proposed development on the street. At that time, a representative of the Fire Department stated that he had issues with the street in its current form especially when it came to emergency vehicles. The standard regular sized fire trucks are not able to access the street and he informed us that it is in their “books” that if a fire was to occur on the street, that the largest fire vehicle to be sent would be pumper trucks since they were smaller and would have an easier time navigating the street.
We believe that 750+ students in this residence will create a lot of noise – both sound and light. In terms of noise, the current design of the building will have a garden roof patio for students. If some of the students decide to have a party with both music and drinking, this will create a great deal of noise for the residents who live at the north end of the street.
We already have issues with parties with many of the student population who live in the neighbourhood. This concern is exacerbated if this proposed residence is not under the purview of the University of Toronto.
We are concerned that some of the people will throw items (i.e. garbage, bottles, etc.) off the patio roof and on to the area below.
In terms of light pollution, we are concerned with the amount of light from those who reside at the south end of the building.
Noise from the Building
We are concerned about the noise that may come from this building excluding the human population. For instance, the bicycle parking area is at the back of the building. Noise on this quiet street can carry quite a distance. When people are walking on the street late at night, voices often carry into the houses that front Glasgow Street, disturbing many residents in the late night/early morning.
We are also concerned about the noise from the delivery vans and other trucks during the daytime — especially from idling trucks and garbage trucks.
We believe that most of the noisy mechanicals for this proposed building are located on the roof. We feel that this would also be a detriment for those living closest to this building.
Currently there is one city-owned light on the north end of the street. If this building is constructed in its proposed form, we will lose this light standard. This means more darkness at the north end of the street which will be a security concern for these home owners. This street light represents safety to any one on this street.
Many of the current residents are seniors who are very concerned about the influx of young people on our street. They are concerned about their personal safety from young people who have no emotional ties to the neighbourhood. We believe that this many people may bring an element of danger to current residents.
We who live on the street know our neighbours – those who live on the street and those who walk through our neighbourhood. It will be hard to get to know 800 or more transient students
If we have an issue with a student resident in this building, how will we be able to ensure that these issues have been addressed?
If there are issues inside the building, will the residents be notified especially if our personal safety may be affected or jeopardized?
As mentioned earlier, there are 22 houses on the street. Currently, there are 11 families who have lived here for more than 45 years. One family has lived here since the mid 1970; two have lived here since 2001. That makes 14 homes (two-thirds of the houses) with families who have lived here for more than 10 years. That makes this a very stable neighbourhood.
My parents and many of the other parents who still live on the street are now aged 70+ years. Students who have parties or make a good deal of noise will definitely disrupt their lifestyles especially during the weekends during the academic year. They’re seniors who are hoping to live their retirement years in peace and quiet – 750+ students will definitely have an effect on their lives.
The 750+ students who are slated to live in these residences are only temporary residents. This will be their homes for only 9 or 10 months of the year and there is no guarantee that they will return. These residents are transient in that they will not have any real ties to the neighbourhood.
Other than eating in some of the food and beverage establishments – how many will actually shop in the neighbourhood since the majority won’t have any kitchens? How many will visit the local hardware store? Being students, they may visit the local liquor store or the pubs. So do we need more people who drink and party?
We already have issues with large noisy student parties. The addition of 750+ more is troublesome to say the least. The transitory nature of students means a lack of commitment to the neighbourhood, and policing has not shown itself to be a deterrent to hooligan behavior.
In addition, this establishment would operate as a hotel during the non-academic year. These “visitors” will have no ties to the neighbourhood. Again, this would be a transient population in a building that can house up to 750+ people.
Foundations of the Homes Closest to the Building
The homes on this street are now over 100 years of age (The houses were built between 1890 and 1910). We are concerned that the foundations of many of the homes closest to the proposed development may be damaged or severely compromised with the construction of the building.
We are very concerned about our properties and how they will be able to withstand this type of construction.
All the houses on the street are very close to either the sidewalk (located on the west side) or close to their property lines on the east side.
During times of heavy rain on the street, a “river” between 2 feet and 4 feet may form flowing downstream to the only city sewer grate (that is located near 16 Glasgow Street). The source of this river is currently where this building/property is located.
As a child, my siblings and I would be able to float paper boats down this river (The “river” current was that strong). From our porch, we were witnesses to our own boat races down the middle of our street.
We are concerned that the width of the “river” may become much larger and cause major flooding in the homes and damage to the foundation of the buildings on Glasgow Street if this tall building is built.
Stable Urban Form
This area of Toronto is very stable with very little change to the urban form. Glasgow Street is no different.
In terms of the urban form – when we first moved into our home in 1967, 245 College Street was a storage building (and is operating as such today). Next door was a Hungarian restaurant until the late 1970s when the Credit Union moved in. In the late 1980s to about five years ago, the U of T Press was located at 245. It was vacant for about two years before the current tenants, U of T engineering students, moved in. Currently the back lot is being used as temporary daytime parking – many of which are U of T employees.
There were two garage-like structures that were originally used to store gravestones and other monuments. The original owners moved out in the late 1970s. In the subsequent years, one building was torn down by the owners (on the site currently owned by U of T).
The second building (currently owned by the developer) was demolished in mid-Spring 2012 after suffering through two “fires” within months of each other.
In 1937, two homes at 28-30 Glasgow Street were destroyed by a fire.
In the mid-1980s, the Glasgow Street parkette was built on the site of a former car garage.
The proposed building will definitely change the urban form of our street – and our neighbourhood
We are often subjected to idea of larger buildings with higher densities. Since this project was proposed, there have been at least four other developments proposed on College Street or Spadina Avenue, extremely close to low-density homes. Each project is comparable to or larger than this proposed development.
While many of these are located on the “main streets” of College and Spadina, it is the residents who reside in the two-storey houses behind these “tall” buildings who need to deal with the effects of the aftermath of these buildings.
The local Glasgow residents are the ones who will deal with the day-to-day effects from this building in all the areas of concerns listed above.
Based on the issues discussed, we, my family and I, and the residents of Glasgow Street, object to this development that is proposed for our street. This proposal is too big for this area in terms of height and massing. It’s too much for one little street to handle.
32 Glasgow Street
Toronto, ON, M5T 2B9
From Jenny Friedland, neighbour
July 10, 2012
To: Toronto City Council
Re: TE17.15 at Council 11-12 July 2012
245-251 College Street and 39 & 40 Glasgow Street, Toronto
I am a Glasgow Street resident. I own the property immediately south of the proposed development on the east side of Glasgow. My family (including two children, 8 and 4) opposes the proposed development at 245-251 College Street and 39 and 40 Glasgow St.
I believe I am well placed to comment on the utter unsuitability of this project and the detrimental impact it will have on the street, the neighbourhood and the wider community.
I have lived on Glasgow Street for the past 15 years and in the neighbourhood for the past 30. My great grandparents lived in this neighbourhood almost a century ago. I am a member of the Grange Community Association and the UofT Liaison Committee. I am a director at University Settlement, which is this neighbourhood’s local community centre. I am a graduate of the UofT, earning three degrees from the downtown campus.
This proposed development is ill-advised on all fronts. If it were on College Street alone, it would still be inappropriate. It is out of keeping with the streetscape and as a precedent threatens the stability of the mid-rise built form east and west along College and south along Spadina as well.
More alarming is its impact on Glasgow Street. One need only regard one of the renditions of this proposal to see that neither the developer nor the UofT gave even a morsel of thought to the impact of such a development on the people who actually live on this street. The penultimate proposal placed a nine-storey building along my property line. With this, the view from my children’s window would have gone from the community garden behind the Lillian Smith library to a sheer wall. A cliff of darkness, blanking out the sky, would have engulfed my house and darkened all of the properties to the south. The developer has since offered to move that wall back 9 metres and shorten it somewhat. It is not enough. The initial proposal only proves what little regard the developer had for the residents’ perspective. Their purported compromise does little more.
We have asked the developer to provide architectural drawings showing the enormity of the proposed development looking north from Glasgow Street. They have not provided these drawings and the reason why is obvious. This development, even in its latest rendering, would sit like a behemoth atop this street, stealing its view of the sky and most of its light.
But the detrimental impact of this proposed development goes beyond aesthetics.
Eight years ago, the OMB shut down a proposal to build a triplex at 28 Glasgow Street (merely two properties away from the proposed development). This decision is attached. The board heard evidence of the impact of such increased density on this little street. It also took a view of the site. The board concluded that the street could not sustain the increased density of a triplex.
Now we are asked to approve the development of a 750-plex two doors to the north.
We are not against appropriate development along College Street and we support the university in its quest for increased residential space for its students. This is not the appropriate site for what is proposed.
Furthermore, the fact that none of the units would have a kitchen is a problem. The reliance on a cafeteria-style regime brings a 24/7 industrial complex to this small and discreet long term stable neighbourhood. Furthermore, the design offers no incentive for the inhabitants to support our local markets, by shopping, for example, in Kensington Market.
Temporary parking permits are already limited in this area. 750 new residents would diminish even this limited availability.
Fire and other emergency vehicles already have difficulty getting to the top of this street. This happens even now where both 39 and 40 Glasgow are presently open and accessible parking lots. A building at the top of the street will further decrease the accessibility and safety along this street.
We would approve a mixed-use residence of 8-10 storeys situated on College Street with appropriate green space established on the Glasgow St properties. The residence should allow for longer-term stability by also offering housing to families, and grad-students.
Thank you for considering this opinion. I strongly recommend that City Council oppose this development and refuse this application.
Please be advised that if the matter continues to the OMB, I along with other fellow residents of the neighbourhood will seek standing as a party.
We look forward to the City’s support.
Yours very truly,
Joint letter from Grange Community Association, Harbord Village Residents Association (HVRA), Annex Residents Association, and Huron Sussex Residents Association
July 9, 2012
To: Toronto City Council
Re: TE17.15 at Council 11-12 July 2012
245-251 College Street and 39 & 40 Glasgow Street, Toronto
We ask you to refuse this application by Knightstone KCAP College Inc.
We represent the four neighbourhood associations that surround the University of Toronto and we have a substantial history of working cooperatively with the University.
First, we are concerned for the residents of Glasgow Street which flanks the proposed building. It is a charming community of modest two-storey 19th century houses where many residents are second and third generation family members of the Chinese diaspora following World War II. To the south is the Grange neighbourhood, again predominantly two and two and a half storey houses.
Second, we are concerned about the role of the University of Toronto. This proposal is a radical departure in University policy. It involves the University relinquishing control over land it owns, so a developer can move forward with a proposal the University has said it will not publicly defend.
Third, this proposal to build a 759-bed, 24-storey building adjacent to two storey cottages would not only violate the official plan and zoning by-laws, but it would also leave to the OMB the decision on whether to create a new form of building use: the so-called ‘academic residence’. This would set a precedent which could open the door to unregulated student-hotel land use in downtown neighbourhoods.
Although the proponent wants to describe this building as an “academic residence,” this is a previously unknown building type which has no statutory definition. Furthermore:
(1) It is not on the campus of the University of Toronto;
(2) It is not owned, managed, or in any way controlled by the University of Toronto or any other academic institution;
(3) It is not constructed as a freehold or a leasehold condominium corporation as defined by the Ontario Condominium Act, 1998;
(4) It is not a cooperative student residence described in Chapter 285 8-b of the Toronto Municipal Code;
(5) It is not a rental residential apartment building that conforms to the requirements of the Ontario Building Code.
Considering its physical organization, facilities and management systems taken together, this building will be, in essence, an enormous Class 4 rooming house under Toronto Municipal Code Ch.285 12-c, and must be subject to the applicable by-laws including Ch.629 (Property Standards).
But the building as proposed, with over 700 units, will necessarily be in perpetual violation of the existing municipal code regulations which represent city policy.
The planning and zoning problems were set out in detail in the staff report considered by Toronto and East York Community Council on June 13, 2012. Community Council also read about and heard oral presentations on the issue, including details of OMB decision PL031279 No. 0347, issued February 15, 2005, refusing as overdevelopment a very much smaller proposal nearby on Glasgow Street.
Community Council unanimously refused the current application.
For all the above reasons, City Council should refuse the application as it stands and should support this refusal, if necessary, at the Ontario Municipal Board.
Grange Community Association (GCA), Attn: Ralph Daley, President
Harbord Village Residents Association (HVRA), Attn: Tim Grant, Chair
Annex Residents Association (ARA), Attn: David Harrison, Chair
Huron Sussex Residents Association (HSRO), Attn: Julie Mathien, President
From the Grange Community Association
14 January 2011
To: Toronto East York Community Council
Re: Agenda Item 3.20 – Preliminary Rezoning Application for 245-251 College Street and 39-40 Glasgow Street, Toronto
I am writing on behalf of the Grange Community Association (GCA). This proposal was discussed at our meeting on January 12, 2011.
The GCA does not support this proposal.
The proposed 42-storey tower is not in keeping with the character of the South East Spadina area. It is too tall and does not respect the existing character or proportions of surrounding buildings. Moreover, this proposal can be viewed as institutional expansion that will bring a large transient population of students into what is primarily a residential community.
May I ask that this letter be included in the materials pertaining to this item.
Grange Community Association
12 February 2011
To the City Clerk:
Please be advised that further to the submission made by the GCA to the January meeting of the TEYCC, the Grange Community Association remains totally opposed to the development application as submitted for 245-251 College Street.
We recognise and support the efforts to provide student housing. However, this proposal is perhaps the most insensitive and “out of control” proposal that has ever been presented for the South East Spadina planning district in the four decades that I have lived here.
The height and massing of this development at 42 stories pays no attention to its context and will a create harmful precedent for both College Street and Spadina Avenue
Having discussed this proposal with other residents’ associations that surround the University of Toronto campus, I can say that all are completely mystified by the secrecy of the arrangements between the developer and the university. As well, given the university’s stated direction of increasing undergraduate programs at its Missisauga and Scarborough campuses, this proposal does not appear to be in sync with that objective.
Given the possible impact of this proposal, the area for notification and the groups to be notified must be expanded beyond that recommended by the planning report.
Finally, it is our view that this application should be withdrawn, the application fees should be refunded and the developer should be asked to re-submit a respectful proposal.
Grange Community Association
62 Beverley Street
13 February 2011
To: Toronto-East York Community Council
Re Item: 4.33 245-251 College St.
The Harbord Village Residents’ Association supports the planning report in opposition to this application and urges a further deferral of this matter because it directly impacts not just neighbourhoods, but the entire University of Toronto St. George campus and all the neighbourhoods that surround it.
The University of Toronto is a public institution. It owns the land, has entered into a lease arrangement with the developer, stands to profit from the development, yet refuses to publicly endorse this building proposal that would put a 42-storey tower, mid-block, in a 2.5 storey neighbourhood.
To date, there has been no transparency on the part of the University on the nature of its lease and arrangements with the private developer. Indeed, the University refuses to divulge these agreements, saying the developer has bound it by a confidentiality clause. When the University will not publicly support the rezoning that it, as owner, is requesting, this is an aberrant process. At the very least, the University should appear before you as the true applicant and should advocate for 42 storeys. This is important because the City is bound by transparency rules and should require the same of public institutions appearing before it.
Second, just as this development by the University is brought forward by its surrogate, the University is also engaged with residents on rezoning of the entire St. George campus.
Good faith negotiations have been underway between the University, the councillor and neighbours, for more than a year to redraft the St. George Campus Part II plan, which anticipates the creation of many new building sites on campus―all of which could be impacted by this proposal. But the lands outside the campus boundaries, owned by the University―lands that could impact the part II planning—have been excluded from those deliberations. In view of this application, this is contrary to the public interest.
Third, this is the first of many anticipated private-public partnerships on and around the St. George campus of the University of Toronto. It sets a precedent for the University’s plans to expand the Victorian building to be occupied by the Faculty of Architecture at 1 Spadina Circle, and developments to the north on Spadina. Getting the rules right on private-public accountability is essential, otherwise all public institutions will be able to shield themselves from responsibility for proposals set forth by their partners.
Finally, it is essential to have a contextual plan or Visioning Study for College Street and environs. The University, neighbours and the City began exploring ways of going about this at the last University of Toronto Area Liaison Committee meeting on January 25, 2011. All parties agree a plan is not only desireable, but necessary.
We need a time out.
We believe the project should be deferred until:
- the University of Toronto, as owner of the property, has publicly declared its support of the proposal before you in all its detail;
- lease arrangements undertaken by the University with the developer are made public, and
- transparent and open public consultations have taken place with neighbours, the City, the Councillor, the University and the developer and the plan modified to ensure the the stability of the surrounding neighbourhoods;
- until a proper avenue or visioning study of College Street, particularly the College/Spadina intersection, examining but not restricted to, massing, heights, neighbourhood transitions, density, and Heritage, is complete.
We cannot afford to get development in this part of Toronto wrong.
Harbord Village Residents’ Association
Rory Gus Sinclair
Harbord Village Residents’ Association
15 February 2011
To: Toronto-East York Community Council
Re Item: 4.33 245-251 College St.
The Huron Sussex Residents Organization (HSRO) is opposed to this application, and supports the City of Toronto planning report. We are concerned about its impact on the surrounding neighbourhoods for the following reasons:
- The building height is way out of proportion to other buildings in the area, and will set an inappropriate precedent for height and density for the area before a proper visioning study for College Street, between University Avenue and Bathurst, is initiated and completed.
- We have concerns about the lack of transparency with respect to the agreement between the University of Toronto, which wants to lease the land to the developer, and the developer.
Therefore, we urgently request a further deferral of this matter until the above concerns have been addressed.
For many years, the HSRO, along with the other residents organizations for the neighbourhoods that surround the University, through a City-University Liaison Committee, mandated by the City of Toronto, have held ongoing discussions with the University about its development projects and their possible impact on our neighbourhoods. Currently, this includes discussion of rezoning of development sites in the Part II plan for the University precinct. The transparency with which these discussions are held is in stark contrast to what has happened to date with this development proposal. If the University wants to enter into partnerships or lease arrangements with private developers, we expect the same level of transparency in discussions of such projects, particularly as they may set inappropriate precedents for rezoning of University institutional lands to non-institutional uses, which is what this project may do.
A deferral to allow time to address these critical issues is essential.
Huron Sussex Residents Organization
Huron Sussex Residents Organization
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