Corp Comm Connects


OP policies questioned: TOWNHOUSE THREAT

Sept. 3, 2014
By Edward LaRusic

Vaughan councillor Marilyn Iafrate says that a “loophole” in what she terms a hastily constructed official plan may allow three townhouse proposals that threaten the streetscape along a stretch of Keele Street, so she’s proposing an interim control by-law to temporarily halt them.

“Ninety per cent of that piece of road is single-family homes, set back from the road. It’s part of our historical core. It’s just a stable development that’s been there forever,” said Iafrate.

Recent applications are threatening the character of the streetscape and she’s not confident that the city’s 2010 official plan will protect this area.

“[The official plan is] a document that’s in place, but we all know that the document was rushed through before the last election just so people could say ‘look what we’ve done’. And there are a lot of flaws with that official plan.”

In particular, Iafrate said that policies protecting stable residential areas, such as this one, were one part of the official plan that was rushed through. As a result the document permits townhouses in the lowrise residential designation. Iafrate said she proposed putting an interim control by-law in place because of how quickly the lots in that stretch of Keele were being bought up.

“I get the impression that [people think] it’s a free-for-all along Keele Street. You can buy and do whatever you want. I’m trying to get the message out that you can’t do that, we have to do the planning properly. ”

The city has received three applications for townhouse developments on this stretch. One is a proposal for seven townhouse units in two blocks at 9850 Keele Street submitted by Nancy DiManno. Another is a proposal for six townhouses at 9770 Keele Street submitted by Centreville Homes. The third is a proposal for 20 townhouses in three blocks at 9697, 9687 and 9675 Keele Street submitted by 791296 Ontario Ltd. All three require official plan and zoning by-law amendments.

One of the concerned residents is Jana Manolakos, who owns a property south of 9850 Keele Street. She said that she’s worked with DiManno to reduce the number of townhomes proposed on the property from 12 to seven, but hopes DiManno will make further concessions.

“A lot of single-home residents in the area are concerned about traffic congestion,” Manolakos said. “The other thing [residents] are concerned with is the streetscape.”

She noted that St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, which lies north of the DiManno application, is an “architectural gem,” whose views could be compromised if the present setbacks from the road do not remain as is being requested.

At the September 2 committee of the whole meeting Iafrate proposed council enact an interim control by-law for lands fronting Keele Street between Church Street and Fieldgate Drive. At deadline, the committee of the whole had not yet considered Iafrate’s proposal, but she told NRU that she expected it to pass.

Meanwhile staff is conducting a study of low-rise residential designations cross the city. It will review Vaughan Official Plan policies. Staff anticipates reporting to council in spring 2015. NRU contacted both Vaughan planning staff and Centreville Homes for comment, but did not receive a reply by deadline.