Developing a Master Plan for Cabbagetown South.
The residents of Ward 20 have been working on a Master Plan for their area and we thought it would be a good idea for our neighbourhood as well. The idea is to put forth a plan to the area CIty Planner, Councillor and MPP's office, outlining what the community would like to see in way of new development in and around our area. We recently distributed a Development Survey to area residents and business owners and from those results we are moving forward with a Master Plan. We asked what kind of new buildings and busineses area residents would like to see developed in the neighourhood. What kinds of density? Do we need more or less commercial space? More parks/ More Schools? How do we save interesting Historical Landmarks while encouraging new development? How do we encourage affordable home ownership options for both young families and singles in the area? Should new development correct the balance of free market properties with the over 2500 geared to income housing units in and around our neighbourhood?
With the information in hand from the Development Survey we have undertaken a review of the neighbourhood and projected potential development onto underutilized properties in the area. We have tried to map development around Heritage Properties and existing businesses and services in the area. In some cases we are suggesting existing businesses and services relocate with in the area and have done our best to offer potential retail/commercial and housing units either in our area or nearby.
We also were fortunate to have a group of Ryerson Urban Planning Students conduct a study of our neighbouhood in 2000. The MacGuyver Group Report focused mainly on Dundas Street East and information garnered from that review is being worked into this presentation.
We feel there are certain sections of the neighbourood where geared to income housing is overly concentrated and have endeavoured to correct that balance with owner occupied market rate housing along those strips. Sherbourne Street has several vanant lots which we have earmarked for owner occupied condos and stacked townhouse development. With this type of development we feel the commercial/retail environment within the area will also improve.
The survey also indicated that most property owners felt that area residents in consultation with City Planners should have more say and control into what kind of development should happen in our area.
Map of potential development sites, rejuvenation and Heritage Designated Properties.
The City has an Official Plan in place that protects existing neighbourhoods and attempts to keep the residential street facade and streetscape at its current height and densities. So, our residential side streets seem to be protected from major change but our main commercial streets are subject to broader development and change. Here is a brief explanation about the Official Plan.
The adoption of the new Official Plan and the repeal of many Part II Plans saw the consolidation of policies directed at both preserving neighbourhoods and directing growth. In the east downtown, this manifested itself in the designation of such streets as Dundas Street, portions of Carlton Street and Parliament Street as Mixed Use Areas and the interiors of the areas as Neighbourhoods. The new Official Plan also included a broad strategy which identified the Downtown as a place for substantial employment and residential growth. Importantly, the Plan notes that growth will not be spread uniformly across the whole of Downtown, as physical settings include established neighbourhoods where little change is desired. Other considerations which contribute to the liveability of the Downtown are guided by policies that seek to maintain a full range of housing, to respect the built heritage and promote contextual and district based planning to ensure character is balanced with growth promotion.
An example of a former residential block that is currently more commercial with residential units above.
The Planning and Development Process allows for proposed development outside the prescribed zoning to undergo a review and approval under the Committee of Adjustment. During this process the City can negotiate "community perks" in exchange for higher densities, heritage designations, etc. under Section 37 of the Planning Act. For an outline of how the process is supposed to work see the attached Q and A. http://www.utoronto.ca/mcis/imfg/pdf/Dec%206%20presentation%20T%20Tyndorf.pdf
City staff work very hard to protect neighbourhoods and streetscapes from development proposals which are often too large in height and scale. A good example of the wide gap between what developers seek and how the zoning official plan attempt to protect neighbourhoods is clearly shown in the attached proposal for a property just south of our area. Over the years what began as a proposal for 19 townhouses on a vacant lot has ballooned to a proposed 21 storey apartment building. To view the article follow this link. http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2009/te/bgrd/backgroundfile-19703.pdf
In many cases, the developer/property owner seems to bypass the city process and moves directly to the Ontario Municipal Board where the outcome is usually weighed in their favour. Although there has been much talk about abolishing the Ontario Municipal Board and returning the planning process to the community level, none of the provincial political parties have moved forward on this. City Planners are currently reviewing zoning in the Garden District area to our immediate west and Sherbourne Street is also under review.
Developing a Master Plan for Cabbagetown South and Moss Park is an opportunity to create a map of what kind of development we would like to see in our neighbourhood. The new Regent Park Development will no doubt draw further interest by developers in building in and around our neighbourhood. There are several vacant lots along Sherbourne Street and many low rise buildings of little architectural or heritage interest along Parliament Street that could be demolished and or redeveloped. The monolith Moss Park social housing buildings along Shuter will eventually need to be refurbished or redeveloped as will the problematic Dan Harrison Complex on the east side of Sherbourne, north of the infamous Dundas/Sherbourne corner.
A Commercial/ Residential Row on Dundas Street near Parliament
We need to take a careful look at what development would work to improve the dynamics of a neighbourhood. How do we plan for a better, healthier and more balanced neighbourhood? Will the new ratio of subsidized/social housing to free market housing in the new Regent Park lead to a healthier more balanced neighbourhood there? Can we move existing businesses and services within our neighbourhood to increase densities and develop potential development sites? Can we correct the balance of social housing, hostels and other social services by better distributing services throughout the city? Is our neighbourhood attractive to new home buyers? Are our main streets viewed by young entrepreneurs as a good place to invest and open up small businesses? There are many examples of small commercial/residential buildings in the area that should attract new businesses catering to the improved street traffic that the new Regent Park condos and housing units will draw through the area.
A Heritage Commercial Building on Carlton between Berkeley and Ontario St.
We are working on identifying potential development sites and we are looking for ideas as to how you think the area should move forward. Join the discussion on our discussion page and give us your views on what you think think the neighborhoods strength and weaknesses are. What kind of development and new businesses would you like to see in the neighbourhood? To let us know what you think go to the discussion page and join the Master Plan discussion or email us at email@example.com. We have also implemented a community survey on New Development and you can complete the survey as indicated on our home page.
Although there are no proposals for large development projects in the area there are several large buildings in the works for Jarvis Street. The City has mapped areas of downtown that could potentially house tall buildings though nothing is proposed east of the Garden District or south of Carlton to view this map click here. http://www.toronto.ca/planning/pdf/Tall-buildings-map-downtownvision.pdf Projects range from a 31 storey Ryerson Student Residence across from the Grand Hotel, The 45 storey Pace Condo at Dundas http://www.pacecondo.ca/, a proposal for the Hotel site on the north east corner of Jarvis and Dundas and a large condo just south of the Primrose Hotel overlooking Allan Gardens. Extremely high residential buildings are becoming the norm for many large cities and there is considerable information available from the Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. For information click this link. http://www.ctbuh.org/ The problem with high rise buildings is often the size of the units which attract just single people and childless couples. High rise residential buildings do not create a sense of neighbourhood and sadly the turn over in large high rise buildings is about every 2 1/2 years. Christopher Hume architect critic for the Toronto Star recently wrote an interesting piece on high rise development. Click here to go to the article. http://www.thestar.com/news/article/1148728--hume-are-toronto-condo-towers-slums-in-the-making
There are several vacant lots on Sherbourne Street south of Carlton. One vacant lot on Sherbourne south of Dundas that has just gotten larger with the demoltion of two houses in the last year and a third boarded up and a demoliton permit applied for. Although the Garden District to our west is under a planning study and several of the buildings were designated heritage the demolition process continues. New development must address the need for more owner occupied housing along Sherbourne Street and be of a density that compliments the area. Both our area and the Garden District are currently zoned as neighbourhoods and any new development should respect the height and density restrictions currently in place.
A recent development survey of our neighbourhood indicated that most area residents would support low to mid rise condo development in the area. There was no call for condo development featuring the kind of densities and heights that many developers are proposing to the west and south of our area. To see the survey results please click here
Although many area buildings are designated heritage this does not stop property owners from simply boarding them up for years on end. Many fall into disrepair and demolition by neglect is the likely outcome. Heritage activists need to concentrate their efforts on buildings such as this one on Sherbourne Street.
This page is a work in progress and as we get more information, ideas and input we will update the following pages. Your input and patience is greatly appreciated.
Read On! Click for Carlton Street or Gerrard Street, or Dundas Street or Sherbourne Street or Parliament Street or The Laneways or Residential Side Streets or Social Housing in the Neighbourhood or New Development Survey or Neighbourhood Flow or Greenspace and Public Art