Richmond Hill residents ‘horrified’ by triplex plan

Richmond Hill residents ‘horrified’ by triplex plan | Nov 9th 2012

100 people oppose 2 new development projects

991a549f43dea5cfc1cb05fd6b84.jpg Site of proposed triple highrise project. Town planning signs at 10568 Bayview Ave., just south of Elgin Mills Road East in Richmond Hill, tell residents a developer seeks to build three apartment buildings on the site, ranging from 13 to 17 storeys. By Sjoerd Witteveen

More public meetings are on tap for residents concerned about two housing developments being considered for Richmond Hill’s Ward 2.
About 100 people attended a public meeting in council chambers Wednesday night to express their opposition to developers’ plans to build residential projects, one on Major Mackenzie Drive East at Church and another on Bayview Avenue.
Opponents of both projects agreed development is to be expected, but these particular housing projects, they said, are not compatible with their neighbourhoods.
Councillors agreed to hold further meetings with residents and the developers to come up with a compromise.
The largest of the two, on Bayview between Taylor Mills Drive North and Windhurst Gate, would see a high-density development comprised of condominium townhouses and apartment buildings on five acres with 684 residential units.
Many residents said they were “horrified” by the “ludicrous” application, unsuited to the established neighbourhood and likely to cause traffic gridlock. They predicted the three buildings with 13, 16 and 17 storeys would throw long shadows and bring 600 more families into the quiet, close-knit community.
“A lot of folks here are still the original owners and newer families are moving in,” said Brian Hatt of Baymill Ratepayers Association. “All of a sudden, we’ll have people staring down in our back yards from several storeys up.”
“This would be a huge change for the neighbourhood,” said Mike Payne, who lives on nearby Lynette Crescent. “You’re going to dump 2,000 people in the neighbourhood, not to mention the condos going up across the road … It baffles me how you can justify this.”
Ward 2 Councillor Carmine Perrelli said he received more than 200 e-mails or faxes in opposition to the Bayview application by Elginbay Corporation.
“We need to stop this application now because it’s a non-starter. It’s highrise. It’s not suitable for the area,” he said.
Other councillors agreed.
“I find this application doesn’t have merit,” said Regional Councillor Vito Spatafora, noting residents brought forward important points for the planning department to consider because “once it’s built, we’re stuck with it”.
Mr. Perrelli made a motion that he would inform the developer he would host a residents meeting.
That motion nearly derailed proceedings when Regional Councillor Brenda Hogg noted Mr. Perrelli did not hold an earlier meeting with residents before Wednesday’s formal one, something she said usually happens, especially on contentious proposals, without any direction from council.
She said she would not vote in favour of the motion because it isn’t necessary, adding Mr. Perrelli already has a lawsuit against the town over what constitutes a residents meeting.
At that, Councillor Nick Papa pushed back his chair saying, “I’m gonna take off and leave. I don’t want to hear this.”
However, cooler heads prevailed, and the motion was passed unanimously.
A similar meeting will be held to discuss the smaller 87-unit housing development, proposed by Rosetown Suites Inc. for Major Mackenzie and Church Street, but in this case, no formal motion for a meeting was presented before council.
Several residents expressed dismay that their councillor did not facilitate a community discussion before the formal public meeting.
“I’m very disappointed with Councillor Perrelli for not holding a meeting much sooner in this process so the developer could understand and plan for residents’ concerns,” said Church Street resident Susan Browne.
She and others objected to the application because of its density (planned height in excess of six storeys where the official plan calls for four), incompatibility with the nearby heritage district and impact of traffic on side streets.
Residents also criticized the developer for allowing other properties the company owns in the vicinity to fall into disrepair.
Mr. Perrelli, who missed presentations by a number of residents concerned about the Rosetown project, promised to listen to the meeting’s audio recordings later, but warned that if the developer chose to take his plans to the Ontario Municipal Board, it would probably be approved. In fact, he said, it could be increased in size to a previous eight-story proposal.
Mayor Dave Barrow suggested the developer, town and community should discuss the project further.
“The issue is compatibility, quite frankly,” he said.
“It doesn’t quite make the criteria of the official plan or the village core guidelines… If we start in this neighbourhood with this kind of development, then we’re going to see it continue to get slightly higher and slightly denser as it moves down the street.”
As with the Bayview triple apartment proposal, councillors agreed to receive residents’ comments and refer them to staff.
Mr. Perrelli and Mr. Spatafora agreed to jointly host a residents’ meeting concerning the Church Street proposal, including town staff to observe and provide technical advice, and the property owner.
Any amendments or suggestions that result would then be submitted back to town staff.

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Brandon Lee Cell 416-471-0353, HL/Bayview


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