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2 Laird appeal based on city not deciding

A final order by the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) for the building of a seven-storey condo  building at 2 Laird Dr. has been withheld pending the City of Toronto submitting an “appropriate Zoning By-Law amendment” that must satisfy the director, Community Planning North York District, and the city solicitor.

In an interim order issued on March 7, the board allowed the appeal of KCAP Laird Inc. (the developers) against the City of Toronto and the Leaside Property Owners’ Association (LPOA).

KCAP Inc. had based their appeal on City Council’s failure to make a decision within the time frames set out in the Planning Act. The development was submitted in 2012.

The decision clears the way for construction of the building which will be 26.4 metres high (the board accepted that the Mid-Rise Guidelines permit a building height of 27 metres in this location), including a 4.3 metre mechanical penthouse and 71 residential suites and 114 parking spaces.

The structure will front Malcolm Rd. to the north with Krawchuck Lane to the south.

The LPOA had argued that the building posed problems to the area, including being too high and too dense. They added that the third floor apartments would overlook bedrooms of the townhouses on the west side of Krawchuk Lane.

As the principal witness of the LPOA, Deni Papetti, a registered architect in Ontario and urban design expert, stated that the size of the building should be more consistent with those in the area, limited to a maximum of four storeys.

The board found, however, that because Papetti’s home was immediately adjacent to the proposed building there was a reasonable apprehension of bias on his part.  It was further noted that in 2012 Papetti distributed a petition opposing the development.

Robert Glover (who was retained by KCAP Inc. to provide opinion evidence on architecture, urban design and land use planning), said the LPOA “adopted the position that the only appropriate form the new development should take would be townhouses, and the maximum acceptable height would be four storeys.”

He added that the company had amended elements of the building design in response to recommendations made by the LPOA, city planning staff and the ward counsellor, changing some elements of its design, including reducing the number of units and providing for 45-degree angular planes and stepbacks of the terraces and balconies to protect the sky view as well as the privacy of adjacent buildings.

The board found that based on the evidence, “adequate design measures” had been taken to “mitigate unreasonable adverse impact the proposed new building might have on the existing Krawchuk Lane townhouses…”

At the conclusion of its interim order, the board accepted that the proposed building is “consistent with Provincial policy and conforms to both the policies and to the intent of the City of Toronto Official Plan.”

Significantly, the order noted that in a Report to Council dated Aug. 20, 2013, city  planning staff had given its support “in principle” to the proposed development contingent on a number of recommendations.

The final order of the board is withheld until KCAP Laird Inc. applies for Site Plan Approval and Notice of Approval Conditions are issued by the director, Community Planning, North York District.