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Councillors say there’s hope for patios at Campagnolo, Woodlot and more

Councillors say there’s hope for patios at Campagnolo, Woodlot and more
(Image: Jon Sufrin)

Last week, we pointed out that city staff had recommended that patio permit applications for Campagnolo and Woodlot (among others) be denied at the February 14 meeting of the Toronto and East York Community Council, which prompted a helpful commenter to suggest things might not be as grim as they’d initially seemed. We called up a pair of councillors—Trinity-Spadina’s Mike Layton and Davenport’s Ana Bailão—who confirmed that, yes, staff must follow the letter of the bylaw in their reports. In other words, they must recommend that an application be denied for a patio within 25 metres of a residential zone—but that doesn’t stop councillors from approving patios that don’t meet every nitpicky requirement.

Layton told us the strict regulations for patios are necessary for obvious reasons (“You just can’t have rowdy university kids keeping you up every Thursday”), but the bylaws don’t distinguish between restaurants and bars and also don’t account for self-imposed conditions on hours or capacity that the establishment may propose to keep neighbours happy. “You can’t tell if [a restaurant will be] a good or bad neighbour just based on a bylaw—you need experience in the neighbourhood,” he said. Bailão added that, in districts like hers where many people have limited English, polls by city staff often fall short of the minimum number of responses, which means staff must recommend the application be denied.

How can restaurateurs sidestep the red tape? Owners can talk to nearby residents and work out strategies to prevent noise disturbances, and they can get petitions showing community support. “If they have a petition that can demonstrate significant public support with some conditions, than I can perhaps veer from the path that the staff have recommended,” Layton explained. He wouldn’t say exactly how he plans to vote next week, but he did hint, “Woodlot and Campagnolo have done a significant amount of footwork.” Bailão, meanwhile, said that both Paris Bakery and Pastry and Café Stella are working to drum up some more resident support before their Valentine’s Day deadline.

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