no 211 coffee house

Toronto neighbourhood doesn't want local coffee shop to open

A small business owner has been encountering some unanticipated setbacks in her attempt to open a coffee shop at Avenue Road and Davenport — mainly, pushback from a local residents group that is exceedingly opposed to a food establishment operating out of the storefront that has housed multiple small businesses in the past.

Sula Kogan has been trying to get No. 211 Coffee House up and running since last spring.

After renovations and other preparations to the space, she received an exemption from the city to a decades-old zoning bylaw that prohibits restaurants in the area — a bylaw that a number of other eateries in the neighbourhood have managed to bypass over the years.

But, ABC Residents Association and local councillor Mike Layton have formally objected to the variance that the City granted Kogan, suggesting she should be made to seek not just a variance but a full rezoning of the 2.5-storey building instead.

As a result, the cafe's fate now depends on a ruling by the Toronto Local Appeal Body, which won't be taking place until April 1. Until then, Kogan will have to pay rent on a business that is fully ready to open, but isn't bringing in any money.

Councillor Layton told TRNTO last month that many locals are "concerned about the impact of the proposed use on the neighbourhood" — including additional noise, garbage and traffic — as well as "the precedent this decision will set on future applications."

Yet Kogan's experience with some in the area has been the complete opposite, despite the bylaw drama.

"We appreciate the support and encouragement we have received from so many neighbourhood residents and businesses and do hope we will get to serve you a great cup of coffee in the New Year," a sign Kogan posted in the coffee house's window reads.

"Looking forward to meeting everyone in the neighbourhood soon."

Even with the support, due to financial reasons she will unfortunately not be continuing her fight to open the cafe to the public if the TLAB appeal doesn't turn out in her favour, according to TRNTO.

Apparently, some of the residents of the Summerhill area just don't have the same appreciation for caffeination as the rest of us.

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