Oriole Park Association Annual Meeting
Oriole Park Public School
Thursday November 7, 2019 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
(20 residents attended our meeting)
In attendance: OPA Directors: David McMahon, Heather Harris, Steve Sims, Bruce Huggins, Shelley Ortved, Richard MacFarlane. Special Guests: Councillor Josh Matlow, Ward 12 (St. Paul’s), The Hon. Jill Andrew, M.P.P. (NDP, Culture Critic, Toronto – St. Paul’s), Kaitlyn Forbes, on behalf of The Hon. Carolyn Bennett, M.P. (PC), and Staff Sergeant James Hogan, 53 Division, Toronto Police Services.
Regrets: Lynne Frank, Daryle Hunt, Deborah Staiman, Nancy Bell, and Bob Blake.
David McMahon – Introductory Remarks
Dave presented highlights of our directors’ involvements regarding 1) planning and development, 2) pedestrian and traffic safety, 3) liaison with FoNTRA, Midtown Planning Group, Eglinton Park Advisory Council, Oriole Park Public School, Toronto Police Services, Metrolinx, and Councillor Josh Matlow, and 4) beautification of Oriole Parkway boulevard.
The OPA also communicates with the Eglinton Way BIA and Midtown Yonge BIA.
Dave also listed the different community events that the OPA hosted such as the annual garage sale.
The OPA helps to coordinate requests from the community for special services such as traffic safety. This year, this included the installation of a three-way stop at College View Avenue and Oriole Parkway and the speed hump program, currently underway on Lascelles, Highbourne, Hillsdale, Tranmer, Imperial, and Elmsthorpe, to complement those already in effect.
Our association updates community news on the OPA web site. Please look at our web site on a regular basis and check the news portal. You will find information about Metrolinx construction updates which are posted weekly and any community initiatives taking place that affect the neighbourhood. This includes traffic safety, transportation, and other matters of interest.
OPA Annual Meeting - 2 - November 7, 2019
Kaitlyn Forbes attended on behalf of the Hon. Dr. Carolyn Bennett, M.P. (St. Paul’s). She welcomed resident comments about concerns they may have.
Dave McMahon’s Report for Lynne Frank
The OPA Annual Meeting Minutes, January 24, 2019, were approved.
The OPA updated the Letters Patent to correct our jurisdiction boundaries. We also amended our OPA Constitution to include a Special Advisor position, for Richard MacFarlane.
Dave McMahon announced each OPA board of director who attended, in turn. The OPA Board was voted on and approved by those present.
Dave McMahon, President; Heather Harris, Vice-President; Lynne Frank, Secretary; Steve Sims, Treasurer; Shelley Ortved, Bob Blake, Daryle Hunt, Deborah Staiman, Bruce Huggins, Nancy Bell, Richard MacFarlane, Special Advisor.
Dave gave special thanks to Bruce Huggins, who has done such a great job canvassing residents and getting new OPA members.
Councillor Josh Matlow
Josh Matlow thanked our Oriole Park Association for their dedicated work in the community.
He presented the City Charter concept, essentially, taking back control of our city planning and decision-making process, which is being developed with the support of key spokespersons such as John Sewell and Adam Vaughan.
He spoke about the provincial government amending the Midtown In Focus report and that the former Ontario Municipal Board is being re-instated, in place of the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal. In short, the Ford government is favouring the developer.
OPA Annual Meeting - 3 - November 7, 2019
Councillor Josh Matlow (cont’d)
Josh Matlow spoke about his efforts to limit height at Yonge and Eglinton (Sammy’s Garage at Hillsdale; The Art Shoppe at Soudan) As Josh Matlow said, “We’re trying to use every leverage we can to never lose sight of the public realm, to ensure the character and rhythm of the street is secured for future generations.”
He talked about the need for a “significant public square” on the TTC Buslands, the southwest corner of Yonge/Eglinton. He referred to ‘strata plan’, a policy introduced by former Councillor Michael Walker in February 2009, at City Council, to limit the height there.
Josh Matlow commented, “We have an opportunity to get it right. I want to see a large significant public space, like public spaces in Chicago and New York City.”
He spoke about pedestrian and traffic safety, the need for better enforcement of traffic violations, and the “Vision Zero” initiative supported by the Mayor John Tory and City Council.
Richard MacFarlane presented some background and context to the ‘strata plan’ debate.
On February 24/25, 2009, Councillor Michael Walker spoke about that history, at City Council: “Out of the Minto fiasco came a proposal to review zoning by-law requirements. The Yonge-Eglinton Focused Review group met for several years and we attended all the meetings. We met for four years. It had consensus from the community, City and planning staff, and the TTC. On May 17, 2006, the Toronto Transit Commission approved development control mechanisms where the principal control would be strata, establishing an upper limit. We then held a public meeting at which there was general support for the plan.”
OPA Annual Meeting - 4 - November 7, 2019
Richard MacFarlane (cont’d)
Michael Walker also spoke about a prior commitment to use ‘strata plan’, and also, that there would be a public park: “At the request of the TTC, I held a public meeting on November 15, 2007. I was surprised at the consensus by the public and City officials at this meeting, and the numbers proposed, with real support for commercial and office usage. Four points were established, including the affirmation that a strata plan would be used in the sale of TTC lands, that there would be a fairness monitor to oversee the planning and development process, and that there would be a park for Yonge-Eglinton Centre.”
But on February 24/25, 2009, City Council voted 15 to 16 against Councillor Michael Walker’s motion to have ‘strata plan’, by only one vote, at 12:40 a.m.
There was a reason why the councillors voted down strata plan. It was to try and give the developer(s) the height, with little or no restrictions or limitations. The lawyers and planning consultants can use the terminology to argue their case for more height. These are weasel words that planners use at OMB hearings.
As Councillor Karen Stintz said that evening at City Council: “We have a planning proposal that permits two 40-storey towers. There is a small irony here. If this Council wants to guarantee no political interference, then we should put the strata plans in the plan. If the strata is in place, the development will happen. But it will happen as it should, a smooth process. Without strata plans, there is risk that we will drag out the planning process for another five years. It needs to be consistent. We want to ensure we put things in place with maximum value to the community, the developer, and the TTC. Councillor Michael Walker is proposing a win-win-win solution.”
The City solicitor argued it was premature to use “strata plan” but “may” instead of “shall” could be used. If Council agreed to “shall”, there would have to be an Official Plan amendment, heard at the Ontario Municipal Board, regarding height limits, the solicitor said. So it is not a given about height limits on the TTC Buslands. But it should be. ….5
OPA Annual Meeting - 5 - November 7, 2019
Richard MacFarlane (cont’d)
Richard MacFarlane emphasized that the public park was Councillor Michael Walker’s legacy, his purpose, his contribution to preserve the last bit of open space at Yonge/Eglinton.
This public park has been enshrined in the process of discussions with the City and Oxford Properties, and consultation with area residents. It is very important that we honour this legacy and keep that commitment.
Jill Andrew, M.P.P.
Jill Andrew spoke about honouring our veterans and their supreme sacrifice.
She paid tribute to the OPA, saying that we are one of the most hard working and the oldest ratepayer association. She thanked us for our dedicated service.
She said that Bill 108 was not for rent control or affordable housing. She is very concerned about heritage designation. This is being taken away without much consultation. She mentioned health care and cuts to services, and reduced budgets for teachers, nurses, and seniors in long term care.
Jill invited us to visit her constituency office at 803 St. Clair Avenue West, to talk to us and ask what we do.
Jill concluded by saying, “I want to engage with your association. Please e-mail me with your questions. I will do my best to get your question announced in the Ontario Legislature.”
Richard MacFarlane mentioned that on October 30, 2019, up to 15 ratepayer association representatives attended Queen’s Park, and sat in the Member’s Gallery, to ask Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, about meeting us at Yonge/Eglinton to go on a walking tour.
Jill Andrew wanted to know more about Midtown. She said, “We will work with you to get things done.” ….6
OPA Annual Meeting - 6 - November 7, 2019
Staff Sergeant James Hogan
James Hogan updated us about traffic and crime. Regarding traffic issues, more often than not, they are the result of the LRT construction. This past year, TPS 53 Division had 220 complaints, mostly traffic related. Last year, they issued 12,000 tickets.
There were 400 tickets issued for driving and texting, an average of about 35 tickets issued each day. About 600 tickets are issued in the Yonge/Eglinton area, mostly, for disobeying traffic signs.
In one year, there were a little over 4,000 accidents. There are less than 300 accidents in the OPA district. Fortunately, there were no fatalities.
Regarding crime, assaults are higher here which is somewhat surprising. There was a homicide at the gas station. Accidents are happening, for the most part, on main avenues.
James Hogan said that police coverage and traffic enforcement is not as easy as it appears. The issue is cost. Installation of cameras could help.
Steve Sims – Treasurer’s Report
Steve Sims presented his Treasurer’s Report. The OPA collects membership fees. The association usually receive from $3,000 to $4,000 revenue. Steve encouraged residents to speak to neighbours and inform them about our OPA web site which is updated weekly.
Richard MacFarlane – Planning and Development
Richard MacFarlane focused on residential home development. He pointed out his review of GFA approvals and rejections in the Chaplin and Oriole Park district.
In 2014, a property south of his former home on College View Avenue was redeveloped. The large brick home encroached on three back yards, and construction fill spilled onto the neighbour’s property. ….7/
OPA Annual Meeting - 7 - November 7, 2019
In September 2013, Richard challenged the application at Committee of Adjustment and presented recommendations to mitigate the visual impact. However, the Committee of Adjustment’s ‘Forestry condition’, for the owner to plant tall evergreens for screening, was never implemented.
Richard advised that the OPA has very limited resources to assist residents. Challenges to applications should come from the initiative of immediate neighbours affected. He offered to assist, in the few instances where the proposal greatly exceeds the zoning, GFA and property footprint.
Richard reviewed applications from Year 2010 to 2016. Of the 34 applications, there were only 10 rejections and 1 deferral. The majority, 23, were approved. Generally, the baseline measure for approved GFA has increased to 0.80 in a community that has the maximum allowable at 0.69.
He also reviewed properties from Year 2008 to 2019. The approved GFA has continued to go higher than the maximum allowable. In Year 2008, a Colin Avenue home was approved by the OMB at 0.75. In Year 2013, a Castleknock home was approved by the OMB at 0.836. In Year 2018, a Latimer Avenue house was approved by the LPAT at 1.06.
On November 23, 2017, a decision, by Ian James Lord, Panel Chair of the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal, stood out, regarding 311 Chaplin Crescent: Four variances from that application, having a requested GFA of 1.22, were refused with the statement that the GFA is not to exceed 1.0.
Mr. Lord observed: “Where Council has sought to recognize and encourage higher densities and greater heights, massing and built form, it has done so with specific policies, ‘Avenue designations’, and zoning regulatory adjustments. None of these factors were said to be present or applicable to the subject property [311 Chaplin]. Here, the proposed increment in FSI was couched in a single rationale: ‘that’s what the plans show’.”
Dave McMahon, OPA President, thanked all of our guest speakers and residents who participated at this annual meeting.
Meeting minutes prepared by Richard MacFarlane, Special Advisor,
Oriole Park Association