December 12th 2013
Eric Emin Wood
The once-attractive, now graffitti-tagged former rental apartment building sits forlorn on its lot at 467 Spadina Rd.
Unused since 2006, its windows are boarded up. For months a development notice has been tacked onto its chipped front door.
Local residents finally had a chance to learn about and comment on the building’s future on Dec. 2, at a public consultation meeting put on by Ward 22 councillor Josh Matlow at Grace Church on-the-Hill.
“I heard mixed responses from the community,” Matlow said about the meeting, attended by about 25. “No one’s unhappy about the building being back in good repair, but there were several concerns about the specific number of units.”
Urban planner Armando Barbini, representing owner Toni Varone, said his take on the meeting was that residents were against the density increase, specifically about how it might impact traffic in the area.
According to the city’s preliminary report, published in August, Varone intends to include in the renovations replacement of 17 affordable two-bedroom units with 31 higher-end rental apartments, 22 of them one-bedroom units.
Developers converting or demolishing six or more affordable rental units are required under the city’s Official Plan to replace them. Varone proposed eight townhouses at 501R Logan Ave. as an alternative replacement.
While city officials expressed in the report concern about the townhouses being an appropriate replacement, Matlow believes the additional units could impact parking in the neighbourhood, since the apartment building, located in a high-traffic area, has no underground facilities.
Barbini disagrees, noting the building never provided parking. He estimates the population increase will be a rise of only 51 to 64 residents.
Matlow said that he would not support parking permits for future residents, and wants Varone to make it clear in lease agreements that no parking will be provided.
“If you own a car, these apartments won’t be for you,” Matlow said. “There are countless buildings in the midtown area with a surplus of underground parking.”
Barbini said rental agreements will state that no parking will be provided. As well, the owner will install 34 bicycle parking spaces, he said.
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