The proposed severance of 27 Thirty Ninth Street was refused in a May 5, 2021 decision issued by the Toronto Local Appeal Body (TLAB)
The proposal sought to sever a 15.24 meter (50-foot) lot into two undersized lots. The homes the Applicant sought to build were large in scale, coming in at a Floor Space Index of 0.62 versus a bylaw standard of 0.35 for the Neighbourhood of Long Branch. FSI is a term used to define the density of a home on its lot, and is the ratio of the gross floor area to the area of the lot.
The decision was rendered by former Chair of TLAB Ian Lord in a very thorough and meticulously detailed 101-page written decision.
The hearing, which took 6 days to complete, started on January 8, 2020 but did not conclude until March 12, 2021 due to a lengthy adjournment due to COVID-19 restrictions. The first 3 days were conducted in person while the final 3 days were virtual.
Since the City officially adopted Official Plan Amendment 320 and City Council unanimously passed the Long Branch Neighbourhood Character Guidelines, the TLAB has refused 10 severance applications with the LBNA officially participating on behalf of the Neighbourhood in all but one. Another 3 are currently still being reviewed at TLAB.
In the case of 27 Thirty Ninth, six neighbours participated in giving evidence at the hearing. They were praised by Mr. Lord for providing hard fact-based evidence in the absence of a professional planner who could provide expert opinion evidence.
“On these Applications, neighbourhood concern is evident not only in the witnesses and their evidence and presentation efforts, but also in the history of their engagement at the COA and in fulfilling the somewhat onerous Rules of the TLAB that require early and definitive disclosure, in writing, of positions.”
Key Success Factors
The successful outcomes on all of these TLAB appeals would not have been possible without the following:
- Active Resident Involvement. In this case, one family elected to get involved as what is termed a Party to the appeal. Doing so gave them the right to call witnesses and to be included in all discussions regarding the application.
- Active Resident Participation. As noted above, 6 neighbours provided testimony at the hearing for 27 Thirty Ninth. We have seen more than that and somewhat fewer than that at other hearings, but what is common is that multiple residents chose to have a say and were granted that opportunity by TLAB.
- Factual Evidence. Residents amassed the type of data professional planners use to analyze and justify their clients’ development proposals. They studied other decisions from the OMB and TLAB to learn why previous applications had been approved or refused. They dove into the Official Plan, the Bylaws and Provincial policies to see just how well the applicants’ proposals did or did not conform to regulations.
To read the full text of the decision, click here.