There has been some confusion over the recent news regarding the ONE Properties application at the north-west corner of Church and Wellesley in the Village.
To date, City Council, City Planning Staff and I have never supported the various development applications from ONE Properties. However, this has not deterred them from submitting yet again another application for the City’s review, even if their prior applications have been appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board or OMB, now called LPAT or the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal. This is the provincially appointed, quasi-judicial body that has final approval over land-use planning matters in Ontario and has routinely overturned local City Council decisions.
Historically, the Village has been home to Toronto’s diverse LGBTQ2S+ community. The vitality in this unique neighbourhood is framed by intimate storefronts and nearby residential apartments. I believe that any new development in the Village must conform to the low-rise scale of existing buildings and promote independently owned LGBTQ2S+ businesses and cultural spaces.
All property owners have the right under the Planning Act to submit a re-zoning application to their local municipality for consideration. This is the legislative planning framework for which ONE Properties earlier this year submitted their revised design to the City - it is also the basis of their ongoing appeal of City Council’s refusal decision. The LPAT hearing is scheduled for September 2020 and as more information becomes available, I will ask the City Planning staff to bring it forward to the community.
I hope this update has been helpful and if you wish to learn more about this application, please continue reading below.
In 2017, ONE Properties submitted a re-zoning application proposing a 43-storey condo tower to replace low-rise apartments and a series of commercial storefronts at 64-66 Wellesley Street East and 552-570 Church Street. Their aggressive application had several deficiencies, including a tower far too tall given the existing context and the shadow impacts on Barbara Hall Park and the 519 Church Street Community Centre. I led City Council to refuse their application, which represented gross over-reach in our special character area, known affectionately as the Village.
Following City Council’s refusal of their application, the developer appealed our decision to the OMB or LPAT. After filing their appeal, ONE Properties submitted a revised 39-storey proposal that was also rejected by City Council in 2018.
Neither City Council, City Planning nor myself have to date supported any of the proposals from ONE Properties’ applications. The most recent redesign of the 39-storey proposal that appeared online recently has not yet been reviewed by City Planning nor any other City divisions.
If City Planning staff believe this re-design still does not address the original and outstanding concerns they have, the likelihood is that the current position of City Council to oppose this application will remain unchanged. In the event that City Planning believes the new design addresses their concerns, they will offer new advice and seek new direction from City Council. This is likely to happen at the earliest in the summer. My brief conversation with City Planning, however, is that there remain serious concerns and objections to this application.
Many of the new documents associated with this latest revision, including an updated planning rationale from the developer, are available online. If you have any comments on the new design, please contact the City Planner for this file, Leontine Major at Leontine.Major@toronto.ca or (416) 397-4079.