The Ossington strip is getting a condo mid-rise, whether it wants one or not
After more than two years of opposition by neighbourhood residents, the inevitable has happened: the Ontario Municipal Board has given its go-ahead to 109OZ, a six-storey, 87-unit condo building planned for the site of a former auto-repair centre on the Ossington strip, near Argyle Street. The OMB’s decision preempts any attempt by city council to scale back the project, meaning Ossington dwellers have little choice but to get used to it. The developer made some minor concessions in order to win the board’s approval, including reducing the building’s proposed overall height from 21.5 meters to 20 and capping the size of each of its ground-floor retail units at 500 square metres.
Jessica Wilson, president of the Ossington Community Association, tells the Star that her group is “not crazy about the decision at the end of the day.” But this type of thing has to be expected: Ossington is a burgeoning business strip sandwiched between two streetcar lines, after all. Call us when the building is 30 storeys and the anchor tenant is a Walmart.
2 thoughts on “The Ossington strip is getting a condo mid-rise, whether it wants one or not”
It is unbelievable how the City let a bunch of self-interested neighbours hold up a good project for this long. A fine example of why we still need the OMB.
A friendly suggestion to those who assume that we are cuckoo to have opposed 6 storeys (well, really, it’s the height of a 7-8-storey building, but who’s counting?): read Toronto’s Official Plan (google it).
It’s a great read, and really enlightening about how its authors conceived of the distribution of density in the City. The motto is ‘Grow, but Protect’, and in order to accomplish this aim the growth strategy in Chapter 2 directs growth to certain designated areas—Downtown, the designated (broad, long, transit-thoroughfare) ‘Avenues’, the Centres (like Scarborough Town Centre), and Employment Districts. Neighbourhoods are supposed to remain stable, and narrow main streets like Ossington are not supposed to be a focus of intensification—City Planner Thomas Rees was clear about this in his OMB testimony. Indeed, we calculated that there is room to triple the density on Ossington (via 4-storey walkup rentals or condos) while keeping to its existing zoning.
Rees, BTW, was the lead planner on the Ossington Area Study, who submitted the West End’s first lowscale Area-specific Official Plan Amendment, capping height on Ossington to 4 storeys everywhere except on the east side between Argyle and Bruce, where height can go to 5 storeys. He testified that a 6-storey building would “hurt the character” of the street. So if you think we’re crazy to want to have preserved that character, well, so was the City, once they looked at the area as a whole.
It actually turns out that Ossington is a historically and culturally important street—it was the first street out of Toronto! Check out the ‘Ossington High Street Development Review’ (google to get it) to see what I mean. It really is a special street, and deserves to be treated with sensitivity.
One last relevant thing: google “Older, Smaller, Better” to see a recent study which shows that lowrise older districts perform better than areas with newer, larger, buildings along almost every interesting dimension.
Comments are closed.