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Thread: Queen W & Portland fire

  1. #151

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    ^Talk to the girls at Preloved, or any of the tennants that lived/worked on that block.

    They tell me: big infighting between two rival businesses; probability of an insurance scam: high.
    Canadian architecture I like: http://renderpornstar.com/


  2. Default Queen St. fire - Update.

    Queen St. fire victims struggling to rebuild

    The capping issue is just stalling the inevitable. There is simply no justification for property taxes to be $90,000 per year.

    http://southofsteeles.blogspot.com/2...-by-taxes.html
    http://www.southofsteeles.blogspot.com/
    Where Toronto's troubles begin.

    There are also two kinds of truths: truth of reasoning and truths of fact. Truths of reasoning are necessary and their opposite is impossible; those of fact are contingent and their opposite is possible.
    Gottfried Leibniz (plagiarized from Baruch Spinoza)

  3. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Glen View Post
    Queen St. fire victims struggling to rebuild

    The capping issue is just stalling the inevitable. There is simply no justification for property taxes to be $90,000 per year.

    http://southofsteeles.blogspot.com/2...-by-taxes.html
    Oh there is, remember, in Mayor Milhouse's Toronto no taxes are too high to help the panhandlers and sqeegee kids, and to hell with the working people of Toronto.

  4. Default

    There's now a clean up crew working on the Easternmost building's wall that was exposed to the fire. They are also cleaning up the debris.

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    Would love to hear news of that section being rebuilt, with the same scale and similar looking buildings.

    The Portland St. condos hopefully will really help the area.

  6. #156

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    Queen Street's devastating fire was only the beginning

    Owner of Duke's Cycle says moves by city officials and the province's property tax assessment corporation has compounded the devastation wrought by the flames of last year

    Jeff Gray and Jennifer Lewington

    Monday, Jun. 08, 2009 03:56AM EDT

    All that's left of Duke's Cycle and its neighbours on Queen Street West is a post-Blitz-like field of rubble, punctuated by jagged piles of beaten wooden beams, rusted metal and chunks of red brick.

    The only sign there was a bike shop here for almost 100 years is a few black scraps of what used to be bicycle tires lying in the dirt. The store, along with several other businesses in a dilapidated but historic strip near Bathurst Street, was destroyed in a massive fire in February of 2008.

    That was bad enough, says Gary Duke, the owner of the bike shop who has temporarily relocated his business to Richmond Street. But he says what has happened since – at the hands of city officials and the province's property tax assessment corporation – has compounded the devastation wrought by the flames of last year.

    Not only did the city slip his family a bill for $33,000 for the demolition and cleanup of their fire-ravaged property, which he calls an “outrage.” But with the old building torn down, the city's grandfathered property-tax discount for these small businesses, now a vacant lot of prime downtown real estate, also went up in smoke.

    That part of the rubble still owned by Mr. Duke's parents, who are now in their mid-80s, has seen its annual property tax bill almost double, from $12,000 a year before the fire to $22,000 a year today, Mr. Duke said, even after he applied for a reduction since it is a vacant lot earning his family nothing.

    Worse, if he and his family go ahead and rebuild their store – which had been there since 1914, started by his grandfather – Mr. Duke believes his property tax would double again. And efforts to rebuild are hampered, he said, by the province's demand that an archeological study take place first.

    “It's just another kick in the private parts,” Mr. Duke said, accusing the city of being “heartless.”

    The local city councillor, Adam Vaughan, (Ward 20, Trinity Spadina), has called for a cap on the new taxes or for special grants to offset them, if the businesses are rebuilt as they were before the fire. He says leaving the rules as is will mean only large corporate chain stores will be able to afford to locate in the rebuilt strip.

    Mr. Vaughan said the situation was absurd: “City hall shouldn't profit from the tragedy and misfortune of small business in the city … Let's not take advantage of a fire, and let's not use a fire to bankrupt families that have been paying taxes for years.”

    But city bureaucrats have warned against any special treatment for the six properties destroyed. They say offering special grants or tax breaks could set a precedent that would force the city to ease the burdens on other retail strips that redevelop, potentially costing the city millions in tax revenue.

    “It just may be seen by other members of council as a device that they could use for areas in their ward or that sort of thing,” said Peter Moore of the city's planning department. “It's very difficult to control the process when that starts to happen.”

    As to the $33,000 bill for what Mr. Duke called a fee for the investigation of the fire, the city says it is charging all six property owners a total of $204,600 to cover the costs of a contractor who demolished the remaining burnt-out structures and removed the debris required to make the site safe for fire investigators.

    According to a staff report, if the bills are not paid, the city could place a lien on the properties, making it harder for the owners to get loans or sell the land.

    The issue of how to help the Queen Street property owners was referred to the planning department for further study by Mayor David Miller's executive committee meeting last week.

    Councillor Howard Moscoe (Ward 15, Eglinton-Lawrence) and others on the committee said they were concerned about bending city policy on tax incentives to apply to retail developments, as the limited policy is supposed to be used only to attract high-tech or high-skilled jobs, or for large so-called “transformative” projects.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I think this is a very difficult issue. On the one hand, the city is right that it would be unfair to introduce a preferential tax rate for a standard new retail building, though I think that it would be reasonable in this special circumstance to allow them to retain their grandfathered rates if they rebuild the same type of buildings that were there before. On the other hand, those buildings are exactly what the City is trying to promote on all of our main streets. If the tax system is directly precluding them from being built, then there's something wrong with the tax system. Narrow streetfront buildings that can house independent stores, perhaps with a couple floors of apartments on top, are the basis of a successful street. Right now, it seems that building codes and the tax structure are preventing any new buildings like that from being built. Anything new seems to either be a high rise or take up a full block. Without policy changes in other departments, the City's Avenues plans seem pretty much impossible.

  7. #157

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    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    If I can get the same tax breaks that he's getting, I'll fully back his position. But if I can't get the same thing, then he should stop crying and start paying his dues like the rest of us.

    His tax breaks shouldn't have been there in the first place. Kudos for the government for taking it away. Now Miller should do the same thing to the rest of them too. You want to do business on prime downtown real estate? Then you shall be paying prime downtown real estate taxes, if somebody doesn't like it then nobody's stopping them from moving to Markham. That's besides the fact that if someone's business cannot bring in enough income to cover the proper property taxes, then maybe that business owner should take a peek into the way he/she is running his business and think about why others can make so much more money he/she is. In my opinion, a business that cannot afford its own property taxes shouldn't exist.


    As for the demo cost. The poor guy didn't have fire insurance? Well damn he must've missed a lesson in life.

    I carry the up most sympathies to the victims of this fire and I hope they properly recover from it. But that's for the fire, not their tax breaks.
    Last edited by UD2; 2009-Jun-08 at 15:50.

  8. #158

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    The site last week...










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    I just knew that these lots would end up sitting in limbo for years....

    Just the way this city seems to work. Barrier after barrier.

  10. #160

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    Pretty obvious one of the landowners wanted this site vacant. Watch for a condo proposal within the next 5-10 years, after the wiseguys slowly buy out their neighbours.
    Canadian architecture I like: http://renderpornstar.com/

  11. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by UD2 View Post
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    If I can get the same tax breaks that he's getting, I'll fully back his position. But if I can't get the same thing, then he should stop crying and start paying his dues like the rest of us..
    Are you speaking as a non residential property owner paying an uncapped rate? Or as a residential property owner living in the Ontario city with the highest per household spending and among the lowest residential tax and fees? Made possible only by over charging non-residential properties, renters, provincial transfers and direct and indirect subsidies from neighbouring municipalities.

    His tax breaks shouldn't have been there in the first place. Kudos for the government for taking it away. Now Miller should do the same thing to the rest of them too. You want to do business on prime downtown real estate? Then you shall be paying prime downtown real estate taxes,
    That would be represented by his assessment value
    if somebody doesn't like it then nobody's stopping them from moving to Markham
    Many already have.
    That's besides the fact that if someones business cannot bring in enough income to cover the proper property taxes, then maybe that business owner should take a peek into the way he/she is running his business and think about why others can make so much more money he/she is. In my opinion, a business that cannot afford its own property taxes shouldn't exist.
    I am sure that most businesses can afford the 'proper property taxes', it is 4x the proper rates that become a problem.
    http://www.southofsteeles.blogspot.com/
    Where Toronto's troubles begin.

    There are also two kinds of truths: truth of reasoning and truths of fact. Truths of reasoning are necessary and their opposite is impossible; those of fact are contingent and their opposite is possible.
    Gottfried Leibniz (plagiarized from Baruch Spinoza)

  12. #162

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    Meh, I’m somewhat with UD2. I dislike how the city uses the tax code to try to micromanage business (bike shops = low tax, “corporate retailers” =high tax). I can agree to disagree with what would be the optimal commercial tax rate, but I just don’t think there should be such a variance. Whatever the tax rates are, that should be it. Not grandfathered to promote or handicap. Certainly shouldn’t be a 50-100% variance for the same property.
    I also don’t think it is uncommon for the city to bill cleanup services. Isn’t that SOP? They charge you for towing your car. I’ve always been under the impression that building insurance was intended to cover this kind of thing.
    *Give me convenience or give me death*

  13. Default

    Uniformity I do agree with (across all classes). The problem with UD2s comment is that it implies that the current rate is not a issue. That area, while popular, is no Yorkville. It is more typical of downtown. If that area will only be able to support large corporate chain stores, then the same will apply for the most of the city. Take a look at Adam Vaughan's comment in the Globe article........

    The local city councillor, Adam Vaughan, (Ward 20, Trinity Spadina), has called for a cap on the new taxes or for special grants to offset them, if the businesses are rebuilt as they were before the fire. He says leaving the rules as is will mean only large corporate chain stores will be able to afford to locate in the rebuilt strip.
    A restoration of the previous capping schedule only forestalls the inevitable.
    http://www.southofsteeles.blogspot.com/
    Where Toronto's troubles begin.

    There are also two kinds of truths: truth of reasoning and truths of fact. Truths of reasoning are necessary and their opposite is impossible; those of fact are contingent and their opposite is possible.
    Gottfried Leibniz (plagiarized from Baruch Spinoza)

  14. #164

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Glen View Post
    Uniformity I do agree with (across all classes). The problem with UD2s comment is that it implies that the current rate is not a issue. That area, while popular, is no Yorkville. It is more typical of downtown. If that area will only be able to support large corporate chain stores, then the same will apply for the most of the city. Take a look at Adam Vaughan's comment in the Globe article........



    A restoration of the previous capping schedule only forestalls the inevitable.
    A business, any business, to me, is the same with any other business large or small.

    The business should exist if the market finds it valuable; otherwise it will naturally be replaced by other businesses that have value.

    The market should decide which businesses survive and which does not and that the government shouldn't have a hand in making this decision using tax rates.

    If the market competition become so diluted that it results in monopolies, then that's a problem. But we have many laws against this and the bike shop industry is certainly not a monopoly.

    It is understandable that a large leap in property taxes will result in a dent on the business's bottom line, but if it’s operating properly and efficiently it should be able to absorb that.

    The issue here is how this is being looked at. Is it that that bike shop suddenly got a tax hike or did it just benefit for decades from a tax break.

    The glass is half full.

  15. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by UD2 View Post
    The issue here is how this is being looked at. Is it that that bike shop suddenly got a tax hike or did it just benefit for decades from a tax break.
    Neither. It is just being screwed over less. They had a legitimate expectation from the previous Municipal Act of a tax rate that was only 17% more than the residential rate. The current Act says from 60% to 110% of the residential rate, averaged to 85%.
    http://www.southofsteeles.blogspot.com/
    Where Toronto's troubles begin.

    There are also two kinds of truths: truth of reasoning and truths of fact. Truths of reasoning are necessary and their opposite is impossible; those of fact are contingent and their opposite is possible.
    Gottfried Leibniz (plagiarized from Baruch Spinoza)

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