Today, demolition work is set to begin at the development site at 27 O’Meara, and I feel it’s important to let residents know how we’ve arrived at this point, and why I consider that the developer in question has engaged in what I would describe as a gross abuse of process.
The owners, Dream Living (partners Jason Spartalis and Marc Papineau), working with real estate developer Lindsay Blair (2B Developments) have permits both to demolish the existing property and to build an as-of-right triplex. A demolition permit for a dwelling can only be extended once a building permit has been granted, and in this case the permit has been duly extended under the conditions set out in the Ontario Building Code Act – a provincial statute.
However, we know that the developer does not intend to build a triplex that would be allowed under the current zoning. They intend to build an eight-unit multi-residential building for which either a re-zoning or multiple variances would be required. Fliers to that effect were recently distributed to neighbours.
Building an infill with a re-zoning or variances is nothing new in the ward. However, I am of the view that accelerating that work by applying for a building permit for a building one never intends to build, on the assumption that the required permissions are just a formality, is a new level of developer arrogance.
I’m concerned that, at this site, a resident’s quick action resulted in a second look at the possibility of asbestos by the Ministry of the Environment. That asbestos wasn’t noted in the original designated substances report. It was found, and the appropriate steps ordered to mitigate that during demolition. That compounds my existing concerns over the approach taken by this developer to get permits of convenience rather than pursuing the normal process.
I and the Hintonburg Community Association are concerned that the same developer is involved in several properties including 87 Stirling, 160 Bayswater and 115 Spadina as well as others around the city. At 87 Stirling, the developer has a building permit to expand a duplex and has already constructed much of the building, but we know that the developer is proposing a seven-unit building, as was recently disclosed at a public open house.
To be clear, we have our share of debates over the appropriate form and density of infill housing in the ward. There is a process – either at the Committee of Adjustment or at Council – for approving or rejecting proposed re-zonings or variances. But, to date, almost every developer that I can think of in our ward has pursued those processes appropriately. We have seen some developers build triplexes with fourth units roughed in, and I have opposed those, but I consider that applying to build a triplex fully planning to build an eight-unit building is a new procedural low.
I want to note that there is no power City Hall has to deny a building permit when properly applied for under the Ontario Building Code Act – a provincial statute. Further, when Council or the Committee of Adjustment consider applications for zoning changes, the OMB/LPAT has repeatedly ruled that process issues are not part of its considerations. If and when this application moves forward, there is no guarantee the changes won’t be approved, nor challenged back to the LPAT.
I share with the Hintonburg Community Association their concern over this development and encourage residents who are also concerned to contact both the HCA and me for updates and to share feedback. Contact the HCA at firstname.lastname@example.org.