Bloor West condo heads to court

Tower too tall for 1540 Bloor W according to new city study
Application for 27-storey condo heading to OMB
By Kris Scheuer
(Written Nov. 17 for Town Crier.) 

A developer trying to build a 27-storey condominium at Bloor and Dundas area is being sidelined by the city officials, who say nothing taller than 15 storeys should be allowed. 
A&G Mercouris has appealed its proposal to build a 250-condo unit building to the Ontario Municipal Board after city staff rejected the plan. 
The proposed 27-storey highrise tower is too tall and may create traffic problems, say both city staff and residents.Possibly working against A&G Mercouris is a recently completed Bloor-Dundas avenue study, which recommends between 10-15 storeys for development in the area.
The applicant originally applied for 29 storeys but reduced its request. 
“The fundamental concerns of the city remain — the building is much too tall and dense,” says Parkdale-High Park Councillor Gord Perks. 
“I’m hopeful (the study) does have an impact at the OMB because there’s so much consensus from Toronto city staff, property owners in the area, residents and community organizations.” 
Since A&G Mercouris submitted their condo proposal to the city in June 2007 — about four months before the avenue study began — the developer’s lawyer Adam Brown is saying the application shouldn’t be subject to the study. 
“It shouldn’t impact us,” he said. “It doesn’t distinguish this site versus a mid-block site.” 
Brown said the proposed site is at a busy intersection, right by a subway, and can’t be treated the same as other locations. 
Perks isn’t convinced. 
“Brown says his client’s building won’t set a precedent,” he said. “That doesn’t mean other developers won’t try and use it as one.” 
Residents opposed to the proposal are also concerned about pedestrian safety.
The development includes a plan to use an existing public laneway so residents can drive to an underground parking garage, and use a driveway off Dundas for garbage collection and deliveries, according to a Nov. 4 city staff report. 
But area resident Harry Cornelius said the driveway is too close to the only TTC bus, streetcar and pedestrian entrance to Dundas West Station.
“The pedestrians have to cross the (developer’s) driveway to get to the TTC,” said Cornelius, with Friends of Dundas and Bloor residents’ group. 
In March, the city requested the applicant to show how it will help improve interaction between pedestrians and vehicles at the site access driveway.  
They have yet to submit that information, but Brown said the proposal meets all city requirements. 
“We agreed to all site plan conditions of the city,” Brown said. “We were asked to (have cars) access on Dundas. Then we were asked 
to access the laneway. It’s been reviewed by us and the city. It’s not an issue.” 
Overall, Brown said the corner is ideal for intensification — at a major intersection next to transit.
“If you don’t permit it here, then where?” 

What the study says
The Bloor Dundas avenue study is a plan to support further intensification for Bloor Street West along Keele to the rail corridor, and Dundas St. West from Glenlake to Boustead Avenues. It was approved at community council on Nov. 10. 
Some highlights: 
• More pedestrian crossings, bikeways and parkland. 
• Review the Redeemer Lutheran Church, Lithuanian Community House on Bloor Street West and three warehouse buildings on Dundas West as possible heritage properties. 
• An agreement for greater public access of Bishop Marrocco-Thomas Catholic Secondary School’ s playing field.
• More licenced childcare for kids up to five to meet projected demand. 

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