Last month the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) formerly known as the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) made a decision regarding the proposed student housing development in Lower Doon. The proposal was for 47-unit stacked townhouses in the middle of a triangular, vacant piece of property surrounded by mostly single detached dwellings owned by individual home owners backing onto the subject site. There were also a number of single family dwellings already occupied with student housing owned by absentee landlords.
The applicant appealed Council’s decision and took the matter to the OMB. The residents argued of the high density of the project using my quote. I had argued against this proposal and supported the residents at Council as this was an overdevelopment of the lands. I stated that this was equivalent to “putting ten pounds of sugar into a five pound bag. It just doesn’t fit.” The residents loved and quoted my phrase at the LPAT hearing repeatedly.
In her decision to turn down the application, the LPAT chair wrote: “This [phrase] describes perfectly what is being proposed for this site.” As having a planning career, I clearly saw this 3 ½ to 4 ½ storeys development as too great a density and out of character with the surrounding homes. This clearly was not good and proper planning and was not in the public interest.
The residents were concerned of the overcrowding student conditions already in the community going out of control.
This was not a NIMBY situation but an over dense application by the developer and supported by city planning staff.
Yet another abutting 75-unit town house development for families and seniors was not objected by the local residents but welcomed.
I am pleased to see that the LPAT member preferred my quoted phrase and the evidence presented by the residents in her decision.