A couple of weeks ago when we returned from our sojourn in the wilds, we were greeted with a letter from the City of Toronto Planning Department informing us that someone had applied to demolish a house around the corner from us and build two detached houses its place.
So what's the big deal one would wonder? This is a very established neighbourhood of detached homes, some bungalows and some two storey. Every now and again a little bungalow will be sold and a new two storey monster house erected
on the site. No one generally complains about it thinking that it would increase the property value of the neighbourhood and generally that is so. The only problem with that is it generally raises taxes for everyone else since we have market value assessment, but hey what the heck, unlike some other countries we actually don't mind paying taxes if we get services for them.
So what has mobilized this neighbourhood in this instance? It is the fact that this sleazy builder (we know him) is trying to reduce lot sizes and build two skinny houses. This is also a builder who has been known to not build exactly to his approved plans sometimes increasing window sizes or building height and then run to the city again for a minor variance. The neighbours of his last project are so angry with him but were not at today's meeting because they are out of the immediate area.
The normal lots sizes run somewhere between 39 feet to 45 feet with the occasional
lot around 58 feet frontage. It is one of these that this builder/speculator is trying to divide into two lots around 28.5 feet each. It doesn't suit the neighbourhood. From what we know the official plan shows that you need a minimum lot size of 39 feet to build a house and he was looking for over 10 feet less frontage! He was calling this a "minor variance" on his application.
Generally when these types of notices arrive I toss them but something made me read more carefully. I saw a couple of the neighbours the next day and we knew we had to mobilize. I emailed my councillor (with whom I have had issues in the past) and was pleasantly surprised to discover she would be on our side, but hey...it's an election year. Do you think that had anything to do with it or am I being too cynical again?
My immediate neighbour got a petition going and managed to get a fair number of signatures and letters of opposition and today there was a meeting at what's called the Committee
of Adjustment where you can apply for minor variances. Because of my hip pain I was unable to go but I got the good news as soon as it happened.
He lost, we won round one. Considering that this man paid almost half a million dollars for this property we know he will go the next step and appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board where he may or may not win. At least we tried...
Labels: Municipal Politics, neighbourhood