Controversial condo on Village Idiot site approved

Forest Hill development reduced from nine storeys in OMB mediated settlement


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The site of the Village Idiot Pub in the lower village set to become a condo

The two-storey building that once housed the Village Idiot Pub in Forest Hill has sat empty for years as local residents, city staff and Armel Corporation debated how the site should be redeveloped. Now, a six-storey, mixed-use building with 34 units has finally been approved. 

On March 27, Toronto City Council signed off on the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) mediated settlement for 390–398 Spadina Rd. on the northwest corner of Montclair Avenue and Spadina Road.

The community made a collective effort to oppose the initial proposal of nine storeys and 46 units — they formed the South Forest Hill Residents Association (SFHRA) in 2014 and participated in the mediation process at the OMB. 

Councillors Joe Mihevc and Josh Matlow, of Ward 21 and Ward 22 respectively, argued against the initial proposal, and a refusal report was submitted by city staff in May 2016. The report noted the proposal did not meet the Urban Design Guidelines for Forest Hill Village, which dictate that no building should be above four storeys on that part of Spadina Road, between Montclair Avenue and Thelma Avenue.

Mihevc had initially called for a total rewrite of the proposal, not just a minor modification, but said the proposal had reached an acceptable conclusion. 

“The village is very special but it has fallen into neglect.”

“The settlement is not perfect, but this is as good as it gets. We achieved 90 per cent of our goals, which doesn’t happen often in the planning world,” Mihevc said. 

Armel Corporation will contribute $170,000 into Ontario Planning Act, Section 37 funding, as part of the settlement, to be used toward community improvements.

Approximately 60 residents attended a community meeting on April 12 to provide input on how the funding should be spent. Mihevc noted the allocation of the funds still needs to be determind. 

Mona Kornberg, of the SFHRA, said she hopes those funds will be applied to the streetscape on Spadina Road. 

“The village is very special, but it has fallen into neglect. Really nice street lights and potted plants and a couple more benches would be a good use of this money,” Kornberg said. 

However, Kornberg anticipates more development is on the way.

“The SFHRA is poised to respond to this, and I think it is going to be a watchdog as a community organization,” she said. 

Armel Corporation did not return requests for comment.

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