June 24, 1998
To:North York Community Council
From:Bryan W. Tuckey, Acting Commissioner of Planning
Subject:Official Plan and Zoning Amendment Application UDOZ-97-48, Har-Ru
Holdings Limited, 1 Canyon Avenue, WARD 9 - North York Centre South
This report recommends approval of an application to amend the Official Plan and Zoning
by-law to permit the development of an underutilized portion of an existing rental building
site with a new eleven storey apartment building subject to conditions. The proposal
conforms with Part C.4 official plan policies for the intensification of an existing apartment
site. This report addresses:
- the preservation of the existing rental housing stock through an agreement under section
37 of the Planning Act in the absence of the Rental Housing Protection Act;
- the appropriateness of any intensification at this location; and
- the conveyance of valley lands below the top of bank to the Toronto Conservation
Authority for nominal sum.
It is recommended that the application be approved subject to the following:
OFFICIAL PLAN AMENDMENT
(1)The Official Plan be amended:
(a)to redesignate the lands below the stable top of bank to VOS Valley Open Space, and
(b)to redesignate the remainder of the lands forming the net site to RD5 Residential
Density Five with a Site Specific C.9 policy
(i)which recognizes the existing rental apartment house building;
(ii)which permits the addition of a new 11 storey, 9,550 m² apartment housing building.
(2)Zoning By-law 7625 be amended:
(a)to repeal the existing site specific by-law 18112,
(b)to rezone the lands below the stable top of bank from RM6 to Open Space O1,
(c)subject to the final technical refinement of the site plan, to rezone the table lands RM6
(exception) to recognize the existing apartment house dwelling with respect to the
maximum existing gross floor area, number of units, new yards, building height, and a
minimum landscaped area of 3,000 m², and
to permit an additional apartment house dwelling of 11 storeys with a maximum gross floor
area of 9,550 m² of 100 units.
(3)Prior to the enactment of any zoning by-law,
(a)the applicant enter into an agreement under section 37 of the Planning Act which will
permit the construction of an additional 11 storey, 100 unit apartment house building
provided that through this agreement the City secures the following considerations:
(i)an undertaking from the owner that for a period of fifteen years the existing rental
apartment housing building will be preserved as rental housing stock; no application for
condominium conversion or for demolition to construct anything other than rental housing
units will be made by the owner during this period of time;
(ii)an undertaking from the owner that arrangements will be made to secure access to
common recreational facilities and amenities of the new condominium building by the
tenants of the existing rental building under fair and reasonable terms and such
arrangements will be properly reflected in the condominium declaration governing the new
(b)submission of reference plan of survey which describes the lands below the stable top
of bank, Site A and Site B as shown on Schedule "C";
(c)site plan approval be granted to achieve good linkages between the buildings with the
maximization of landscaping throughout the site, and pedestrian and vehicular site
circulation improvements for both the existing and new building;
(4)conveyance to Toronto & Region Conservation Authority of all lands below the stable
top of bank for nominal sum;
(5)prior to any building permit the applicant shall:
(i)obtain all easements or consents necessary to achieve the site plan as approved,
(ii)obtain all permits and permission required under Ontario Regulation 158,
(iii)provide a Record of Site Condition in accordance with the MOEE Guidelines for Use
at Contaminated Sites (1996);
(6)the conditions of the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority as set out in Schedule
"E" be complied with,
(7)the conditions of the Works and Emergency Service Department as set out in Schedule
"F" be complied with,
(8)the conditions of the Parks and Recreation Department as set out in Schedule "H" be
(9)the conditions of the Fire Department as set out in Schedule "I" be complied with,
(10)the conditions of the Transportation Department as set out in Schedule "L" be
The applicant is proposing residential intensification of 1 Canyon Avenue with an 11
storey, 100 unit residential apartment building. The site is occupied by a 17 storey, 202 unit
apartment building which will remain. The new building will be located to the east of the
existing building with frontage on Sheppard Avenue West with access from Canyon
Avenue. The statistics are listed below.
|Gross Floor Area
|Floor Space Index
* this includes lands below the stable top of bank2.0Location and Existing Site:
The site is located at the north east corner of Sheppard Avenue West and Canyon Avenue
east of Bathurst Street. The new building site is tableland adjacent to a natural valley slope
of the Don River. Two 20 storey apartment buildings (15 and 25 Canyon Avenue)
containing approximately 233 units are to the north. A small retail strip plaza which fronts
on Sheppard Avenue is west of the site across Canyon Avenue. A 14 storey apartment
building is located north of this plaza. There are 3 apartment buildings which vary in height
from 12 to 13 storeys across Sheppard Avenue to the south. See Schedule "C2" Context
Canyon Avenue is developed with high rise apartment buildings and a private school
located at the north end of the street. The area was originally developed in the mid 1960s.
The site is designated Residential Density Four (RD4) which permits residential uses at a
density of 1.5 FSI with a very small portion of the lands being designated Valley Open
Space at the eastern end of the property as shown on Schedule "A". The eastern portion of
the lands fall within the Valley Impact Zone (VIZ). Part C.4 (Housing Policies) establishes
the general development policies and criteria for the intensification of existing apartment
sites to accommodate additional density. These polices are attached as Appendix "C".
The site is zoned RM6 (Multiple Family Dwellings Sixth Density Zone) and is subject to
site specific By-law 18112 which permits a maximum height of 800 feet above sea level
allowing for the existing 17 storey building. The existing gross floor area represents FSI
1.5 based on the entire site.
4.0Other Department Comments:
The following section summarizes significant comments received from the departments
and agencies circulated:
The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) staked the stable top of bank
and established a development limit and reviewed a geotechnical report. The conservation
authority has no objection provided a minimum setback of 1 to 2 metres from the stable top
of bank is provided. The TRCA identified the valley lands as appropriate for public
acquisition. Their comments are attached as Schedule "E".
The Works and Emergency Service Department indicated structures will not be
permitted to encroach on a sewer easement on site. The waste collection arrangements are
not considered acceptable and must be settled at site plan approval. Their comments are
attached as Schedule "F".
The Public Health Department reviewed the applicant's environmental reports and a
subsequent peer review. They have no objections. Their comments are attached as
Schedules "G" through "G3".
The Parks and Recreation Department indicate the development is subject to a 5%
cash-in-lieu of parkland payment. The lands below the top of bank should be conveyed to
the appropriate public body and designated and zoned as open space. Parks encourages the
provision of landscaping and outdoor recreational space. Their comments are attached as
The Toronto District School Board and the Toronto Catholic School Board indicate the
proposed development will create accommodation pressures. Their comments are attached
as Schedule "J" and Schedule "K".
The Fire Department have concerns regarding the fire route access which must be
resolved as part of any approved site plan. Their comments are attached as Schedule "I".
The Transportation Department indicates the traffic generated by the proposed
development will have minimal impact on the overall operations. Access onto Sheppard
Avenue will not be permitted because of safety and operational concerns. The number of
parking stalls proposed is adequate, however some modifications will be required to the
location of some of the spaces. Their comments are attached as Schedule "L".
In March, there were three community meetings held in the immediate area. The issues
raised by the residents were:
1)increased traffic generated from the new development and access onto Canyon Avenue
rather than Sheppard Avenue West,
2)location of the building and the environmental impacts of construction at this location,
3)adequate parking on site in order to prevent overflow on street parking,
4)community benefits to residents in the existing building on site,
5)loss of open space, and
6)overview and shadow impact.
During the review period, the applicant and the transportation staff have endeavoured to
resolve the resident concerns with respect to traffic impacts of this development. The
recommendations of this report with respect to the conveyance of valley lands, the
establishment of a minimum landscaped area on site and other recreational access
conditions, respond to the concerns of the community with respect to the loss of open
space. A follow up meeting was held with several of the residents in May.
6.1Redesignation of Residential Lands to a Higher Density
The official plan's housing policies state that in order to consider a site appropriate for
intensification, at least one of the following criteria must be met:
"a)the area, which includes lands beyond a single development site, demonstrates a need
for rejuvenation and reinvestment, or
b)existing land uses or buildings are considered to be obsolete or underutilized; or
c)land use conflict is occurring."
This proposal conforms to the official plan criteria. The area primarily consists of high rise
rental apartment buildings developed in the 1960's which require reinvestment on an
ongoing basis to preserve this valued rental housing stock. The existing building at 1
Canyon is currently undergoing a program of improvements. The residential land use itself
cannot be considered obsolete or in conflict with other land uses, as the existing apartment
building on site and other residential dwellings in the area appear to be occupied, well
maintained and do not represent an area in transition.
There is an opportunity to more efficiently use the site and the surrounding community
facilities, services and infrastructure. The existing apartment building being located
towards the Canyon Avenue frontage, instead of centred in the middle of the site, provides
a large amount of open area to the east of the building. The location and orientation of the
existing apartment building provides the opportunity for redevelopment of the property.
Any intensification of the site must demonstrate that the proposal can be accommodated
from an urban design perspective on site and within the existing community. Further it
must be demonstrated that there is available community facilities, services and
infrastructure to serve the additional 100 apartment house units.
The following section of this report will review and assess the proposal's bearing on
community services, transportation, its compatibility with the adjacent residential
neighbourhood and its impact on the existing site.
6.2Land Use and Density
(a)Built Form Considerations:
This site is appropriate for residential intensification. The location takes advantage of
physical infrastructure, existing community services and transportation facilities. It is
located on an arterial road, well served by public transit and close to Earl Bales Park,
Community Centres and the Don Valley.
This residential node contains several high rise apartment buildings. Its expansion is
limited by the valley lands to the north and east. This site represents the only parcel above
the top of bank capable of accommodating additional development here.
This proposal represents an appropriate scale of residential intensification. The building
will be one of the smaller apartment buildings in the area. Its floor plate is square with an
coverage of approximately 800 square metres giving the building a compact form. The
building is smaller than the existing apartments to the north and the west. This provides an
opportunity for existing views to be maintained for the surrounding apartments. The
apartment buildings on the south side of Sheppard Avenue are 12 to 13 storeys with gross
floor areas of approximately 8,600 m² to 14,900 m². This infill building is in keeping with
this scale of the area and is reflective of the existing RM6 zone regulations with respect to
(b)Preservation of Rental Housing Stock:
The Rental Housing Protection Act repeal came into effect June 17, 1998. The city is
reviewing its policies to establish a citywide strategy for the preservation of rental stock.
This application, however, represents an opportunity to take action now with the full
cooperation of the owner to ensure that the existing rental building remains and is
integrated with the new condominium.
There is an ongoing program of reinvestment in the rental building including renovations
to all balconies, common areas, roof, and the individual suites. Fire safety upgrades,
lighting improvements, elevator modernization and new appliances and broadloom have
been completed. This represents a substantial new investment in the existing rental
apartment building. The maintenance of the rental building is strongly encouraged by
Council. Rental accommodation is recognized as an essential form of housing tenure that is
currently limited in supply.
To secure this rental stock, the applicant is prepared to enter into a section 37 agreement
under the Planning Act ensuring that:
- the existing rental apartment building remains as rental for a minimum period of fifteen
years and there is agreement that no application for condominium conversion or
application to demolish to construct anything other than a replacement rental housing
building be permitted,
- on site amenities in the new building will be accessible to the residents of the rental
building under fair and reasonable terms which will need to be carried forward in the
See the submission of the Owner attached as Appendix "A".
(c)Recognition of Existing Property Rights
The entire property to the bottom of the slope is designated RD4 and zoned RM6 as was
the practice in the 1960's before the city had any Valley Open Space policies.
This application provides the opportunity to rezone the valley lands from RM6 to O1 Open
Space which consolidates the existing official plan designation and zoning on the
tablelands consistent with the current Official Plan policies. The net density on the
tableland increases to approximately 3.0 FSI with the development of the new building.
The removal of the valley lands from the RM6 zone also presents an opportunity for the
long term preservation of the lands in public ownership and maintenance of the valley. The
Valley Open Space designation and Valley Impact Zone (VIZ) will work together to
manage the valley land uses. The policies are found in Appendix "B". In addition,
redesignation of the lands below the stable top of bank to Valley Open Space and
conveyance of these lands for a nominal sum to the TRCA is appropriate. The applicant
and TRCA concur with this. This conveyance completes a cross section of land from crest
to crest in public ownership.
This proposal also has the ability to provide a net benefit to the existing residents in terms
of on-site facilities and improvements to amenities.
Significant shared outdoor amenity space is proposed by the applicant comprised of
approximately 2,000 m² between the existing and proposed buildings. This will be
landscaped to include a tot lot and/or passive park with walkways, a gazebo, benches and
lawn areas. These outdoor amenity areas will be shared by the existing and the new
building and are an improvement to the site. Currently, the area consists of natural field
above the top of bank and a natural treed slope below with no formalized landscaped area.
The new building will be a condominium apartment rather than a rental apartment building.
As all of the residential buildings in this node except for one are rental, the provision of a
condominium building will help to provide variety in tenure in the area while preserving
the existing rental building.
6.3Shadowing and Overview
There are substantial yard setbacks proposed for the new building from the existing
buildings surrounding the site which will minimize the impact of both shadowing and
overview. The proposed building is approximately 47 metres from the existing building of
1 Canyon Avenue and will be approximately 35 metres in height. The siting of the
buildings will maintain many of the view corridors from the surrounding buildings to the
6.4Community Services and Facilities
The site is well served by parks and community facilities. Located adjacent to the Don
Valley System, it is within walking distance of Earl Bales Park which contains the Earl
Bales Seniors Centre and the Earl Bales Community Centre. The John Bales House which
is an historical land mark is also located within this 30 hectare park. The site is in close
proximity is the North York Ski Centre as well. There are park facilities within walking
distance of the site.
6.5Physical Feasibility of Development
6.5.1Geotechnical - Slope Stability
The applicant submitted a geotechnical report which assessed the stability of the slope. It
concludes that there is no evidence of erosion and the slope is considered stable and will
not be adversely affected by the construction of the proposed building. In order to maintain
this stability, surface runoff from the top will not be allowed to run down the slopes and the
vegetation on the face of the slope will be maintained and improved where possible. The
TRCA reviewed these finding and have no objections provided a 1 to 2 metre yard setback
is maintained for all structures including those underground. The construction is subject to
A storm sewer easement is located on a portion of the property. Due to the fill operations
that were associated with the construction of the sewer, an environmental site assessment
was submitted by the applicant in order to determine whether these operations resulted in
any soil contamination. These studies were subject to peer review and comments from the
Medical Officer of Health. The assessment suggests that residential use is appropriate. This
conclusion must be verified by the submission of a record of site condition prior to the
issuance of a building permit.
6.5.3Traffic and Parking
The Transportation Division is satisfied vehicular access to Canyon Avenue is feasible and
has no adverse impacts on traffic operation. However, since the issue of access onto
Canyon Avenue was raised at the community meetings, a review of the possibility of
access onto Sheppard Avenue rather than Canyon Avenue was examined by the
Transportation Department. Ideally direct access onto Sheppard Avenue would ensure
there is no additional traffic on Canyon Avenue. However, access onto Sheppard Avenue is
not recommended because of safety and operational concerns. There is inadequate stopping
sight distances available due to the grade of the road at this location. The presence of a
driveway on the south side of Sheppard Avenue could further present traffic conflicts for
left turning vehicles and sightlines are reduced because of the steel beam guide rail along
the north side of Sheppard Avenue.
The current volume and speed of traffic on Canyon Avenue was further investigated by the
Traffic Investigation Section of the Transportation Department. A speed and volume study
was carried out over a number of days in April of this year concluding there were no traffic
operations or safety concerns on Canyon Avenue. A study was also undertaken by the
former Metro Transportation Department in 1995 to investigate the issue of transient traffic
on Canyon Avenue due to traffic using Canyon Avenue as a shortcut around the Bathurst
Street and Sheppard Avenue intersection. This study concluded the absolute number of
transient vehicles was relatively small and therefore did not significantly impact the safety
and operations of Canyon Avenue.
Since both the existing and proposed building will share driveway access onto Canyon
Avenue, the granting of reciprocal easements rights of way across the property may be
needed or alternative arrangements can be made to have a condominium description
include all lands necessary to provide direct access.
The applicant originally proposed 112 new parking spaces for the 100 units. In light of the
residents' issue with regard to adequate parking on site, and to avoid on street parking of
visitors, the applicant revised their plans to include 3 levels of underground parking rather
than 2 levels and a total of 150 parking spaces (125 for residents and 25 for visitors). This
complies with with the parking rate for new apartment house dwellings as set out in zoning
By-law 7625. There have been improvements to the existing apartment building parking
supply as well.
A site plan application has been filed by the applicant. In order to achieve an optimal
development, a number of urban design principles will guide the site plan application:
- Edge treatment of all sides of the site which includes substantially treed edges,
- Extensive landscape screening of the existing raised parking structure from Sheppard
and from the new landscaped area to the north and the proposed building to the east,
- East edge needs to include the integration of buildings and structures into the natural
landscape and screen with plantings any exposed concrete,
- Clear linkages to the shared landscaped space located between the existing building and
the proposed building must be present for both buildings,
- A well articulated pedestrian entrance should be present along Sheppard Avenue,
- The existing pedestrian entrance at the Canyon Avenue frontage needs to be
substantially improved in terms of landscaping including the walkway.
Additional principles may be defined to further improve the existing building and proposed
The proposed new apartment house dwelling at this site is appropriate as it meets the intent
of the Official Plan policies for residential intensification. The site is located on an arterial
road near a major intersection which gives the site the advantage of good transit. The traffic
and parking impacts are minimal. The nearby park, open space and community centre
facilities supports the intensification. It is appropriate the City secure the preservation of
existing rental units through an Agreement under section 37 of the Planning Act. This
development proposal presents an opportunity to preserve, improve and intensify a rental
Karen Whitney, Planner (North York District)
Phone: 395-7109Fax: 395-7155
(Copy of Appendix A - Applicant's Letter re: Retention of Rental Housing &
Improvements, is on file in the office of the City Clerk.)
Valley Impact Zone Official Plan Policies
The following is an excerpt from Part C.2 - Parks and Open Space of the Official Plan
which outlines the policies with regard to valley lands:
"4.3.0VALLEY IMPACT ZONE (V.I.Z.)
To facilitate the application of Council's conservation policies to the development of land
on the valley edges, Council hereby establishes the Valley Land Impact Zone (V.I.Z.). The
V.I.Z. is shown on the Land Use Plan, and is defined to include all lands located below the
crest of the valley slope and lands within the first ten metres above and beyond the crest of
a stable valley slope in the major valleys and the designated minor valleys. The Regulatory
Flood as defined by the Metropolitan Toronto and Region Conservation Authority is
located within the Valley Land Impact Zone.
Where it is determined that the valley slope is unstable, the V.I.Z. is defined to include
lands below the crest of the valley and lands within the first ten metres above and beyond
the crest of a projected stable slope (the projected stable slope being in the ratio of 2
horizontal units of measurement to 1 vertical unit of measurement).
Where only part of a property is located below the crest of the valley slope or within the
first ten metres above and beyond the crest of either a stable or an unstable valley slope, the
entire property is deemed to fall within the V.I.Z. until such time as the crest of the slope is
Council shall consult with the Metropolitan Toronto and Region Conservation Authority
regarding the stability of valley slopes, the location of the crest of existing slopes or
projected stable slopes, and the delineation of the Regulatory Flood.
Within the Valley Land Impact Zone, Council shall apply the policies associated with the
pertinent land use district, and shall ensure that development achieves the following
(a)Conservation of valued natural processes and features;
(b) Maintenance of suitable water table levels, surface and subsurface drainage patterns
and water quality;
(c) Protection of slopes from erosion;
(d) Conservation of natural wildlife habitats and vegetation;
(e) Integration of buildings and structures into the natural landscape (as much as possible);
(f) Prevention of damage to existing and future structures from slope erosion or slumping;
(g)Except as provided elsewhere in this plan within those areas designated "Special Policy
Area", no new development or redevelopment shall be permitted within the Regulatory
Council may require the proponent of a development to provide an independent appraisal
of the achievement of one or more of the above objectives. Such an appraisal shall include
a soil investigation report. Council shall also pursue the above objectives in the planning of
all public works and recreational development projects except where an environmental
assessment has been submitted and approved pursuant to the Environmental Assessment
4.3.3 Development Policies
Council shall pursue the following policies in considering development proposals affecting
lands within the V.I.Z.:
a)Normally required minimum setbacks or such setbacks as are determined by detailed site
study shall be measured from the crest of the valley slope as defined prior to development;
b)Where valley slopes are unstable, Council, in consultation with the M.T.R.C.A., may
impose setbacks in excess of the usual requirement to minimize any adverse impact on the
c)Council, in consultation with the M.T.R.C.A., may impose setbacks for underground
structures from stable or unstable valley slopes so as to maintain the stability of the valley
slope and/or protect unstable slopes from slumping or erosion;
d)Council shall not accept lands below the crest of the slope of the major valleys for the
purpose of satisfying parks dedication requirements imposed under the Planning Act;
e)Except where otherwise may be specified in the Official Plan, where any such lands
have been designated as Valley Open Space (VOS) and form a portion of a property to
which the density of development must be related, such area as defined in the zoning
by-law shall be excluded from the land area for such density calculations;
f)Council shall ensure that construction sites are properly managed to prevent damage to
slopes and vegetation;
g)Council shall not permit any development or filling which is contrary to the regulations
of the M.T.R.C.A."
Housing Intensification Official Plan Policies
The following is an excerpt from Part C.4 - Housing Policies of the Official Plan which
outlines the criteria for intensification of residential uses:
"Section 5.0CRITERIA TO GUIDE REDESIGNATION OF RESIDENTIAL
LANDS TO HIGHER DENSITY
Council recognizes that, with little or no vacant land available for new development, it may
be necessary to consider the intensification of existing, under-utilized, multiple residential
lands or the conversion of lower density residential land uses to a higher density.
Council may consider amendments to redesignate lands to a higher density when, in
Council's opinion, such redevelopment proposals will assist in revitalizing residential
neighbourhoods or serve to enhance the viability of neighbourhoods. A redesignation may
be appropriate when the location represents an opportunity to create additional housing or a
mix of housing to take advantage of physical infrastructure, community services and
facilities, transportation facilities and to meet the housing needs of residents without undue
expense to the City and when one of the following conditions apply:
a)the area, which includes lands beyond a single development site, demonstrates a need for
rejuvenation and reinvestment; or
b) existing land uses or buildings are considered to be obsolete or underutilized; or
c)land use conflict is occurring.
Council may permit such redesignation, provided the form and scale of the development
proposed is in accordance with the policies of the relevant land use category.
When considering official plan amendment applications on lands currently designated
residential, where an increase in density is proposed, Council shall have regard for the
following policies in addition to the General Development Criteria of Section 4.2:
1) The adequacy of existing or planned community facilities and services including, but
not limited to, schools, libraries, community recreational facilities and parks to
accommodate the existing residents and the increase in the population resulting from the
2) The capacity of existing or planned transportation facilities and roads to accommodate
the proposed change.
3)The ability of the existing or planned public infrastructure, services and facilities to
accommodate the proposed change.
4)The location of the site in terms of its proximity to public transit and its access to arterial
5)The ability to improve the mix of housing types, forms and costs in order to encourage
well balanced communities as more fully detailed in Part C.4, Section 2.4 of this Plan.
6) Council shall have regard for the proximity of the site to existing clusters of high
density residential and mixed use development. Council may discourage the redesignation
of lands within areas that have a concentration of high density residential development.
7)The suitability of the site in terms of its size, shape and configuration to accommodate
the proposed development, and related on-site parking and servicing facilities including
loading, garbage and recycling areas.
8)On lands now developed with residential use where intensification of the site is
proposed, the ability of the proposed redevelopment to result in a net benefit to residents in
terms of on-site facilities and improvements to amenities. Council may secure the net
benefit(s) through various techniques such as an agreement pursuant to Section 37 of the
Planning Act. Council may require the provision of on-site amenities to supplement
9)The suitability of the size and configuration of an assembly of land proposed for
redevelopment such that it does not impede the ability of the remnant lands to develop in a
manner consistent with the provisions of this Plan.
10)The proposal does not destabilize adjacent stable residential lands."
(Copies of Schedules A -Official Plan Map, B -Zoning Map, C -Site Plan, C1 -
Landscape Plan, C2 -Context Plan, D1-D2 - South and East, North and West Elevations, E
-Toronto and Region Conservation Authority Comments, F -Public Works Comments,
G-G3 - Public Health Comments, H -Parks and Recreation Comments, I -Fire Comments,
J -Toronto District School Board Comments, K -Toronto Catholic School Board
Comments, L -Transportation Comments, M -Bell Comments, N -Consumers Gas
Comments, P -By-law Enforcement Comments and Q- Public Submissions, are on file in
the office of the City Clerk.)