The RRA was a participant in a three-day mediation process that led to a settlement regarding the proposed development at 40-44 Broadway. It is rare for a residents’ association to be invited to participate in such a meaningful manner. Associations can be ‘parties’ or ‘participants’ in a Local Appeal Planning Tribunal (LPAT) hearing but that usually involves paying for legal advice and/or other expert guidance. We were invited to take part in the mediation process even though we only had 'participant' status. Typically only those with 'party' status can participate in this way. The mediation process is intended to result in a settlement thus avoiding a potentially contentious, lengthy and costly hearing.
In addition to the RRA, the mediation process included the City of Toronto (legal and planning staff), the developer (Collecdev Inc.) and the Archdiocese of Toronto, all of whom had to agree on our participation, to which they did graciously. We were able to use the existing volunteer human resources of the RRA (legal and engineering expertise) so we did not need to hire outside consultants.
As you may know, the community had many concerns about this development including:
· The height and density of the proposed 44-storey tower
· The church design which extended right to the sidewalk
· The lack of dedicated, public green space
· Additional, overflow traffic – both vehicular and pedestrian
If you have followed development activities in the City of Toronto, and especially after the Province’s rejection of the Midtown in Focus plan, as approved by the City, you know that when developers pursue a hearing at LPAT they are very likely to have their plans approved as proposed. With this in mind, the RRA was eager to participate in a potential settlement rather than pursue the improbable scenario of trying to change the plans at a hearing.
The settlement that we agreed to, regarding 40-44 Broadway, along with the City’s exceptional support, is as follows:
· Reduction of the height of the tower from 138.51 metres to 125.45 metres (including mechanical equipment). This is significantly lower than the already approved 135 metre height at the 55-65 Broadway development (including mechanical).
· Reduction in the number of storeys from 44 to 39.
· Reduction in the number of dwelling units from 398 to 376.
· A new public parkette in front of the church.
· A significant movement of the church back towards the tower and away from the sidewalk.
· A public dog relief space on the east side of the property.
· The movement of the residential entrance further north and closer to the tower.
· The addition of a turnaround in the driveway to discourage parking on Broadway for pick-ups and deliveries.
This settlement was adopted at City Council on May 5. We have been assured that we will be involved in the design of the parkette and in the complex construction management process which will be a long and significant engagement. In all, we are pleased with the outcome and hope that we have a set a tone for future involvement in similar discussions with developers and the City in our neighbourhood.