North York District

939 Eglinton Avenue East - Official Plan and Zoning By-law Amendment

On January 16, 2013, the City received an application to amend the Official Plan to redesignate the Employment Areas designation of the site to permit a mixed use development with residential, retail and office uses.  The mixed use proposal would contain 1,300 dwelling units in four buildings with heights of 29-storeys, a 7-storey, 10,000 square metres office building, 6,600 square metres of retail space along Eglinton Avenue East and Brentcliffe Road, an underground parking garage and a public park.

 

On April 16, 2015, the City received an application to rezone the site to permit a development with 1,500 residential units, 2,950 m2 of retail space, 9,690 m2 of office space, 1,639 parking spaces in 4 levels of underground parking, a 0.22 ha public park and a new 16.5 metre wide public road.  The proposal is comprised of two development parcels. The north parcel is proposed to be developed with two residential towers with heights of 19 and 24 storeys connected by an 8-storey mixed-use mid rise building along the Eglinton Avenue East frontage. The south end of the north parcel is proposed to be developed with two residential towers with heights of 31 and 34 storeys connected by an 8-storey mid-rise building along the north side of the proposed new public road. The south parcel is proposed to be developed with a 6-storey office building at the northwest corner of Brentcliffe Road and Vanderhoof Avenue and a new public park to the west.

The Planning Context as it relates to the Official Plan and the Zoning By-law.

Official Plan

Mixed Use Areas

At its December 16, 17, and 18, 2013 meeting, City Council adopted OPA 231 to implement the Official Plan Review respecting employment lands and the Municipal Comprehensive Review.  On July 9, 2014, the Province of Ontario approved OPA 231 in part.  OPA 231 designates the northern portion (128 metres) of this site as Mixed Use Areas.  On June 22, 2015, the OMB partially approved OPA 231 and approved the designation of this portion of the subject site to Mixed Use Areas.

 

Mixed Use Areas are made up of a broad range of commercial, residential and institutional uses, in single use or mixed use buildings, as well as parks and open spaces and utilities.  Development criteria in Mixed Use Areas includes, but is not limited to: creating a balance of high quality commercial, residential, institutional and open space uses that reduce automobile dependency and meet the needs of the local community; locate and mass new buildings to provide a transition between areas of different development intensity and scale, as necessary to achieve the objectives of the Plan, through means such as providing appropriate setbacks and/or stepping down of heights, particularly towards lower scale Neighbourhoods; locate and mass new buildings so as to adequately limit shadow impacts on adjacent Neighbourhoods, particularly during the spring and fall equinoxes; and provide an attractive, comfortable and safe pedestrian environment.

 

Additionally, Section 3.5.1 Creating a Strong and Diverse Civic Economy of OPA 231, policy 6 remains under appeal and states that new office development will be promoted in Mixed Use Areas and Regeneration Areas in the Downtown and Central Waterfront and Centres, and all other Mixed Use Areas, Regeneration Areas and Employment Areas within 500 metres of an existing or approved and funded subway, light rapid transit or GO station.  Secondary Plans and Site and Area Specific Policies may establish policies providing for minimum standards for commercial development within 500 metres of an existing or approved and funded subway, light rapid transit or GO station.  Policy 9 of OPA 231 also remains under appeal and states that new development that includes residential units on a property with at least 1,000 m2 of existing non-residential gross floor area used for offices is required to increase the non-residential gross floor area used for office purposes where the property is located in a Mixed Use Area or Regeneration Area within: the Downtown and Central Waterfront; a Centre; or 500 metres of an existing or an approved and funded subway, light rapid transit or GO train station.

 

Employment Areas

The southern 50 metres of the site is designated as Employment Areas within the Official Plan.  The land use policies of Section 4.6, Employment Areas state that Employment Areas are intended to be places of business and economic activity.  Uses that support this function include the proposed office and park uses on these lands, and also manufacturing, warehousing, distribution, research and development facilities, utilities, media facilities, hotels, retail outlets ancillary to the preceding uses, and restaurants and small scale stores and services that serve area businesses and workers. 

 

OPA 231 redesignated the southerly 50 metres of the site to General Employment Areas.  The General Employment Areas policies are subject to appeal at the OMB and are therefore not in force.  However, the designation permits the proposed office and park uses on these lands.

 

General Employment Areas are places for business and economic activities generally located on the peripheries of Employment Areas where, in addition to all uses permitted in a Core Employment Area, retail and service uses, restaurants, fitness centres and ice arenas may also be established.  Uses permitted in the Core Employment Areas are manufacturing, warehousing, wholesaling, transportation facilities, offices, research and development facilities, utilities, industrial trade schools, media facilities, and vertical agriculture.  Secondary uses, which support the primary employment uses permitted in Core Employment Areas include uses such as: hotels, parks, small-scale restaurants and catering facilities, and small-scale services uses that directly serve business needs such as courier services, banks and copy shops.

 

Site and Area Specific Policy 396

OPA 231 also introduces a new site and area specific policy (SASP 396) to provide policy direction on the subject site and also the two properties located to the west; namely, the block bounded by Eglinton Avenue East, Laird Drive, Vanderhoof Avenue and Brentcliffe Road.  The owners of the subject site and 815-845 Eglinton Avenue East both appealed SASP 396 and it is not in force.  SASP 396 that would apply to these lands provides the following policy directions:

 

-          General Employment Areas uses in the southerly 50 metres of the lands are limited to those that are compatible with residential and sensitive non-residential uses permitted in the Mixed Use Areas and Neighbourhoods designations;

-          major retail developments with 6,000 square metres of retail floor area would not be permitted in the southerly 50 metres of the lands;

-          development on the Mixed Use Areas lands that includes residential units is required to also increase the non-residential gross floor area on the SASP 396 lands; and

-          given the presence of industries to the south and southeast, a study of noise, dust, odour and other industrial related impacts is required prior to the approval of residential development so that appropriate design standards and building heights can be determined for buildings containing residential uses.

 

The Built Environment

Among other relevant policies in evaluating the proposal are policies related to the Built Environment (Section 3.1).  For larger sites the Official Plan includes Public Realm policies (Section 3.1.1) which promote the use of new streets to provide connections and divide larger sites into smaller development blocks.  These development blocks should be appropriately sized and configured in relation to the requested land use and scale of development, provide adequate room within the block for parking and servicing needs and allow for phasing to be properly undertaken.  Policies also require that new parks and other public spaces front onto a street for good visibility, access and safety.

 

Section 3.1.2 identifies the importance of urban design as a fundamental element of city building and contains built form policies intended to minimize the impacts of new development and guide the form of new buildings to fit within the context of the neighbourhood and the City. These policies guide new development to be located and organized to fit with its existing and/or planned context. They will frame and support adjacent streets, parks and open spaces to improve the safety, pedestrian interest and casual view to these spaces. New developments will locate and organize vehicle parking, vehicular access, service areas and utilities to minimize their impact on the property and on surrounding properties and to improve the safety and attractiveness of adjacent streets, parks and open spaces. New development will be massed and its exterior façade will be designed to fit harmoniously into its existing and/or planned context, and will limit its impact on neighbouring streets, parks, open spaces and properties. New development will be massed to define the edges of streets, parks and open spaces at good proportion. Taller buildings will be located to ensure adequate access to sky view for the proposed and future use of these areas. New development will provide amenity for adjacent streets and open spaces to make these areas attractive, interesting, comfortable and functional for pedestrians.

 

Also, every significant new multi-residential development will provide indoor and outdoor amenity space for residents of the new development. Each resident of such development will have access to outdoor amenity spaces such as balconies, terraces, courtyards, rooftop gardens and other types of outdoor spaces. Similar built form policy objectives are found in Section 3.1.3 as they specifically relate to tall buildings.

 

Building New Neighbourhoods

Section 3.3 of the Official Plan requires that new neighbourhoods will have a comprehensive planning framework reflecting the Plan's city-wide goals as well as the local context.  The framework should include: the pattern of streets, development blocks, open spaces and other infrastructure; the mix and location of uses; a strategy to provide parkland and to protect, enhance or restore natural heritage; a strategy to provide community services and local institutions; and a strategy to provide affordable housing. 

 

New neighbourhoods will be viable as communities.  They should have: a community focal point within easy walking distance of the neighbourhood's residents and workers; a fine grain of interconnected streets and pedestrian routes that define development blocks; a mix of uses and a range of building types; high quality parks, community recreation centres, open space and public buildings; and services and facilities that meet the needs of residents, workers and visitors.

 

New neighbourhoods will be carefully integrated into the surrounding fabric of the City.  They will have: good access to transit and good connections to surrounding streets and open spaces; uses and building scales that are compatible with surrounding development; community services and parks that fit within the wider system; and a housing mix that contributes to the full range of housing.

 

Other relevant policies in the "Public Realm” and “Built Form” sections of the Plan will also be used to review this development proposal.

 

The Toronto Official Plan is available on the City’s website at: http://www.toronto.ca/planning/official_plan/introduction.htm

Zoning By-law

The property at 939 Eglinton Avenue East is zoned as Light Industrial M1(3) in the former Town of Leaside Zoning By-law No. 1916.  The base M1 zone permits a number of industrial uses such as manufacturing, warehousing, data processing, communications, graphic arts, wholesaling and accessory offices.  Office uses are also permitted including business and professional offices, as well as a limited range of business service uses located on the first floor.  The zoning limits retail uses if they are accessory to a manufacturing or wholesaling use provided the area of such retail use is not greater than 30% of the gross floor area. The M1 zone permits a maximum density or Floor Space Index of 0.75 (equivalent to a gross floor area of 15,176 m²).

In addition to the above noted uses, the site specific exception which applies to the site (By-law No.104-87) also permits technical trade and service uses and business services uses up to a maximum of 20% of the permitted floor area and ground floor retail stores but not including food stores or drive-in and take out restaurants.

Eglinton Connects Planning Study

Eglinton Avenue is identified as an intensification corridor in Metrolinx's Regional Transportation Plan. The Eglinton Crosstown, which is a light rail transit (LRT) line that will run across Eglinton Avenue between Mount Dennis (Weston Road) and Kennedy Station is currently underway. From Keele station to Laird station the line will operate underground and will resurface onto Eglinton Avenue East just east of Brentcliffe Road.  The intersection of Laird Drive and Eglinton Avenue East has been identified as a location for an LRT station.  The main station entrance will be at the southwest corner of Laird Drive and Eglinton Avenue East and the secondary entrance will be located on the southeast corner.

The subject site falls within the Laird Focus Area, which was one of 6 Focus Areas identified in the Eglinton Connects Planning Study, as areas with larger parcels of land fronting Eglinton Avenue East (and/or places where two Avenues intersect), that could have a greater capacity to accommodate future population and employment growth.  As part of the Eglinton Connects Planning Study, demonstration plans showing the potential arrangement of streets and blocks, building massing, and open spaces were created for each Focus Area.  The Eglinton Connects Planning Study report indicated that three Focus Areas (Laird, Don Mills and The Golden Mile) required additional study and public consultation. 

The Eglinton Connects Study also included the adoption of a set of Urban Design Guidelines for Eglinton Avenue from Jane Street to Kennedy Road. The Vision for Eglinton Avenue is that it will become Toronto's central east-west avenue, a green beautiful linear space that supports residential living, employment, retail and public uses in a setting of community vibrancy. Its design will balance all forms of mobility and connect neighbourhoods and natural valley systems to the larger city and the region.  The guidelines provide direction on a number of design matters related to matters such as, but not limited to: Street Edge Continuity; Character Areas; Retail Edges; and Public Boulevard Enhancements. 

 

April 16, 2015, Zoning By-law Amendment Submission

January 16, 2013, Official Plan Amendment Submission

Working Group Materials:

Working Group Meetings:

  • Meeting #1 – Introduction – January 4, 2016
  • Meeting #2 – Built Form #1 Site Organization – February 24, 2016
  • Meeting #3 – Built Form #2 Building Types, Transition, Height – March 29, 2016
  • Meeting #4 – Transportation – May 11, 2016
  • Meeting #5 – Built Form Options and Community Services & Facilities – June 1, 2016
  • Meeting #6 – Built Form Preferred Option – June 23, 2016

Community Consultation Meeting Materials: