Posted with permission from Mimico Lakeshore Network (MLN).
20/20 QUESTIONS & ANSWERS (Notes)
From MIMICO 20/20 TOWN HALL MEETING, April 3, 2013 at the Wesley Mimico United Church, organized by the Mimico Lakeshore Network. Toronto City Planners, Bill Kiru and Matthew Premru along with 32 members of this community attended the meeting.
HEIGHT & DENSITY
Question: We don’t want another Humber Bay Shores. How will this plan prevent that from happening?
Answer: Mr. Kiru: “We heard that loud and strong.” Mr. Premru added that the plan specifies the range of heights proposed for each section of the area which in its entirety stretches from Fleeceline Road to Miles Road. He added that if the Secondary Plan is approved then planning staff will use the policies in the Secondary Plan to defend applications before Toronto City Council and the Ontario Municipal Board should a developer decide to appeal an application.
Question: How will development applications be assessed if the proposed Secondary Plan is not approved by Toronto City Council?
Answer: Mr. Premru said in that case development applications would be processed using the City of Toronto Official Plan. The City’s Official Plan covers the whole city and is more general, less specific than a Secondary Plan. There is a lot more room, more flexibility for policy interpretation in the City’s Official Plan than a Secondary Plan. Another important issue to remember is that the City’s Official Plan does not contain any clear height restrictions. He added that a Secondary Plan is designed for a specific area, it makes his job a lot easier, since he knows exactly what to defend.
Question: Will the plan be approved by City Council?
Answer: Mr. Premru responded that he could not speculate on what City Council might decide.
Question: I applaud the Secondary Plan, however, I wonder how often such Secondary Plans are overridden by developers?
Answer: Mr. Premru said that a Secondary Plan gives a higher level of protection against developers seeking approval for oversized projects than the City’s Official Plan would.
Question: How much protection does a Secondary Plan afford, adding that in his view there is no absolute guarantee?
Answer: Mr. Premru said the level of protection is higher than some other non-policy documents such as a study. The plan provides legal clout but having said that, he added that the Planning Act gives developers the right to appeal a decision by City Council to the Ontario Municipal Board.
Question: What is the relationship between the Secondary Plan and the proposed Urban Design Guidelines?
Answer: Mr. Premru said the Secondary Plan is policy while the guidelines are an expression of Council’s intent that planning staff will apply when considering a development application. The planning staff will be recommending approval of the Urban Design Guidelines.
PARKS & OPEN SPACES
Question: How much wider will the green space be and how will it compare to the existing waterfront trail?
Answer: Mr. Premru said the actual amount of green space will depend on the size of the land developers bring with their applications. However, Mr. Kiru added that, as the Secondary Plan indicates, the preference is for parkland dedication rather than cash-in-lieu along the waterfront.
Question: Will the new roads intrude on the green space around or near the Waterfront Trail?
Answer: Mr. Premru said any new roads will be built on private property. One of the stated objectives of the Secondary Plan is to expand the waterfront trail and the green space throughout the area.
Question: Traffic is a major issue in this area and the Parklawn Road/Lake Shore Blvd West intersection is of particular concern. How does the plan deal with the traffic that will be generated by the revitalization?
Answer: Mr. Premru said that the Parklawn Road and Lake Shore Blvd intersection is on staff radar. He explained that the Secondary Plan will give planning staff the right to approve a development application but then specify that the project is on HOLD until issues related to traffic are resolved.
Question: I really like the fact that the Secondary Plan protects the (my) rental housing, however, I am critical of the community facilities study that was produced by the consulting firm. Can you comment on this?
Answer: Mr. Premru noted that the study is a background document and not a statement of policy and he added that planning staff is preparing their own community facilities study. Anyone submitting a redevelopment application will be required to submit a community services and facility update as part of their applications and it will be measured against the city’s own report.
Mr Premru has since provided the following clarification:
The related Community Service and Facility studies related to the Secondary Plan have in fact been completed (one by staff and one by Urban Strategies) and are posted on the Mimico 20/20 homepage under Sub-Consultant Reports here: www.toronto.ca/planning/mimico2020.htm
My comments were meant to indicate that over time and as demographic and physical conditions may change, community services and facilities is one of those items that is subject to staff review from time to time, as are other development related matters such as roads and infrastructure.
Note: Questions are paraphrased.