Summary of the first 1990 Bloor Working Group

North Drive was represented by Moiz Bahar, lead urban designer, Marco (designer from Quadrangle) and Shelley from Goodman’s (I believe) the law firm for NDI. She’s their planning consultant.

Residents included Steve Dewdney (landscape architect), another architect from Durie, several residents from 2000 Bloor, one or two from 20 Gothic, and Marshall Leslie – the sole representative from behind the development site.

We all got to state our concerns in a quick go round, then it was the turn of Carvalino/Flora from the City.

They sounded pretty uncompromising in listing the reasons for the Mid-Rise Guidelines, said they envisions maximums on height and massing, not a starting point for an upward negotiation. They described the M.R.G. study as more like a culmination of thinking and planning, rather than a work in progress. There was no doubt left that the proposal infringed on just about every principle the guidelines are meant to regulate.

Moiz pointed to the obvious: it’s near a subway stop along a major transit line. He drew from the comments made in a side report by the consultants who helped develop the Mid Rise document. They said that Council should be able to take that, and the fact that small lots will be in the mix, into special consideration and be prepared to grant a host of exceptions to the guidelines.

The Planners were quick to note that these comments/recommendations were NOT adopted by Council and are not part of the Guidelines they are bound to enforce.

We were put in three mixed groups with a goal of unleashing some creative suggestions for the developer.

One group suggested, among other things, that part of the building extend over the TTC tracks and that a green space be created in the portion that would wrap around the adjacent building.

Others focused on lowering the height and (effectively) reducing the massing by having the front of building step back more dramatically, possibly from a lower starting point, to lessen it’s dominance of the street “wall”. Others dealt with access issues (ie: putting the condo door on Parkview Gdns) to lessen car backups on Bloor.

North Drive’s representatives were polite and apparently receptive, though anything to do with the TTC was rejected by the lawfirm’s planner.

She was the one to say they needed some time to “digest” the night’s proceeds and Planning said the date for the next meeting would be set once North Drive had been in touch with their offices.

It’s clear NDI haven’t moved a bit toward what Planning had said in its initial reports. They might cherry pick from the suggestions made without compromising on the key money issues of height and massing, play out the process and take that to Council, then the OMB if they lose the vote.

Several people pushed them more than once on the issue of rental units: split them between buildings, put them somewhere else in the Village, think creatively about unplugging the argument that the building has to be a certain size because it’s got to accommodate 24 rentals. Neither side seems to want to go there.