General Committee – November 21, 2017

This week Council met in General Committee (GC). One item before us was an application for a development at the Southeast corner of St. John’s sideroad and Yonge Street (the former Oakland Hall) As I explained previously, when these applications come before Council – where a resolution is required to accept, or not accept the subject application – as per Bill 73, Council now has greater control over the planning process as it has the opportunity to consider the merits of the application and then decide whether to accept the application and move it through the planning process, or not. In the application that was before Council, the developer is looking to build a 10 story building on the site and move the heritage home. The problem with accepting this application as is, is that this property is in an area that, under the Town’s Official Plan (OP) and zoning, has a height restriction of 3 stories. In looking at the application as submitted, I don’t believe that 10 stories is appropriate for this area as it is more than three times the height allowed as per our OP and zoning; thus, I was not in favour of accepting the application.

As with Council’s discussion of the previous applications at last General Committee , there was once again discussion among some members as to whether council should factor in a consideration of the merits of the application when deciding on whether to receive the application for amendment of the zoning. Once again, the Mayor indicated that he feels that if an application is “…in the cue” then it should be accepted. And once again, I disagree. Accepting an application for consideration (ie “receiving” the application) solely on when it was submitted instead of considering the actual merits of the application makes no sense to me. By accepting the application, Council would then be tied to the old land use planning legislation – where decisions of Council can be challenged at the OMB. By not receiving the application as is, that is by leveraging the land use planning tools afforded us through Bill 73, Council is in a better position to work with developers to move forward with developments that better suit the needs of our community. I believe that to ensure effective land use planning and appropriate development in our municipality, we need to leverage – and use – the tools that are afforded to us by the Province. As I said previously, we’ve got the tools, why not use them?

The application was not accepted on a 5-2 vote …… Both Mayor Dawe and Councillor Abel voted in favour of receiving the application.


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7 Responses

  1. A 10 story building on this site may also put some stress and pressures on the ecology of the area. Underground water systems would be altered and affected here.
    It would be more appropriate to see a building that would conform with the existing limits of 3 story buildings.

    A 10 story building would put some pressure on the traffic flow for the area. The traffic coming down Old Yonge Street would increase and there is a school facing Old Yonge Street. This would cause some problems for the school.

  2. This is way too big for this corner, we off old Yonge Street, this will impact on flow of traffic entering St. John,s sideroad, ? Stoplights should be considered now, due to increase currently of traffic, and overwhelm the current housing in the area, what is the compromise.

  3. What school faces Old Yonge? Don’t think we should create concerns where none exist. Aurora needs more condominiums to adapt to the changing demographic. Was this outright refused or back to the developer for changes/improvements?

  4. Mr. Mirakas,
    Thank you for voting against building 10 storey condo in that area. I’m not opposed to building a condo, just not there. The area is chaotic in the morning and evening with vehicular traffic, add more vehicals and people to the mix and I think we will have a serious problem. A condo of that size will also put stress on our infrastructure and everybody in the area already knows that the treatment plant on St. John’s stinks at the best of times and would get worse with more demand on it. I’m sure there is somewhere in Aurora that could handle a 10 storey condo but just not there.
    Thank you.

  5. Mr. Míralas,
    Thank you for the work you do to look for the best interests of the people who live in Aurora. I do hold an degree in urban planning and know the benefits and downfalls of densification. The stress in the system, environmental impact, noice pollution, garbage generation, traffic, light pollution, etc. are important factors to think about. (I am not mentioning the trsin because that is another story). I do not want Aurora to turn into a Richmond hill where condos are built in every space available. More people means more services (public transportation, services, etc.) Aurora is slowly loosing its small town charm with all the new developments on bayview and St. John’s, too busy to be peaceful. Let’s not forget that there will be a new big house development coming on the north west corner of that intersección, across the retirement home. I think a smaller project that complies and conforming to the landscape and context of the area would be more welcomed.
    Thank you

  6. Tom, thanks again for your common sense. I’m glad the application was not accepted. I very much appreciate the fact that you keep the interests of the residents of Aurora in mind. I agree with many of the previous comments. In particular, I think that Aurora is in danger of losing its small town charm, and that traffic in that area is already a problem (adding a 10 story development would have made it even worse). Also, I think it’s extremely important to use the tools that the Province has given!

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