On June 6, 2014 the City received an application to rezone the site. The application proposes to amend the Zoning By-law to permit a phased development with an eight-storey rental retirement building (Phase 1) with 175 units and a seven-storey condominium for seniors (Phase 2) with 109 units at 146-150 Laird Drive. The overall development would have 284 units with a Floor Space Index of approximately 3.45 and 183 parking spaces provided in an underground parking garage. The second phase includes additions to a listed heritage building.
Phase 1 would have a height of 27.86 metres and a gross floor area of 15,440 square metres. Phase 2 would have a height of 26.96 metres and a gross floor area of 8,069 square metres.
The application has been appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board by the applicant, due to Council's lack of decision. A Prehearing at the Ontario Municipal Board has been scheduled for September 22, 2015.
The Official Plan designates the site, on Map 17, as Mixed Use Areas which provides for a broad range of uses. Development in these areas will provide a balance of high quality commercial, residential and institutional uses. These uses should reduce automobile dependency and meet the needs of the local community. It is expected that Mixed Use Areas will absorb a large amount of the expected growth within the city. The Official Plan also contains policies respecting built form, transportation and the public realm.
Policy 2 of the Mixed Use Areas section of Chapter 4 identifies a number of criteria with regards to transition between development within Mixed Use Areas and adjacent Neighbourhoods. The policies require that new development will locate and mass new buildings to provide transition between areas of different development intensity and scale through mean such as providing appropriate setbacks and a stepping down of heights. Policy 4.5.2(d) also requires that shadowing from new development be limited on adjacent Neighbourhoods especially during the spring and fall equinoxes.
The Built Form policies in Section 3.1.2 of the Official Plan relate to ensuring that new development in the city can fit harmoniously within the existing area. This includes providing appropriate transition to the existing surrounding area to ensure that the new development will fit within the existing and/or planned context. Development should be massed with good proportions to fit within the existing and planned context and to ensure sunlight and skyview from adjacent streets. Transition in scale may be achieved with many "geometric relationships and design methods in different combinations" including angular planes, stepping of heights, location and orientation of the buildings and the use of setbacks and stepbacks of building mass.
The policies in Section 3.1.5 of the Official Plan relate to the development of heritage buildings, districts and landscapes. The policies allow for additional gross floor area to be permitted in excess of what is permitted by the Zoning By-law provided, among other things, that the application includes conservation of the historic building or structure.
Section 5.1.1 allows the City to approve height and/or density increases greater than permitted by the zoning by-law pursuant to Section 37 of the Planning Act for developments which exceed 10,000 square metres and increase the permitted density by at least 1500 square metres and/or significantly increase the permitted height. The proposal is over 23,000 square metres and the proposed overall building heights in excess of thirty metres exceeds the maximum permitted height of 12.2 metres.
The site is currently zoned Commercial – General (C1) by former Town of Leaside Zoning By-law 1916. This zone permits a wide range of retail and commercial uses. Residential dwelling units are permitted over a permitted commercial use except for over a garage or service station. Dwelling units are not permitted if there is no commercial use on the ground floor. A maximum lot coverage of eighty percent is permitted and a maximum height of 12.2 metres is permitted. The C1 zoning requires a front yard setback of six metres and a rear yard setback equal to twenty percent of the lot depth but in no case less than six metres.
The site is also zoned CR 2.0 (c2.0; r1.3) SS3 (x1163) by City of Toronto Zoning By-law 569-2013 which is currently under appeal. The CR zoned permits a mix of commercial and residential uses. Permitted residential uses include nursing home, residential care facility, retirement home and apartment building. A maximum height of 12.2 metres and a maximum lot coverage of eighty percent is permitted. A minimum rear yard setback of 7.5 metres is required. Laird Drive is identified as a major street. Exception 1163 only permits residential uses above the first floor.