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Local Residents start group to discuss new condo developments

Local residents have formed a new group called Smart Growth for Ossington, the purpose of which, according to their website, is to help develop the Ossington area in a community friendly manner.

Residents, business people and concerned citizens are invited to attend an upcoming community meeting organized by Toronto’s city planning department to discuss the ‘109OZ‘ development. The meeting is scheduled for Monday, 25 June 2012, 6:30–8:30 PM, at the Trinity Recreation Centre (155 Crawford). According to a meeting notice, along with the group’s founders, Mike Layton is also expected to attend and, we expect the developers behind 109 Oz and Motif.

As local residents ourselves, we think this is an excellent idea. It’s good for the community to get together to meet about issues that affect us, and to share opinions and concerns. We would highly encourage all our local readers to attend the meeting (we will be there covering) and join the Facebook group to keep up on updates. Although we haven’t yet personally met the principals behind this group, we like the balanced approach they have to growth and development in the area. The site already has some good information about their position so far, which is still a work in progress.

It’s worth highlighting a few quotes from the site. I have edited the quotes to highlight the key points, and welcome you to read more of the opinion side of the argument directly from their page.

What position does Smarth Growth for Ossington take on Reserve Properties?
We do not have a well thought-out position at this time. We are scheduled to meet with some of the principals of this firm in mid-June: we will inform the community of the events of this meeting.

What position does Smart Growth for Ossington take on the proposed ’109OZ’ development?

Our position is a nuanced one.

We begin with the positive side.
1. We are in favor of densification. We applaud Reserve Properties for contributing to the revitalization of the area. Higher density means greater economic activity means a more energetic retail sector.
2. A mixed-use structure on this site is much better than the used car lot and auto repair shop that occupied part of it. Those functions did not add to neighbourhood life: in fact, they subtracted from it.
3. We are pleased that the structure will include street-level retail. We are pleased that the structure faces ‘toward the street’ rather than ‘inward’.
4. We are somewhat pleased that the structure is architecturally adventurous (although not unequivocally pleased about the exact form proposed). Many (though not all) of the more ‘historicist’ designs in the city are unsuccessful.

Next to the ‘unknowns’.
1. We notice that the plan calls for widening Argyle Place, the laneway running behind the development site.
2. We wonder how the ground-level retail space will be divided.

Finally to the negatives.
I. SIZE
We feel that the structure is too big. It is the height of an eight story building. The tallest older buildings along Ossington are three stories: the proposed structure is therefore 2.67 times as tall as any older building.
II. PARKING
A. We feel that the structure incorporates too much parking. Sixty spots for residents and ten for retail tenants means seventy cars squeezing in and out of narrow Argyle Place two or four or six times a day each.
B. We are also concerned about the pattern of traffic flow in and out of the proposed garage.
C. In combination with the demographic Reserve Properties is targeting as inhabitants of the proposed structure (see below) we see further safety concerns. The building is being sold as, in effect, a smaller ‘Bohemian Embassy’ — a party dormitory for young singles.
III. INTERNAL CONFIGURATION
In our view, the proposal contains too many units, and they are too small.
IV. ROAD-WIDENING
We have remarked that the proposal calls for widening Argyle Place and have speculated about why it does so.

As the founders of Smart Growth for Ossington mention, the Fenton family, who we met at their opening party a few weeks ago, want to work with the community to build something the community wants to have. From our meetings so far they certainly seemed willing to listen and engage the community. We highly encourage as many people as possible to come to the meeting and discuss and share their opinions on this important change to Ossington.

  • http://www.smartgrowthforossington.ca/ Jessica Wilson

    Thanks so much for publicizing this, Brian!  One small point of clarification: the meeting is actually being set up by the city—it will be the first public “community consultation” meeting.  (Residents should be receiving official notice of the meeting by mail in the next week or so.)  I believe the planner, Francis Kwashie, will also be there.  We hope that all interested parties, including business owners and employees, neighborhood residents, and parents of children attending Givens-Shaw Elementary school (for which Argyle St. is a primary walking street) will attend and weigh in.

  • http://ossingtonvillage.com Brian Sharwood

    No problem. I’m hoping that the Fentons will be there too. Bringing the communities together is important. 

  • http://www.smartgrowthforossington.ca/ Jessica Wilson

    Word.

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