10-storey condo proposal upsets Cabbagetown locals

By Megan Bocchinfuso –

Properties 505, 507 and 509 Parliament Street, just north of Carlton Street, have been bought by Streetwise Capital Partners Inc. to create a 10-storey multi-use condominium. The sites were once the Carlton Theatre (1994), a CBC studio (1995) and most recently the Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre, slated to close next year. At a May 30 city-sponsored community consultation, Cabbagetown locals expressed dismay about the proposal’s height, potential disturbance to current residents and heritage sites, resulting shadowing and affordability.

Created by RAW Design, the building plan has 85 residential units with ground-level retail spaces on a lot of 1,143 square metres. Each storey is to be set back one-and-a-half to two metres from the floor below.
In 1970, a bylaw was passed disallowing Cabbagetown building heights exceeding 14 metres. Streetwise Capital Partners Inc. has applied for a zoning amendment to allow its proposed height of almost 37 metres.
Factors including angular planes determine the maximum height for a proposed building in a mixed-use area, the city’s Urban Planning department said. “Each site has a specific context that we consider.”

Directly behind the site is Broadcast Lane, while further east is Arthur Goss Lane. The application bases the angular plane measurement from Arthur Goss Lane, 27 metres from the proposal site, rather than from Broadcast Lane, just three metres away. The developers do not own any land between the two lanes, yet are using Broadcast lane and onward as if it’s their property. Treating Arthur Goss Lane as part of the proposal allows extra height.

“Arthur Goss Lane is not the lane they should’ve used,” longtime Cabbagetown resident Gilles Huot says. “If they used Broadcast Lane, they would not be able to get the height they wanted.”

Cabbagetown Review blog editor and publisher Doug Fisher agreed. RAW Design wouldn’t have enough space for the staggered design if measurement was based on Broadcast Lane.

But Roland Rom Colthoff of RAW Design told the online community meeting that Arthur Goss Lane “is the appropriate data point to start using things like angular planes,” which is currently under the review of the city’s Urban Plan- ning department.

Sean McGaffey of Walker Nott Dragicevic Associates, representing Streetwise Cap- ital, admittedly said in many Toronto areas the zoning bylaws do not align with the Official Plan, which is what we are seeing with this building proposal. “That’s the reality at hand that everyone needs to deal with.”

Huot said the contradictory statement from the developers is why they are submitting a bylaw amendment in the first place. Actively trying to change the bylaw would prove a flawed plan.

Huot said the amendment decision lies in the hands of the city, but is hopeful they choose to honor the bylaw. “There is

a reason the bylaws are put in place. The law is the law.”

Huot acknowledges that Parliament Street has become rather “gritty” and needs renewal. However, he believes the “monster building” proposal is “full of mistakes” and not the right fit.

“We have an incredible neighbourhood that has a strong personality,” Huot told the bridge. “The idea is to find the balance between redeveloping some- thing, dealing with the housing crisis, and also doing it in a reasonable and respectful way.”

During the online meeting, Huot also raised issues of privacy and shadowing. McGaffey said shadow studies were prepared and submitted to the city, “and in my view, the impacts are relatively minor.”

On May 6, Huot started the online petition “Deny request to amend the Zoning By-law to permit tall building at 505-509 Parliament”. As of July 4, the petition has garnered 1,179 signatures.

1 Comment

It is about time for Cabbagetown to accept some decent and needed development on parliament st.