Once again we have another proposal that is not in keeping with the current zoning by-laws. The applicant hoping to redevelop the site at 146 -150 Laird Dr. (Golden Griddle and Durant Motors heritage building) participated in the statutory community consultation at the Leaside Arena this month.
The standing room only turnout at the Leaside arena reflected residents’ significant and widespread concerns about the developer’s plans for the Laird site. I was heartened by community consensus that building an eight- and a seven-storey retirement home / condo residence is far too large and will have profound consequences for the community at large — but especially Randolph Rd. residents whose homes back onto the site.
However, I was extremely disappointed by the “interpretation” of the Official Plan by the developer, which, in my opinion, is aggressively unbalanced in their favour.
The foundation of their presentation was that Laird should be treated as an “Avenue” — under the Official Plan this would mean maximum development! The applicant also mentioned in the presentation that planning staff had indicated general agreement. I can tell you that this is not the case and I will fight this vigorously. If Laird Dr. was meant to be an “Avenue” then it would have been designated as such.
There are numerous other issues (height, density, setback, shadowing, protection of heritage building, etc.) and sadly, it appears to me that the developer has, up to this point, shown little regard to the interests of the community. They say that they are looking forward to being part of our community. I challenged them to walk their talk: act like a good neighbour and respect the unequivocal wishes of our residents.
While the developer has the option of going straight to the OMB, it is my hope that they will consider the feedback they heard and submit a revised plan that is more appropriate for the neighbourhood.
Whichever path they choose, I want you to know I heard your concerns loudly and clearly and I will continue to fight on your behalf.