Proposed Box Project Irks Councillor

Councillor Josh Matlow says the development of two apartment buildings near two adjacent rows of townhomes would create a "box" that entraps parkland. Photos by Omar Mosleh.

Ward 22 councillor Josh Matlow calls an application to build two apartment buildings on Davisville Avenue and Balliol Street one of the most offensive proposals he’s seen since being elected councillor.

The St. Paul’s representative is stiffly opposed to a proposal to build a 12-storey apartment building with 176 units at 87-107 Davisville Ave. and a 29-storey building with 324 units at 108-128 Balliol St., because of existing highrises adjacent to the site.

Currently, townhouses sit at the proposed sites. If they were demolished to make room for two new towers, Matlow says it would create a “box” development.

“In other words it will be tower, tower, tower, tower, so it will turn into a box,” Matlow said. “It will look like St. James Town, like a project. And that’s exactly what we’re trying to get away from in this city.”

Matlow said he vehemently objects to the project because it would create a closed community.

“Imagine you’re a tenant in one of the existing buildings and all of a sudden you’re boxed in,” he said. “Where you looked out to parkland, you now look out to somebody else’s windows … It’d be a terrible place to live.”

Balliol Street resident Frances Tate doesn’t like that prospect either.

“I’d be most upset, because instead of looking at all the trees, I’ll be looking at another building,” she said.

Tate, who has lived in the area for the better part of 30 years, said she’s worried additional high rises will set a precedent along Balliol Street.

“One of the good things about Balliol is that there’s been a mix of high rise and low rise, and there’s lots of grass,” she said. “To me, if they start doing this, my fear is this will get the OK and they’ll want to replace (more townhomes) with a high rise.”

The two sites currently have 21 rental townhouse units and are owned by Greenwin Inc., Matlow said. Greenwin did not respond to requests for comment.

The councillor said he had a meeting with the applicant where his concerns were disregarded and ignored.

“They’re being greedy,” Matlow said. “This is all about a developer wanting to make as much money as possible, without considering how the local residents and the neighbourhood will be affected.”

He said he was able to get the applicant to lower the height slightly, but not change the location.

“I think the applicant is frankly ignoring all good design principles, urban planning principles and the needs of tenants in my community,” said Matlow.

These townhouses are slated for demolition to make way for a new highrise apartment building.

The site’s current zoning does not allow for what the applicant proposes. The height restriction is 38 metres, or approximately 12 storeys, but a site specific zoning bylaw was enacted in 1965 to allow the construction of the two high rises at 77 and 111 Davisville Ave.

Matlow will be holding a community consultation meeting on May 16 at 7 p.m. at Christ Church Deer Park, 1570 Yonge St.

He said he’s looking forward to informing his constituents on what he sees as “one of the worst designs we’ve seen in Toronto in a long time.”

“They’re not building a community, they’re building a project,” Matlow charged. “And that’s not good enough for the neighbourhood.”

http://mytowncrier.ca/projects-density-irks-councillor.html

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