The Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) Hearing for York Row ( 116-134 Yorkville Ave & 10 Hazelton Ave) was held over 2 weeks, from August 25th- September 5th 2003. The OMB ruled in October 2003 in favour of the developer. York Row will be demolished, despite the efforts of so many citizens of Toronto. Thanks to all who gave their support in time and finances.
ABC Residents' Association and the SAVE Yorkville Heritage Association, along with the City of Toronto, Parties opposed the developer's appeal for the right to build a 9 storey 33metre (108) high development with a density of 5.8x coverage.
The Bloor Yorkville Business Improvement Area (BIA) was a Participant opposing the developer's appeal.
ABC and SAVE Yorkville retained Karl Jaffary, Q.C., as legal council (part of same team which recently defeated the 24-storey Diamante proposal for a development on the Premier Fitness site on Davenport). Harold Madi Land Use Planner with Brook McIlroy (authors of the Bloor Yorkville Committee (BYC) Urban Design Guidelines) was retained as our single Expert Witness
The Citys legal council was William Hawryliw and main witness was Raymond David, Planner with the City of Toronto.
The developers legal council was Stan Makuch. Expert witnesses included their architect Sol Wassermuhl of Page & Steele, John Bousfield planner, Bob Glover architect, urban designer & planner with IBI Associates, Rollin Stanley currently Director of Planning & Urban Design Agency for the City of St. Louis, and Gary Stamm - economist
The developers argued and presented testimony and evidence that this Ultra High End Luxury hotel and condo development would enhance and benefit Yorkville and the City of Toronto both physically and economically by changing and intensifying the land use, that their proposal would complement and be in context with the existing building forms and streetscape on Yorkville and Hazelton and as well be precedent setting for the redevelopment of future sites with similar or more height and density. They also made the point that City Council has approved a proposal for an 18-storey tower at 100 Yorkville Ave. (Mt. Sinai) (which Save Yorkville is currently appealing to the OMB --Pre Hearing scheduled for November 6th/03).
The City presented their case modifying the developer's proposal by deleting 2 stories to a height of 25.8m and increasing setbacks to improve the street wall with a 3 storey podium of 11.4m and a density of 4.76m.
ABCs and SAVE Yorkvilles legal council argued our case that the OMB reject the developer's proposal and permit only was is currently allowed as of right under the current Official Plan and Zoning - specifically a proposal approved (and not built) in 1993/4 that allows a 8 storey 25.1 metre high proposal with a 2 ½ storey podium with approx. 10m setbacks from street face to the 8 storey portion with a density of 3.9x coverage.
ABC and SAVE Yorkvilles position was that although the as of right proposal is not perfect it is far superior to what the developer has proposed. The podium is of a height and scale which is compatible and in context with the existing low scale house form buildings which gives the Village of Yorkville its character, and the height of the tower portion is much lower at 25.1m the same height as the eastern portion of Hazelton Lanes. The tower is also set back much more (at approx. 10m), reducing its impact on the narrow streets of Yorkville and Hazelton.
On the Public Day we had an excellent turnout from the community in support of SAVE Yorkville, ABC, and the BIA: 17 residents, business owners, and citizens from the City at large spoke, including George Baird architect and urban designer and former Director of the UofT School of Architecture, David Crombie Former Mayor of Toronto and MPP, Stephen Clarkson author & speaker on globalization and US-Canadian relations, Robin Korthals Chairman of SAVE Yorkville & former President of the TD Bank. All speakers emphasized the significance of the Village of Yorkville as a unique and special area within the City of Toronto and the importance of preserving the diversity, character, and pedestrian scale of Yorkville.
On the final day of Hearing, the OMB Chair referred to comments made by speakers from the Community so our participation has made a difference. The developer has indicated that they would not be willing to compromise to the Citys position.