broadview eastern condo toronto

Toronto condo residents trying to stop a different condo from being built nearby

Residents of a mid-rise condo building in Toronto are trying to stop a different mid-rise condo from being erected nearby, ironically claiming that the building is out of character with the existing neighbourhood.

A condo board member at 90 Broadview is part of a group rallying against a proposed condo development just down the street, and they're trying to drum up support to fight the development — despite it only being planned to rise marginally taller than a building members of their own group live in.

Along with residents of an adjacent loft building at 68 Broadview, a working group initiated and organized by the area councillor, Paula Fletcher, is fighting against the proposed condo plan and claiming that such developments — like the very ones they reside in — are damaging to the city.

The group is led by Ruby K., a resident of a single-family home on Lewis Street, and a pair of condo board members of the buildings at 68 and 90 Broadview — the latter being a nine-storey building completed in 2012.

Their target? A 2021 condominium proposal to replace a derelict row of houses at Broadview and Eastern Avenues, which aims to bring a 12-storey building to the site.

Residents in the working group claim that, while the proposal would stand just three storeys taller than the current condo building at 90 Broadview, it is just too tall for the neighbourhood.

Ruby K claims to blogTO that the proposal is "a great example of a 'there goes the neighbourhood' in terms of how developers are exploiting the market (seven-figure prices/low supply, high demand) of the past few years and mismanagement of housing affordability while jeopardizing what our city is, a mosaic of neighbourhoods and communities versus a replica of CityPlace/thoughtless high towers built into every free space a developer can find."

For the record, no towers are proposed on this site, as Ruby argues. Twelve storeys (and the nine storeys that exist at 90 Broadview) would be classified as a mid-rise.

Ruby argues that Toronto is "losing our neighbourhoods and communities to such developments that don't take into account the housing loss, or affordability, and the community feel to what defines Toronto."

Though the group includes interests from a condo building that seems to check all the same boxes as the pending proposal, the stretch most cited in the group's open letter is the block of single-family homes on the adjacent Lewis Street to the east.

The group claims that one of the main issues with the development is that it does not include any affordable, rental, or support housing, and the expected residents would all be of a similarly high income bracket.

Typically, residents take the opposite stance, welcoming wealth into their neighbourhoods and shunning the idea of lower-income housing in their backyards.

But it begs the question; how much rental or affordable housing was included at 90 Broadview when it was built just over a decade before? Zero units. None.

So, to quickly recap, residents of a mid-rise condo with no affordable housing are fighting plans for another mid-rise condo because it is too tall and expensive-looking for their liking.

Some of the other concerns listed in the letter include changes to the "cottage aesthetic of the street" and how it will "materially deteriorate its historical impact," and concerns about removal of trees from the site and impact on animal habitat.

But if the height and price point of the condo project seemed to be the primary concern for residents, there is some evidence that they just flat-out don't want anything built in their back yard. Full stop.

Issues raised like "construction impact on residents" are given plenty of airtime in the open letter, which the group states would come with "no thought or consideration on those residents who must endure long hours of noise, dust debris, and disruption to our welfare, safety, and peace and quiet."

Other concerns are just lifted straight from the NIMBY handbook, like loss of sunlight, spacing and openness, and impacts to existing residents in terms of parking and traffic.

It really just reads like another case of our housing-starved city clashing with the low-rise, high-tax pockets of wealth that get to dictate and politicize land use in the blocks that surround them. A sort of head-in-the-sand, "we need density, but just not here" mindset that can keep even the intersection of two main streets protected from any meaningful growth.

But what really makes this a tough pill to swallow, and grounds for a mini-rant, is the mental gymnastics one must have to do in order to tell themselves that the mid-rise condo proposed across the street is of detriment, while the one you call home is just fine.

Without providing evidence, Ruby alleges that the developers behind the project (Dream and Streetcar) have "a strategy whereby they buy houses and accumulate them over a period of time, then let them run down, as opposed to creating rental housing, and then use these homes to build into their plans larger developments than permitted."

That last bit is technically accurate, but also a bit of a twisting of facts, as Toronto’s notoriously outdated zoning bylaws have been largely unchanged since the 1960s, and practically everything proposed in this town comes with a rezoning application for what Ruby characterizes as "larger developments than permitted."

The working group claims that the developer has since ceased contact with them, which blogTO has yet to independently verify.

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