Councillor Bradford is promoting a new 18-storey skyscraper (20 stories including mechanical penthouse) – 3 TIMES the allowable height on Queen Street!
The SIZE of 1631 Queen is being used to justify 18-stories because this property is “unique”… Remind Councillor Bradford that the only thing unique is the character of the Beach!
1631 Queen is public property; this development should be 100% affordable and not put through a “market offering process.”
Make it 6-stories to adhere to the Urban Design Guidelines and respect the years of community input it took to create them.
Sign the petition and write Councillor Bradford at firstname.lastname@example.org
Also cc the following planners: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
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1631 Queen St. E. is public property that will undergo a “market offering process” to build 279 new apartments with a target of 100-130 affordable units.
The City decided a stunning view of Ashbridges Bay was needed to maximize profit from the market units, so a 17-storey skyscraper was first proposed. The community expressed concerns about this height as it violated the Urban Design Guidelines (UDGs). The Official Plan and UDGs limit the height on Queen to 6-stories to protect the unique look and feel of the Beach. The urban planners went back to the drawing board and decided to increase the height to 18-stories, plus a 2-storey mechanical penthouse making the total height equivalent to 20-stories!
“Contexts change, guidelines change” said Councillor Bradford at the recent online community consultation where he discussed why 18-stories was essential. Its clear that Councillor Bradford no longer believes in the UDGs, while also stating that “misinformation” was circulating in the community about this development. He is right:
Misinformation #1: 1631 Queen has a “six-story building height along Queen” – Councillor Bradford
This property spans from Queen St. to Eastern Ave. The proposed development is separated into 3 sections with the 6-storey section fronting Queen, an 18-storey section fronting Eastern and a 12-storey section in the centre. If Eastern Ave., which has no height limit, is being used to justify the 18-stories, what street does the 12-storey section belong to? The planners have strategically referred to the 3 sections as separate buildings, yet all of them have the same Queen St. address. The UDGs are clear for this exact reason, they apply to this entire property – not just a single section. Playing games like calling physically attached sections different “buildings” is a game played by developers. It is not the type of behaviour you would expect to be championed by your elected officials.
Misinformation #2: “Height is needed to build much needed affordable housing” – Councillor Bradford
The density of this building, or Floor Space Index (FSI), is only 4.1. Many 6-storey developments on Queen have achieved an FSI of up to 4.7 making this 18-storey proposal less dense than existing 6-storey buildings on Queen. This poor land use is the result of a proposed vehicle driveway and surface parking. The Beach is a walkable neighbourhood. The same or greater density could be achieved in a much lower form to protect the neighbourhood character if the driveway was eliminated, and all parking put underground.
Misinformation #3: This property is “unique” and will not set a precedent for future developments. – Councillor Bradford
Many properties in the immediate vicinity have the same depth. Another 17-storey development at 1555 Queen (not yet built) has been strategically included in the renderings for 1631 Queen as a comparison to showcase how 18-stories will not look out of place. Private developers will surely make use of this added height moving forward as they always have in the past. If this development is approved, the 6-storey height limit will be meaningless once the depth of this lot is used to justify higher buildings. Developers will be incentivised to amalgamate smaller properties because it will allow them to build higher and result in the loss of smaller shops and the character along Queen.
The reality is this type of planning will result in dividing the community. As a self-proclaimed “community builder,” Councillor Bradford should be advocating on behalf of his constituents and the years of work that went into the UDGs. Communities shouldn’t be built for developers; they should be built for the people. Sign the petition and write to our Councillor.