Residents try to combat townhouse creep in Bayview
Locals have met with City of Toronto staff and Coun. Jaye Robinson in recent months to discuss ways to combat the onslaught of townhouse development applications in the Bayview Avenue and York Mills Road area.
“They’re worried if it’s happening on Bayview, which is not ideal, then it’s creeping into the neighbourhood,” Robinson said. “But the official plan does protect neighbourhoods. What happens on the exterior of a neighbourhood does not necessarily mean it impacts the interior of neighbourhoods.”
The local councillor said city staff presented residents with the option of creating design guidelines, but residents have decided to fight applications individually. Design guidelines would require that residents accept townhouses in the area, Robinson explained, because staff believe that precedent has already been set by the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).
This is something residents warned of when the first townhouse applications in the area, located at 2425, 2427 and 2500 Bayview Ave., were approved at the OMB.
David Bawden, of York Mills Ratepayers Association, was one of the local residents who fought those developments at the provincial appeal board. Bawden believes these types of projects are likely to continue to be elevated to the OMB where the developer has the advantage.
To him, it isn’t a matter of negotiating with the developer — he doesn’t see a difference between 16, 18 or 20 townhouse units — because townhouses inherently change the character of the area.
“I really believe it’s only a matter of time before … all those lots on corners coming down Bayview are vulnerable to this kind of development,” he said.
An anticipated application for townhouses on York Mills Road had St. Andrew’s Ratepayers Association on alert.
However, the agent ended up applying to the committee of adjustment to build five new houses on a three-lot parcel of land.
Both St. Andrew’s Ratepayers Association and the York Mills Ratepayers Association attended the hearing to voice their objections.
The committee of adjustment turned down the application, but the agent has the option of appealing.
Mitchell Shiner, of St. Andrew’s Ratepayers, said that his group will continue to advocate for the protection of the neighbourhood’s character.