Councillors delay approval of Humbertown Plaza redevelopment

Reprinted From the Etobicoke Guardian
CYNTHIA REASON Mar 23, 2012 – 11:21 AM

Please see the attached article in The Guardian regarding the Application for a Secondary Plan Review.
An application for the redevelopment of the Humbertown Plaza site has been effectively stalled two months after west-end councillors voted Tuesday to first review the feasibility of conducting a broader secondary plan review of the area.An application put forth by First Capital Realty proposes a mixed-use development on the site (at 259 and 270 The Kingsway, and 1155 Royal York Rd.), as well as five 11- to 21-storey residential buildings containing 654 residential units and 28 four-storey townhouse units.

It’s a proposal Niels Christensen – who, as president of the Humber Valley Village Residents’ Association, represents the interests of nearly 1,600 neighbouring homeowners – said is “ill-suited” to his “stable, historic, low-density residential neighbourhood with a very distinctive semi-rural character.”

“Our association submits that the concentration of highrise towers and intense commercial activity in the heart of this residential neighbourhood inherently conflicts with the ambiance, the characteristic lifestyle, and the quality of our neighbourhood and surrounding areas,” he told councillors at Tuesday’s session of the Etobicoke York Community Council (EYCC).

“Humbertown is not situated at the intersection of two arterial roads…so it’s ill suited to support high density or a regional shopping centre, which this (proposed development) is clearly designed to become.”

For those reasons, local Councillor Gloria Lindsay Luby (Etobicoke Centre) requested Tuesday in her motion to EYCC that the director of Community Planning report back at the May 15 community council meeting on the “feasibility of conducting a secondary plan review or area-specific zoning bylaw or policy to be created for the Humbertown Plaza expansion.”

Under the City of Toronto’s Official Plan, a secondary plan is defined as one that guides the creation of new neighbourhoods and employment districts, while ensuring adequate public infrastructure and environmental protection.

“I’m making that request because I think it is really important to see the bigger picture here,” Lindsay Luby said. “I’ve had calls from residents from Ward 5, Ward 3, Ward 2 and, of course, Ward 4. This is bigger than just this little plaza. It’s a humongous application that is going to literally change the character of that neighbourhood.”

While a representative for the applicant called a secondary plan unnecessary and asked that councillors instead vote to move the application through the normal planning process so that they could “continue to work with staff and the neighbourhood,” Lindsay Luby’s council colleagues sided with her motion to delay – albeit some reluctantly so.

While York West Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti said he would ‘uncomfortably’ support Lindsay Luby’s motion, he expressed his concern that delaying the application could mean it might end up at the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). York-South Weston Councillor Frank Di Giorgio agreed.

“This motion, in my view, delays any community meeting from being held. Basically we’re giving instruction to staff to explore some other framework, and in the meantime everything will lie in limbo with this application,” Di Giorgio said. “I don’t know what position that puts the applicant in.”

For his part, neighbouring Councillor Peter Milczyn (Etobicoke-Lakeshore) said that while he believes staff will come back in May and say that a secondary plan is not warranted, he does believe the Humbertown Plaza redevelopment deserves a more ‘robust’ review.

“I do think that, given the size of the site, the size of the application, and the fact that the site is bisected by a major public road, it requires a somewhat more robust planning review than simply a site-specific application,” he said, drawing on his own experience with implementing a “planning framework study” with Cloverdale Mall redevelopment plans. “That allowed us to engage the property owners there in a more in-depth review about roads, appropriate heights and densities, and community needs.”

Councillors voted unanimously in favour of Lindsay Luby’s motion. City planning staff are now expected to report back to EYCC on the feasibility of conducting a secondary plan review or area-specific zoning bylaw or policy on May 15.



Councillors delay approval of Humbertown Plaza redevelopment. Councillors at Etobicoke York Commuinty Council have voted to delay a proposal to redevelop The Humbertown Shopping Plaza, at 1144 Royal York Rd, north of Dundas Street. They’re asking for staff to report back on the possibility of doing a secondary plan review for the area. Staff photo/MARY GAUDET