There have been several community meetings over the past month dealing with potential development in the Yonge & Sheppard area.
At John’s instigation, the City is looking at a new Secondary Plan for Sheppard Avenue West in Ward 23. We are looking to create much more attractive development on Sheppard Avenue West at the same time as protecting adjoining residential neighbourhoods. It is necessary to update the plan to provide a context in which to consider new development applications. Currently, there is an application for 53-63 Sheppard Ave W & 62-68 Bogert Ave which proposes to alter the redevelopment boundaries and to create development which would not conform to City policies, even for avenues such as Sheppard. The application has already been rejected by City Planning staff, North York Community Council and City Council. The applicant has appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).
For anyone unfamiliar with the OMB, it is an un-elected, provincially appointed body which can overrule your elected representatives, the wishes of the community and the opinion of the City’s professional planning staff. No other province has such a body which takes planning approvals out of the hands of local representatives.
City Planning staff are also processing an application for a 49-storey building at 4800 Yonge Street (southwest corner of Yonge & Sheppard) which would include 536 residential units. This application does not conform to the City’s Official Plan which requires office use at this location. In John’s opinion, and in that of most residents, the area is already overdeveloped with high-rise condos. Good planning dictates that we have commercial development at the intersection of two subway lines. Commercial development can have a positive impact on the neighbourhood by creating employment opportunities for local residents and stimulating retail and restaurant uses. Both auto and transit traffic from commercial development moves in the opposite direction from residential development, thus providing much less strain on our already congested intersections, busses and subway system.