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WBCA Position on the Uniform Developments Zoning Application

posted Sep 8, 2011, 6:05 AM by Westboro Beach Community Association   [ updated Nov 18, 2014, 6:15 PM by Westboro Beach Community Association ]
Hello;

The following is the WBCA Board's position on Uniform Developments zoning application for the Former Fendor property at 335 Roosevelt.

WBCA Executive

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Issue

Uniform Urban Developments wants to build two high-rise towers (one 16 and one 14 storey building) on the  former Fendor site (335 Roosevelt).   This is almost 3 times the height that is permitted under the current zoning.

Community Position

The communities on both sides of the transitway, do not want these high-rise towers.

We want the existing zoning to be respected.  We also want meaningful community consultation about how the former Fendor property should be developed, within the existing zoning and respecting City and Provincial planning guidelines.

Rationale

To date, consultations with the developer have not been meaningful.  This is because the developer has not submitted any reasonable, thoughtful designs that fit within current zoning laws and planning guidelines.  Instead, he has compared his preferred design to a purely hypothetical, massive and unattractive building.

This comparison seems to serve a two-fold purpose, namely to establish the maximum square footage that could possibly be built on the property under current zoning rules, and to predispose the community to accepting his more appealing design.

The choice between the hypothetical building and the proposed towers is a false one.  It avoids the real question, which is what is an appropriate design for the building that would fit within the current rules and complement the existing neighbourhood.

Why does the developer wish to build higher than is currently allowed on the property?  We think it is because condominiums with River views sell for much, much more than ones without.  That is what is really at issue here.  

The developer is a very reputable builder.  We have every confidence that he can erect an attractive condominium that is consistent with all applicable urban planning guidelines, within the current zoning bylaws and that is supported by the community.

When local residents moved in and poured their life savings into their homes, they did not expect that they would some day face the prospect of being surrounded by high-rises.

The proposed imposing structures will change the character of the neighbourhood and will reduce the use and enjoyment of our properties, and therefore the value of our properties by:
  • Dominating the skyline and visual landscape for several kilometres in every direction and dwarfing surrounding homes on both sides of the transitway
  • Replacing our current view of the sky with two imposing towers and darkening our homes in winter when we most need sunlight for health and happiness.  Homes on Workman Avenue currently enjoy bright winter sun through their front windows from 10 am onward even on the shortest day of the year.  These buildings will put us in darkness all day, except for very brief interludes when the sun passes between the buildings, and late in the day, when there is virtually no sunshine left.
  • Significantly reducing our access to solar energy by creating large and persistent shadows.  On Workman Avenue and  nearby properties, this will increase winter heating costs (by approximately 15%) and virtually eliminate those homes’ solar energy potential in the winter (for example, from roof-mounted panels that generate electricity or hot water).  These impacts represent real and significant economic costs to these homes, and are contrary to provincial and federal programs to promote rooftop solar energy.
  • Providing a perfect vantage point for anyone who might  want to invade our privacy; and
  • Contributing to increasing traffic in the neighbourhood.

Conclusion

The zoning of properties is a public policy decision.  It needs to balance the profit motive with the needs of the community and the overall public interest.

 We call on the Planning Committee to deny the Developer’s application to  change the zoning for the property at 335 Roosevelt.

We call on the Developer, Uniform Urban Developments, to withdraw their application for a zoning change and to propose, in a spirit of true consultation with the community, a design that fits within the existing zoning, style and character of the neighbourhood, meets all applicable City and Provincial guidelines, and is acceptable to the community.

We invite the developer to meet with the community to discuss thoughtful alternative designs that fit within the community, will minimize the negative effects described above, and that respect the current zoning and all applicable City and provincial guidelines.

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