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Tempers Flare at Community Consultation on Ossington Condos

A meeting between residents and 109Oz's developer devolved into a shouting match.

Rendering by Reserve Properties.

The proposed six-storey condominium development for 109 Ossington (see yesterday’s post) ran into a wall of opposition at a community-consultation meeting last night.

The meeting, promoted heavily via neighbourhood flyers, local announcements, and Ward 19 Councillor Mike Layton’s website, drew a capacity crowd to the Trinity-Bellwoods community centre. The overflow from the meeting room originally reserved for the event prompted a move downstairs to the gymnasium.

On hand were city planner Francis Kwashi, Councillor Layton, and several representatives from developer Reserve Properties, along with principals Sheldon and Shane Fenton. They were not especially well received.

The presence of some spirited neighbourhood opposition is a matter of public record already. Apart from previous debates over the size and scale of the proposed building, the tone for last night’s meeting was influenced by a loud outdoor party last Thursday at the site of the proposed development, where there’s currently a sales centre. That party prompted a number of noise complaints and fuelled local concerns about 109Oz (that’s what the proposed development is called) becoming a “party building.” While it may not be fair to assume that’s what will happen, it’s not hard to see how those perceptions were reinforced.

One observation about these community-consultation meetings, held under the aegis of the City’s planning division: their structure might bear some re-examination. Currently, the planner gets to speak, then the developer/applicant gets to make a presentation, and only then do members of the public get to ask questions or make comments. The time allotted for those comments means, almost inevitably, that people will have very little time in which to express themselves, especially compared to the applicants. The process is almost designed to make them look angry and irrational. The subsequent media narrative that paints them as loud unruly NIMBYs isn’t necessarily accurate, but it’s quite predictable—and very hard to shake.

That said, it’s hard to believe anyone came out of the meeting looking good. While there are plenty of flaws in the process, and plenty of reasons to be concerned about the 109Oz plan as it currently stands (disclosure: I live in the neighbourhood and share some of those concerns), it’s hard to see what was accomplished by letting the meeting degenerate into a shouting match. Do we really need to review the differences between spirited debate, on one hand, and hostility and name-calling on the other? Sadly, for some, it appears we do.

The scene at the consultation meeting.

Emotions were running high, certainly. And there were plenty of worthwhile questions raised about traffic, parking, the nature of the first-floor retail space and who would occupy it, the size of the units, and the demographics of the target market. And the developers and their team missed a couple of opportunities to build bridges by not providing satisfactory answers to some of those questions. (Case in point: one resident’s announcement during the Q&A: “I don’t want to walk by a big chain store. That’s not what Ossington is.” Much applause. No reassuring response from Reserve.)

There was more. There are planning guidelines applicable to Ossington, and it wasn’t clear that the 109Oz proposal falls within those guidelines. That’s part of the reason the developer is seeking a zoning amendment. But one of the things that kept cropping up during the developer’s presentation was a repetition, several times, of the expression “mid-rise.” While it wasn’t clear, amid the shouting, where low-rise ends and mid-rise begins, it was clear that the question of what form intensification along Ossington should take is very much centred on that divergence. The way the developer’s consultants were talking, it sounded a lot like that fundamental issue had already been resolved, and that a future of mid-rise intensification is a fait accompli. That was an obvious emotional trigger for many of the people in the room, who were clearly invested in what they see as Ossington’s current low-rise character.

Also an unavoidable part of the context: reports of vacancies in the City planning department that are going unfilled because of a hiring freeze. Fewer planning staff juggling more files means less effective oversight, and administrative bottlenecks. It’s difficult to see how that makes for good planning.

But surely these questions and others are better discussed in an atmosphere of calm and rational debate and mutual respect. We don’t have to agree with one another. It’s that civility thing.

Is there room for an ad hoc residents’ committee to negotiate changes with Reserve Properties? Is Reserve Properties willing to show flexibility? Maybe, and maybe not, but worth a try, surely?

Bottom line: collaborative is better than confrontational. If the Fentons took anything away from last night beyond a room full of angry people yelling at them, it’s hard to think what that might have been. Worst case, perhaps this will end up at the Ontario Municipal Board, but isn’t it in all of our interests to try and avoid that?

Photo by Sol Chrom.

Comments

  • Michael S.

    “There are planning guidelines applicable to Ossington, and it wasn’t clear that the 109Oz proposal falls within those guidelines.” Well, no. It’s quite clear that the development falls outside all existing city guidelines. Ossington is a low-rise area; densification is planned here up to the 14m and 2.5 density limits. There aren’t ANY city guidelines which say anything different than that.

    As for collaboration, here’s the developer in a NOW story today: “Fenton says that while he’s open to hearing feedback from the community, he’s unlikely to budge on the building’s size, which he’s adamant is appropriate to the burgeoning district.”

    The local residents’ association has invited Reserve Properties to their meetings many times, and Reserve has never shown up. They wouldn’t have been at the meeting last night if it weren’t required. With a developer that is “adamant” about non-collaboration, the only remaining option for the community is making the development as long and as expensive as possible, to discourage the next developer from behaving the same way.

    • http://www.facebook.com/benj.hellie Benj Hellie

      Hi Michael, good comment. Of course all it means if Shane is going to “budge” on height is that he’s going to keep asking us for permission to overbuild to the same degree. Go ahead, keep asking, and we’ll keep telling you to get lost.

    • Anonymous

      In this city, pretty much any development beyond the status quo requires a zoning amendment. The developer would be wise to negotiate openly with the community.

  • MostlyCivil

    You’ve all done a lovely job of sprucing up the hood. Lots of restaurants, stuff to do, and now you’re surprised that people what to live there. Urban renewal continues as usual

    It’s so cute when I see this happening for the 20th time, and all the same arguments come up. My favourite line was “I don’t want to walk by a big chain store. That’s not what Ossington is.”

    I suspect the nice folks who lived there before you (and worked in the grages and laundromats) probably said something like “A bar full of people paying 18 bucks for a sandwich? That’s not what Ossington is!”.

    Enjoy it while you can. Move to the next spot. Lather, rinse, repeat.

    • Anonymous

      Nailed it. Development brings change and, unfortunately, it doesn’t necessarily mirror the pipe dreams of current residents.I suspect this building will be approved with the total number of parking spots reduced and maybe a floor or two chopped off the top.

      • http://www.facebook.com/benj.hellie Benj Hellie

        The thing you guys are overlooking is that Planning officially recognizes Ossington as a destination, and not an Avenue. Planning is the ultimate city authority for what can be built, and our sense is that Planning recognizes that in this case destination = vibe = function as a piazza = lowrise. “Two floors chopped off” is lowrise, which would be fine with SGO (assuming our other Asks are also met).

        There is nothing inevitable about bad development. There are laws to protect homeowner property values, and the assumption that the government is always going to allow those laws to be changed and broken so developers can get filthy rich is just plain false.

        • Anonymous

          Under Ontario law, the planning department (or any other municipal agency) has no ability to restrict chain retailers or target markets for private residential units.

          • BTG

            The one thing that can be done is to require in the bylaw that retail stores be limited in size. On Queen East in The Beach, there are examples of retail being limited to 325 sq m (except for banks, for some reason) – you might still get “chain” stores or franchises, but they would be small ones.

  • Vampchick21

    I really don’t think a shouting match will solve any of the issues that this development has with the residents. I suppose one way to solve that would be to actually allow more time for the audience to speak than is currently allotted.

    • Margaret_416

      It was embarrassing to listen to the level of discussion last night from area residents – it demonstrated: small-mindedness, fear of development, and unwillingness to share a neighbourhood that belongs to everyone in Toronto, and result hatred for the hope that Toronto will become a better and more livable and more exciting city. Except, it seems, for the very wealthy who can afford homes in this area. I was embarrassed by the tone and the downright stupidity of many who spoke.

      • http://www.facebook.com/benj.hellie Benj Hellie

        Bwahahaha, ‘small-mindedness’! The only small-minded attitudes on display around here are “I only care about my own bank account”, “everybody duck, the big bad developers are in town, maybe they won’t hurt us”, and “I’m afraid to defend my own property values and my neighbourhood culture so anyone who stands up for themself is a L000Zr”.

        This is a neighbourhood full of creative people at the forefront of the nation’s ideas, arts, culture, and yes urban-design thinking. ‘Small-minded’ my neighbours are certainly not!

        • Anonymous

          Characterizing everyone who isn’t a card-carrying member of SGO as selfish developer apologists is hardly evidence of open-mindedness.

          • http://www.smartgrowthforossington.ca/ Jessica Wilson

            Neither Benj nor anyone else has done that, so what’s your complaint?

          • Anonymous

            He did in the post I replied to.

          • http://www.smartgrowthforossington.ca/ Jessica Wilson

            No, he didn’t. In the post you mention, he did not mention SGO members. And as of yet, we don’t carry cards, but hey, that’s a good idea!

          • Anonymous

            Please work on your reading comprehension.

        • Anonymous

          Ten years ago, this neighbourhood “full of creative people at the forefront of the nation’s ideas, arts, culture” was a working-class area that has since been gentrified out of existence. Not that that’s a bad thing entirely—the area has improved in many ways. But don’t be so self-aggrandizing about you are your neighbours are. Pompous as hell. And please, further development on your neighbourhood’s commercial street is not going to lower your property values.

          I’ve avoided Ossington the last little while because it’s been a hotbed of drunks, bars, and little else. Now I guess I’ll avoid it because it’s Toronto new centre of upwardly mobile, urban-professional smugness.

      • http://www.smartgrowthforossington.ca/ Jessica Wilson

        Just as there were only a few isolated moments of “shouting”, there were only a few isolated moments of “stupidity”. Many people have difficulty framing their thoughts in public, especially when they are being forced to rush through their comments in a bare 2 minutes (down from the 5 minutes that is usually granted).

        Anyway, if you would like to see more specific details about the many good reasons to reject the incursion of this midrise trojan horse into lowrise “main street character building” Ossington, please go to Smart Growth for Ossington and check out the “Remarks on the 109OZ proposal”. As you’ll see, community resistance to the proposal has nothing to do with small-mindedness or “hatred for the hope that Toronto will become a better … city”. It has everything to do with the fact that the developer is asking us to break our laws in order for them to install a building that would irrevocably change the character of the eclectic, small-scale, Ossington strip, and would undeniably result in a variety of severe negative impacts on residences, who after all have worked hard and paid taxes for years on the assumption that their enjoyment of their property would not be expropriated solely for the profit of others.

        • Guest

          Jessica, you and Benj seem to have a weird definition of “expropriate”. You two both claim that you’re not NIMBY whiners but you both use the same rhetoric as a NIMBY whiner.

          Second I wasn’t aware that the plan was to take property from the locals. That would certainly take away the enjoyment of their property.

          You both have given me a lot to think about.

          • http://www.smartgrowthforossington.ca/ Jessica Wilson

            I said that “the enjoyment of their property would [...] be expropriated solely for the profit of others”. I did not say that “their property would [...] be expropriated solely for the profit of others”. Expropriation is being used here in a broad sense, to apply to the forced removal of value, both financial and personal, from owned property.

          • Guest

            The word expropriate has a very clear and unambiguous meaning and the only reason why you two have “extended” the use of the word to here is to conjure up images of sinister government taking your land and leaving you with no recourse but to take the cash and go.

            Don’t act innocent. It is a 100% deliberate act.

          • Anonymous

            They did the same thing with the word NIMBY and even in the face of the Oxford definition, they hand waved it as “non-authorial”

          • http://www.smartgrowthforossington.ca/ Jessica Wilson

            I told you what I meant by the extended sense, and also noted that there is perhaps even a legal base in our use of this term insofar as “interests” in land as well as the land itself can be expropriated. Moreover, I told you that if you don’t like the word, read our use of it as “shexpropriation”. Terminology is irrelevant to the issues here. What matters is content.

            Same for our use of NIMBY. The deep point here is that homeowners and business owners are supposed to be protected from severe negative impact associated with development, unless there is very good reason (see Policy 3 of the “Healthy Neighborhoods” section of the Official Plan). Now maybe there are cases where some great public good outweighs certaiin rights and pleasures that homeowners and business owners typically can expect to enjoy, having paid for these with their own hard-earned money. But here there is no such public good—and that’s the deeper point, which has nothing to do with terminology.

            I repeat yet again: the only public good in the vicinity is the call for growth in mixed use areas set out in the Official Plan; but this call for growth can be resoundingly answered within the by-law limit—we can double-quadruple the density on Ossington while remaining LOWRISE, and so avoiding all the negative impacts on both business and residential communities.

            To be sure, there is a private good in the vicinity of 109OZ; namely, that installing a big old honking MIDRISE on LOWRISE Ossington will greatly increase the profit margins of Reserve Properties.

            If I resist a proposal that wants to remove (a) some of my private goods and (b) the private and public goods of many others, while (c) giving us no public goods in return, but rather (d) has only the virtue of increasing the private goods of the developer, that does not make me a NIMBY, or any term you’d rather use that is supposed to have negative connotations.

            That makes me the upholder of the public and private goods of the any, as not to be given up for no good public reason except for the private good of the few. Whatever you call it, that’s the right position to take in this situation.

          • Guest

            There are legitimate reasons to say no to this proposal, e.g. it’s against the zoning laws.

            But this crap about expropriation is 100% rhetoric made to appeal to emotion and it’s exactly what makes it look like shrill NIMBY whining.

            I repeat, no one is removing any of your private goods. There is no expropriation going on.

            It is easier to get people on your side if you lie and mislead a little less and use more facts.

    • http://www.facebook.com/benj.hellie Benj Hellie

      Look, Smart Growth for Ossington was telling the city for weeks this would be huge. They didn’t even bring enough sign-in sheets! Coulda moved the meeting downstairs at the start when the room filled up before the start. Instead the city let Reserve run down the clock. So people were pretty restless when the q&a finally got started. “civility” — what’s uncivil is trying to bully a neighbourhood into giving up its property values to fatten your bank account.

    • http://www.smartgrowthforossington.ca/ Jessica Wilson

      Again, there weren’t any shouting matches. There were a couple of heated moments and a righteous heckler or two.

      Anyway, this meeting wasn’t intended to even begin to *solve* issues that the residents have with this development. There are so many problems with this proposal as it stands that it would take several days even to state them with adequate precision, much less begin to resolve them. (And indeed, since these problems all stem from the attempt to introduce MIDRISE development into LOWRISE “main street character building” Ossington, the only way to “resolve” them is for Reserve—and RAW—to go back to the drawing board and come back with something that conforms to the LOWRISE character of the hood.)

      The purpose of the meeting was to let Francis Kwashie, our dedicated planner, know just how the community feels about this proposal. It was also to let Mike Layton, our Councillor, know how his constituents feel about this proposal.

      These goals were beautifully achieved. Among other things, Layton for the first tie decisively committed to implementing, as soon as possible, Policy 3 of the “Healthy Neighborhoods” Section of the Official Plan. This should have been done earlier, but better late than never.

      This was a great turnout, a great night, and bodes very well for the continued flourishing of the Ossington community.

  • John Franks

    Build the god damn thing.. I was born and raised on the street. Die Hipster Die!

    • Anonymous

      If you were born and raised on Ossington, you clearly are a hipster because you lived there before it was cool.

    • http://www.facebook.com/benj.hellie Benj Hellie

      There aren’t any hipsters on Ossington anymore. They are all at Bloor/Lansdowne.

      • Vampchick21

        I thought they were all in my ‘hood, Queen stretch of Parkdale! At least, they seem to gather in front of General Electric and that store/arcade across the street.

  • Ratazana

    Totally agree that the current consultation session format is disfunctional. Attended a similar meeting in Perk’s ward and the format really fan the mob-like response from the audience. I think better facilitation of the meeting is required to drive towards a workable plan. More written feedback/survey should be done instead of just 2 minute venting. Councilor and Planner should gather all the feedback and summarize them into clearer picture of what the residences’ priority and opinions are. Rank the importance of issues rather than just having people vent.

    • http://www.facebook.com/benj.hellie Benj Hellie

      Smart Growth for Ossington was telling Layton for weeks that a ton of people were going to turn out for this meeting, and the original room was full before the meeting started.

      If the meeting turned chaotic it’s because the city didn’t pay attention to the obvious importance of this.

      I just learned the city didn’t even bring enough sign-in sheets to the meeting, and they ran out!!!

  • Ericmathewson

    NIMBY

    • http://www.facebook.com/benj.hellie Benj Hellie

      So when guys come by to expropriate your property values, you’re just gonna be like “oh yes sir please take some more sir you are so great and I am so undeserving!!!”

      I’ll call Reserve Properties and send them over to your hood.

      • Guest

        How does one “expropriate” somebody elses property values? You’re trying to educate us?

        • http://www.smartgrowthforossington.ca/ Jessica Wilson

          There’s a clear extension of the term’s meaning, as applied to the taking of financial and other values associated with one’s land, that is perfectly appropriate here. If you want to save the term “expropriate” for only the unlawful taking of the land itself, feel free to read “shmexpropriate” for the obviously contentful extended sense. We aren’t in a court of law here, we are trying to get a point across, which I take it was clear enough insofar as we specified what exactly we were taking to be “expropriated”. (Indeed, it’s my understanding that some legal references to “expropriation” refer just to “interest” in a land, under which financial and other property value would fall.) As for “how” expropriation of property values can occur: ask the residents at 41 Ossington, or of the Niagara neighborhood, or [...].

          • Guest

            The word expropriate has a very clear and unambiguous meaning and the only reason why you two have “extended” the use of the word to here is to conjure up images of sinister government taking your land and leaving you with no recourse but to take the cash and go.

            Don’t act innocent. It is a 100% deliberate act.

          • http://www.smartgrowthforossington.ca/ Jessica Wilson

            I told you what I meant by the extended sense, and also noted that there is perhaps even a legal base in our use of this term insofar as “interests” in land as well as the land itself can be expropriated. Moreover, I told you that if you don’t like the word, read our use of it as “shexpropriation”. Terminology is irrelevant to the issues here. What matters is content.

            Same for our use of NIMBY. The deep point here is that homeowners and business owners are supposed to be protected from severe negative impact associated with development, unless there is very good reason (see Policy 3 of the “Healthy Neighborhoods” section of the Official Plan). Now maybe there are cases where some great public good outweighs certaiin rights and pleasures that homeowners and business owners typically can expect to enjoy, having paid for these with their own hard-earned money. But here there is no such public good—and that’s the deeper point, which has nothing to do with terminology.

            I repeat yet again: the only public good in the vicinity is the call for growth in mixed use areas set out in the Official Plan; but this call for growth can be resoundingly answered within the by-law limit—we can double-quadruple the density on Ossington while remaining LOWRISE, and so avoiding all the negative impacts on both business and residential communities.

            To be sure, there is a private good in the vicinity of 109OZ; namely, that installing a big old honking MIDRISE on LOWRISE Ossington will greatly increase the profit margins of Reserve Properties.

            If I resist a proposal that wants to remove (a) some of my private goods and (b) the private and public goods of many others, while (c) giving us no public goods in return, but rather (d) has only the virtue of increasing the private goods of the developer, that does not make me a NIMBY, or any term you’d rather use that is supposed to have negative connotations.

            That makes me the upholder of the public and private goods of the many, as not to be given up for no good public reason but rather only for the private good of the few. Whatever you call it, that’s the right position to take in this situation.

            If that’s an “act”, then it’s a role I’m happy to play.

          • Guest

            There are legitimate reasons to say no to this proposal, e.g. it’s against the zoning laws.

            But this crap about expropriation is 100% rhetoric made to appeal to emotion and it’s exactly what makes it look like shrill NIMBY whining.

            I repeat, no one is removing any of your private goods. There is no expropriation going on.

            It is easier to get people on your side if you lie and mislead a little less and use more facts.

    • http://www.smartgrowthforossington.ca/ Jessica Wilson

      A NIMBY is someone who rejects a proposal in the public good because it would interfere with one of their personal goods.

      There is only one public good in the vicinity of 109OZ; namely, that it accommodates the Official Plan call for growth in mixed-use areas such as Ossington. Putting aside that there is already a glut of the sort of housing that is being offered here (so that the call for growth should be considered already to have been answered) one might resoundingly respond to this call just by building on the lands at issue to as-of-right limits—we estimate that we could increase density on the parcel at issue by about 3-5 times by building within these limits. More generally, we estimate that we could triple the density on Ossington within the existing limits. (I’m going to measure every building on the Ossington strip and get more precise estimates in the next few days.) We have not begun to outgrow the by-laws.

      As such, there is no additional public good associated with the departures from the existing limits requested by Reserve for this property. On the contrary, these departures will clearly introduce numerous public and private harms, both to the Ossington business district and its status as a world-class eclectic and artisanal destination district (on order of Williamsburg, Brooklyn), and to the tax-paying and voting homeowners who have invested in the area on the supposition that the City will—as laid out in Policy 3 of the Official Plan’s “Healthy Neighborhoods” section—guard them against negative impact on their hard-earned property stemming from intensification.

      To reject 109OZ on grounds that it’s only concrete value would be to enrichen a small group of people at the expense of a variety of existing public and hard-earned private goods is not NIMBYism , it’s plain common sense.

      • Anonymous

        NIMBY. Plain and simple. Short sighted, selfish small minded nay sayers crapping on acceptable density smack dab on top of major tic routes.

        • http://www.smartgrowthforossington.ca/ Jessica Wilson

          You might want to read the Official Plan and the associated studies (available on the SGO site) to see how the Planning department actually is thinking about how growth and intensification should proceed. Moreover, though everyone is happy to agree that “acceptable density” on top of major ttc routes or minor ttc routes (as Ossington is, with it’s 63 bus) is to be desired, at issue here is whether the density is acceptable. Moreover, we are not being selfish: we are upholding the public good of the Ossington strip, as well as the public good of maintaining the City’s laws, that state that neighborhoods affected by “significant intensification” will be protected from negative impact (see Policy 3 of the “Healthy Neighborhoods” portion of the Official Plan).

          We also have a positive vision for the Reserve Properties lands that both conforms to the Official Plan’s call for growth, while also heeding basic sound planning practices of (a) integrating new development into what exists, and (b) refraining from negative impact on abutting neighborhoods.

          We are Yaysayers—Yay to Smart Growth!

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Don/100002144546465 John Don

          “Short sighted, selfish, small minded…” are you sure you’re not talking about developers here, as they leverage differential market values only to squeeze another dollar out of hyped neighbourhoods? They have no vested interest in a community besides a ROI, so why assume NIMBYs are categorically wrong? unless of course you’re part of the investor class, who feel entitled to escalating returns and bigger BMWs.

          The investment/risk culture behind gentrification (made possible by successfully restructuring public policy to globally privatize wealth) is essentially responsible for, and will continue to drive, global social and economic instability until ‘locals’ slow it down.

      • Anonymous

        Jessica,
        At this point it may be wiser to focus more on what can be done to restrict the development, than worry about NIMBY semantics. At least, the shrill and disjointed “consultation” proved local concern. Where do we go from here?

      • Anonymous
      • Tania

        I am with you BTG. Not only is our city scape currently dictated by the market but the developer gets to do whatever he wants because apparently there are rules but they are meant to be broken. If a building double the size of any in the area we as people that live/work/play in the area should just call it change and move on. I am sorry that some view this as a selfish act, to fight for what you believe in. Please say something if you live near a development that is bigger than it should be. Support Ossington staying lowrise
        http://smartgrowthforossington.ca/
        Or join one of your other groups like one f these:
        http://www.beachresidents.ca/
        http://www.active18.net/

  • http://paul.kishimoto.name Paul Kishimoto

    I know! Let’s have a huge, pointless, proxy semantic argument about whether the locals’ response constitutes NIMBY-, NIABY-, BANANA-, FRUIT- or SOBBY-ism!

    The point about civility is well made, and “[no one] came out of the meeting looking good,” is not an invitation to start arguing about who was more uncouth.

    • http://www.facebook.com/benj.hellie Benj Hellie

      Hey, Smart Growth for Ossington was telling the city for weeks this was going to be big. The room was packed even before the meeting got started. Frankly I don’t know exactly who gets the finger pointed at them about the messed up logistics but when Q&A gets squashed into a tiny corner after the developer chews up all that time, what do you expect but that people are gonna be a little … peevish!

    • http://www.smartgrowthforossington.ca/ Jessica Wilson

      Civility shivility. People were pissed for a variety of good reasons; a couple of people got heated, and a couple of people heckled (mainly this one guy who was clearly a developer plant).

      Actually, the people came out of this meeting looking FANTASTIC.

      Our public will was heard loud and clear by our dedicated planner Francis Kwashie—this was the first real point of the meeting—and by our Councillor Mike Layton, who is now completely aware of how his constituents feel about this proposal, and moreover has responded by decisively moving forward to (raise before Council) the implementation of an Area Study for the Ossington Area.

      Sometimes what is said is less important than a whole lot of irate people saying it!

  • Anonymous

    CAMH you ho! This is all your fault!!!

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RE3POLLHM4D26B23XUWJPJEMHA George

      well done… golf clap.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve not got an iron in this fire, but may I just ask y’all to lay down your cards?

    We’re seeing a lot of crazy, unsubstantiated accusations and negative characterizations flying around.

    Developer shills here, and Ayn Rand cultists there.

    Show ‘em!

    Many thanks.

  • http://www.smartgrowthforossington.ca/ Jessica Wilson

    The suggestion that there was a shouting match is wildly overblown. Yes, there were some passionately expressed views, as well as a few hecklers and accusers here and there. So what? (Plus, most of the heckling was directed at a single guy—that agent provocateur from the Beach.) That *always* happens in a situation with many—here, 500+—people in a room protecting themselves against expropriation of various public and private goods.

    To prissily condemn as insufficiently “civil” or whatever the sort of all-too-infrequent process where a bunch of people get an opportunity to actually express their opinion face-to-face to a bunch of glum-faced suits who are trying their best to introduce severe degragation into their environment is, to put it lightly, miss the democratic forest for the few agitated trees.

    • BTG

      Did anybody get the name of the guy from the beach?

      I would suggest that anyone attending these types of planning meetings take in a small recorder and record the meeting.

  • Anonymous

    “local concerns about 109Oz (that’s what the proposed development is called) becoming a “party building.” ”

    Oh for f’s sake. This is stoooooopid.

    • Anonymous

      It’s a valid concern! First they build a party building and the next thing you know the area is full of trendy bars and restaurants and patios full of young people drinking!

      • Anonymous

        Yeah but the area is already full of trendy bars and restaurants and patios full of young people dri – ohhhh, wait – I see what you did there.

  • http://www.smartgrowthforossington.ca/ Jessica Wilson

    As I have been mentioning in comment threads on other articles on the 109OZ proposal, the image of the proposal in the promotional picture posted above seriously misrepresents both the comparative and absolute height of the building, among other things. Continued use of this picture to discuss impact of the proposal is thus highly problematic, especially without any disclaimer.

    Among other things, the picture represents the proposed building as being about 1.6 times the height of the 3-story building to the left. That building is 3 stories—about 30 feet high. The proposed building, with its supersized lobby (perfect for the chain store it is expected to house) and its 11.5 foot HVAC story (not represented in the picture) will be 82 feet. So in fact 109OZ would be about 2.5 times, not about 1.6 times, the height of the building next to it.

    More generally, the characterization of the building as “6 stories” misrepresents both the height of the building and the sort of departure from the lawful norm (that is, existing by-laws) that is at issue here. Again, the actual height of the proposed building, including its 18ft lobby and HVAC story, is 82 feet, the height of an 8 story building. The existing by-law height, to which every building on the Ossington strip presently conforms, is 46 feet. So the proposed building thus represents almost a doubling of the existing height limit.

    It would be good if Sol and others writing about this proposal include this crucial information in their articles, so that readers aiming to assess the impact of the proposal will be properly informed.

    • Anonymous

      Jessica – find someone who can use Photoshop and generate a to-scale, accurate drawing of 109OZ. Send it to Torontoist, and any other news agency. Otherwise they will not stop using the developer’s (misleading) pic.

  • Waves

    Forgive me but I thought Ossington was just a bar-filled street for 905ers to meet. And there’s concern this condo will be a party house?

    • Anonymous

      There are a lot of ridiculous concerns and claims being thrown about by certain parties.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Neville-Ross/100002343524258 Neville Ross

        No, there is correct info being put forward by residents of their own neighborhood who want it to be kept the way it is and not destroyed in the name of ‘progress’ by brainwashed people who have no idea what living is all about.

        • Anonymous

          Some of the ridiculous claims made here on Torontoist by SGO members and their allies, or related here by same:

          1. the building will be a “party building”
          2. the building will make the neighbourhood unsafe/unsafe for children
          3. the developer and/or city want to “expropriate” property values
          4. the building as presented would “devour” the neighbourhood (something the Chocolate Co Lofts building hasn’t yet managed)
          5. the only motive of anyone supporting this development (despite their stated reasons, or disinterest in purchasing) is greed (somehow)
          6. anyone speaking in favour of the development is or could be a plant from the developer, or is a spineless coward who lives in fear of developers
          7. the developer is trying to fob off this building for some future condo market speculation reason only obvious to soothsayers
          8. Mid rise buildings are intolerable at that location but acceptable just around the corner and immediately south

          • Anonymous

            And we’re all trolls if we disagree.

  • Anonymous

    The developers are probably not being very good neighbours in their negotiations with the community. On the other hand, the residents’ belief that the condo is “Illegal” (which some have said) is absurd. It requires a zoning variance, that’s all–loads of developments in Toronto and across Canada require zoning variances.

    Plus, I’d be willing to bet that most of the people here fighting to preserve Ossington in its current state are exactly the same who’ve drastically changed the area in less than a decade.

    • Anonymous

      Judging from the people who’ve come here to spam for SGO, it seems like any reason to oppose this development – technical or fantastical – is justified. Which is the definition of NIMBY, but don’t tell them that.

  • Btgraff

    Message from The Beach to Oz – Welcome to the club!

    Reserve Properties have been very active in our neighbourhood:

    first a conversion of a church into condos – which people liked in principal rather than seeing the building demolished, but the townhomes and other parts of the project could have been much better. a big shoppers drug mart is going in as the retailer – this was not a rezoning so we had little chance to debate it or get improvements made

    the latest project is a big LCBO next door – only one floor but again these guys didn’t work with the community and only made a few last minute concessions – after we won at Committee of adjustment and it went to the OMB. Councillor McMahon had promised to get a lawyer to oppose this at the OMB, but didn’t deliver, so it as approved.

    In the middle was the Lick’s development – 1960 Queen. Similar to this project in that it is a midrise condo with retail. again, Reserve Properties made no concessions and were not willing to seriously discuss changes, though they did make some cosmetic changes to the brickwork. They did manage to get our Councillor to support he rezoning, over massive opposition by the residents, by agreeing to push back one floor by 3 feet!

    Because these guys start selling the units before the rezoning is done, they will dig in their heals.

    The planning department in our area is useless, not just because they are under-staffed, but because of their whole attiude towards the community and their bias towards developers and midrise intensificiation. TEYCC Councillors have 83 storey buildings – so 6 storeys seem minor!

    More on our story at http://www.FoQS.ca or http://www.beachresidents.ca – Friends of Queen street and Beach Residents Association respectively.

  • BTG

    NIMBY: not in my backyard: used to express opposition by local citizens to the locating in their neighborhood of a civic project, as a jail, garbage dump, or drug rehabilitation center, that, though needed by the larger community, is considered unsightly, dangerous, or likely to lead to decreased property values.

    NIMBY is usually an issue of some sort of development with a “negative externality” as economists would put it – usually something that is necessary to the functioning of a city or community but with a stigma – pollution, noise, or that raises fears, like halfway houses or group homes.

    I wish people would stop throwing this term around when it is not appropriate. Generally, extra height and desnity does not create these “negative externalities” except for shadows, loss of privacy (from windows overlooking), traffic and parking issues… sometimes wind if the building is tall enough.

    Intensifying stable and healthy areas like Ossington, or The beach, where I live, is not a NIMBY issue it is one of protecting the character and general livability of a neighbourhood against unneeded change.

    Yes, the city has to accept population growth to 3.08 million by 2031 – about 320,000 over 2011 (roughly 16,000 people per year, or 8,000 units in the 416) – but there is plenty of room for this in the downtown, centres and in the suburbs, where change and densification will produce benefits like turning strip malls into mainstreets and making public transit viable.

    There is only so much demand for housing – generally related to population growth of 100,000 immigrants into the GTA each year. last year, housing starts were 18,000 or about 47% of gta housing starts when the target to 2031 is 20% of tjhe gta growth. toronto is getting more growth than it is supposed to get – about double, while the 905 lags.

    the downtown streetcar lines are already packed – and no new transit is planned for queen or dundas. grothw needs to be in the suburbs – leave the older areas of the city alone except for “infill” that fits in instead of being a precedent for remaking a whole street of old buildings.

  • pal180

    “That’s not what Ossington is!”. Ha! I used to live at Ossington and College 10 years ago and it was not the hipster/fauxhemian hangout it is today. So what about all those working class folks who lived there ten years ago? Do their opinions about “what Ossington is” count? Not to these smug, self-centred urban elitists. Cities change. Deal with it.

    • BTG

      Deal with it? So, are our cities to be changed based on the dictates of what the “market” wants?

      We live in a democracy. We have planning departments which are supposed to serve the public, as opposed to being on the side of development.

      Zoning bylaws and guidelines are supposed to mean something, but in this city, they end up being minimums that only mean that development takes a little longer and developers need to hire some extra lobbyists lawyers and consultants to get what they want. Rarely is any rezoning ever refused.

      We need a different system where rules mean something – where planners actually plan based on what the public wants and public consultations mean something more than just adding a paragraph about the consultation in a final report, and no meaningful input occurs!

      Rezonings should only occur in rare circumstances, where there is a clear need for an exception to the rules, and not as a standard part of the process.