An application to sever 90 Ash Crescent into two 25-foot lots, which had been approved by the Committee of Adjustment on May 9, 2019, was appealed and refused at the Toronto Local Appeal Body, TLAB.
In a 24-page decision dated August 12, 2021, the presiding member, Mr. Ted Yao, refused the severance application.
The hearing began on October 2, 2019; with a hiatus in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and, altogether, required 10 days of hearings.
This was a highly contentious dispute.
In his presentation to the Committee of Adjustment, the Planner representing the Applicant described the Long Branch Neighbourhood Association as NIMBY and described his clients’ actions as an ordeal requiring “A Herculean effort” to scale back their original proposal to one that City Planning and the Committee of Adjustment could consider approving.
For the residents of Ash Crescent, this application represented a tipping point. The City’s Official Plan requires that applications must be consistent with prevailing patterns of lot frontage, lot area, and density among other factors. At the time of this application, the number of 50-foot lots on Ash Crescent was roughly equal to the number of 25-foot lots. Approval of this application would mean that 25-foot frontages would become the prevailing frontage, which could lead to accelerated approvals of other lot severances on the street.
The Applicant called two witnesses – their Planner and an Arborist. The City, who changed their position mid-hearing from “Object” to “No Objections”, called only an Arborist. The residents’ team was led by the LBNA and involved 7 residents who testified. In addition, the LBNA summoned the City Planner who wrote the final report submitted to the Committee of Adjustment.
Prior to the Committee of Adjustment hearing, the Applicant revised their proposed FSI 3 times: from 1.04 to 0.92, to 0.67 and finally to 0.61. The bylaw standard for density in Long Branch is 0.35 FSI, so the applicant basically revised their density from 3 times the bylaw standard to 2 times the bylaw standard.
The Applicant pointed to a number of approved severances on Ash Crescent as part of the justification for their proposal for 90 Ash. However, 2 of these severances – at 56 and 58 Ash – have had no building activity since they were granted approval by the OMB in 2016. Both properties are owned by a Brampton-based developer who owns other properties in Long Branch.
Mr. Yao undertook some significant and detailed analysis of the data presented by both Applicant and Appellant and concluded that the proposed lot widths and FSIs did NOT reflect the character of the neighbourhood. The TLAB considers both the immediate context (the block or section of the street) and the broader context (a wider area around the subject property.)
We believe the active involvement of 7 residents contributed much to the outcome. And, once again, the LBNA was able to prevail against professional lawyers despite having no formally-trained legal person on the team.
To read the full text of the decision, please click here.