Church Wellesley Update
News from the Church Wellesley Neighbourhood Association
Gloucester Street zoning to be tested
A group of six residences on Gloucester Street and Dundonald Street has been put up for sale for $49.2 million; if the sale were successful a development application for a condominium tower could follow.
23 to 29A Gloucester Street are five townhouses running between Bumpkins Restaurant and Wabenose Lane; 16 Dundonald Street is to the south of the other properties, bordering James Canning Gardens. Bumpkins Restaurant is also for sale, separately, with an asking price of $12.8 million.
While the properties are being marketed as a consolidation, it is likely that there is an agreement in place between the six owners to seek a buyer together at the agreed price. A recent search of public land ownership records indicate that the properties are still owned separately.
Given the asking price, any developer purchasing the consolidated properties would be counting on approval of a tall building, similar in height to those on Charles Street.
According to the 2013 North Downtown Yonge Urban Design Guidelines, the properties are located in the Gloucester / Dundonald Character Area, which:
... contains the area’s prevalent mix of grade-related residential homes (single detached, semi-detached, townhouses) ... This Character Area as a prominent Neighbourhood should be preserved and maintained without any interruption to its existing built form and scale.
The Gloucester / Dundonald Character Area is unique in its aim of strongly protecting low-rise dwellings, because it is surrounded by other Character Areas that allow for higher density. The Isabella, Wellesley Wood, College / Carlton, and Church Street Village Character Areas are designated by Toronto's Official Plan as Apartment Neighbourhoods or Mixed Use Areas and allow for context sensitive intensification.
If the properties were sold to a developer, a proposal for a tall building would be opposed by the City and by CWNA. If the developer appealed the proposal to the Ontario Lands Tribunal and succeeded in having the Neighbourhood zoning thrown out in order to erect a tall building, the precedent would essentially green light the Manhattanization of our neighbourhood's quieter side streets, both east and west of Church Street.
Page 15 of the Toronto Urban Design Guidelines: North Downtown Yonge (2013) explains that the guidelines have expressly "... created a character area to protect this neighbourhood from future growth and any negative impacts from surrounding developments to ensure that the current built form and massing within this area are maintained ..."
Regarding heritage preservation, the Guidelines state that "Most of the buildings are not listed within City of Toronto Heritage Inventory, but a large number of them carry notable and distinct architectural design." Local historian Adam Wynne has recently submitted a Heritage Property Nomination for 16 Dundonald Street.
The Guidelines go on to enumerate design directions for new developments, including that, "they will be in the form of lowrise residential built form (single detached, semi-detached, townhouses) and small scale commercial, replicating the height of the existing low-rise buildings."
The Gloucester Street initiative would not be in keeping with Toronto City Planning. We will keep you informed of news on this enterprise.
Acknowledgment: Thanks to Adam Wynne for bringing this issue to the attention of CWNA, conducting and sharing research and submitting the Heritage Nomination.
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