2114 Bloor Street West Objections

There are several objections to the proposal for 2114 Bloor Street West that make the proposed height, density and form inappropriate. Failing a cohesive development framework, we can look to the Official Plan development criteria for Mixed Use Areas:

The Official Plan includes Development Criteria in Mixed Use Areas, which include, but are not limited to locate and mass new buildings to provide a transition between areas of different development intensity and scale, … through means such as providing appropriate setbacks and/or a stepping down of heights, particularly towards lower scale Neighbourhoods;

Unique Attributes of 2114 Bloor Street West

There are a few unique attributes of the 2114 lot location that are important to highlight. The lot:

  • Is adjacent to a city parkette
  • Is irregularly shaped, enclosing the corner of the parkette
  • sits on a residential intersection (30 residential houses are on Kennedy Park Road)
  • is across from a senior’s home, stepping down to 5 storeys on the east side
  • is at the end of a buffer zone that is intersected by Kennedy Park, putting it essentially ‘across the street’ from the first residential house on Kennedy Park
  • provides approximately 10 overflow parking spaces for local amenity access

The proposed intensity and scale of 2114 Bloor Street West significant exceeds what is appropriate given these unique attributes. If the application is accepted, at nearly zero meters from a city park it would be the highest proposed building from a city park that are are aware of, by a significant factor. At less than a dozen meters from the first residential house, it would again be without precedent in terms of height and mass.

The stretch of land north of Bloor between mixed-use commercial property and residential property offers an important buffer zone. Unique to 2114, that buffer zone offered by the park is not completely effective, as the park ends at 2114 and situated across the street on Kennedy Park is the first residential house. This puts residential houses far closer to mixed-use zoning than is typical, and as a result the developer cannot build to the maximum height allowable as defined in the guidelines for mid-rise development, much less exceed those maximums as they have proposed.

The developer is proposing to add 110 residential dwellings on a street with 30 residential houses – a massive increase in density. A traditional residential street is not suited to that kind of intensification without additional infrastructure to support the traffic volume.

In addition, the proposed stepbacks are minimal on all sides of the building. In particular, the rear offers a total stepback of 3.5m.  This design does not properly accommodate the impact of shade or transition to surrounding property.

In our opinion, the new development should transition appropriately from the Grenadier senior’s residence across the street, and fall well inside the guidelines as defined given its unique site. Increasing from 5 storeys on one side of Kennedy Park to 10 storeys on the other does not offer the kind of transition the Official Plan prescribes.

Shadow Impact

locate and mass new buildings so as to adequately limit shadow impacts on adjacent Neighbourhoods, particularly during the spring and fall equinoxes;

The parkette is key to the local community. It is consistently full in the morning and in the afternoon with kids from the surrounding neighbourhood. Soccer, golf, baseball, and frisbee are all common. Any development of the neighbourhood should minimize the impact on this key attribute.

The proposed building does not adequately limit shadow impacts on residential houses or the city park. Nor does it follow the rear stepback requirement for transition to the city park. The building is too high, and the minimum stepbacks are not provided. The impact on shadow is visible in the developers report – significant shade impact is visible – approximately 50%. It is hard to assess the percentage decrease in city sunlight, but that impact will be felt by the kids and parents that frequent the park. The city could request a report from the developers that defines the percentage decrease in sunlight to the city parkette.

As well, later in the winter the building directly shades the east side of Kennedy Park Road. The study implies that the half-dozen houses  won’t see sunlight in December until approximately noon, where those houses currently see the sun by 9am. While we don’t have the software to model the impact,  it is reasonable to conclude that those properties face losing hundreds of hours of sunlight based on the planned design. While less than a dozen houses are impacted directly, approving a building that exceeds all guidelines and removes substantial sunlight from local houses is not acceptable.

Impact on Streets and Parks

locate and mass new buildings to frame the edges of streets and parks with good proportion and maintain sunlight and comfortable wind conditions for pedestrians on adjacent streets, parks and open spaces;

Again:

  • 2114 Bloor Street West does not transition well from its neighbour (2x jump in height)
  • it does not maintain sunlight for the parkette or the houses on Kennedy Park Road
  • it compromises the existing park by removing trees without a plan to improve the park or add infrastructure to accommodate the additional traffic

Safe Pedestrian Environment

provide an attractive, comfortable and safe pedestrian environment;

The traffic study provided by the developers noted that outflow increased disproportionally at the end of the day without an explanation for why.  The reason is clear to local residents: cars flow into Kennedy Park Road from three directions, and the developers only studied one intersection (in the middle of winter). We have substantial local amenities that people drive to our street to enjoy. High Park is around the corner, there is a row of businesses that include a very busy gym, library, coffee shops, a LCBO, the senior’s home, pet stores, a Pizza Hut (and their buzz of delivery cars) – the list goes on. Massive trucks park on the street to deliver stock. On top of that, the houses on Kennedy Park Road and the apartments on the south side of Bloor (also owned by the developers, and without parking) bring in visitors. When my family comes to visit, they sometimes need to park two or more blocks away.

Adding more traffic to a local residential street adds to the risk of pedestrian and vehicular accidents. With very limited designated visitor parking, it is easiest for visitors to park on Kennedy Park Road. That will add to the number of cars circulating for parking spaces, and increase the risk that someone is hurt trying to access the parkette.

Finally, we have cars that use Kennedy Park as a way to avoid traffic on Bloor. These cars typically move very quickly through the neighbourhood.

Site Access and Circulation

provide good site access and circulation and an adequate supply of parking for residents and visitors;

As noted in the previous section, this application does not provide an adequate supply of parking, nor does it accommodate the additional traffic flowing in both directions on Kennedy Park.

It is important to note that the current site includes parking for approximately 10 cars, and while the lot is clearly private, nearly all spaces appear to be used by local cars for the amenities described above. Developing the property will eliminate these parking spaces and put further stress on Kennedy Park Road.

It is key that residents of any new development not be allowed street parking permits, and that visitors use the building parking spaces. Given that it is not possible to enforce visitor parking, the building should make it easy for visitors to use the building parking, through a direct intercom to the units to open the parking door.

Service Access

locate and screen service areas, ramps and garbage storage to minimize the impact on adjacent streets and residences;

The proposed service area is very tight, offering an extremely challenging route for access. It is highly likely that untrained drivers, such as those moving their own furniture, will use the side-street and park on Kennedy Park road rather than try to maneuver into the proposed area. This design does not minimize the impact on adjacent streets and residences.