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Rail Deck Park (?, ?, ?)

zot627

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Myself, I would look to work with Oxford and build a deck from the Rogers Centre to Spadina as stage one. Rogers would probably sponsor at least part of that. There would probably have to be at least two stages to get it to Spadina. If Justin is listening, maybe some federal money could go towards this, like his father's pledge toward Harbourfront.
Sounds like a plan, but a) Oxford doesn't own the air rights in that area and b) how does Oxford make money from a park between Rogers Centre and Spadina? Are you suggesting a mix of development and park?
 

DonValleyRainbow

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Link to LPAT decision document, with court record also attached.
Some points from my reading:
  • This was a hearing on the City's OPA (395), and the merits of the CRAFT development were not considered at all.
  • There was a bunch of clarification needed around the fact that the OMB changed to the LPAT during this case (Attachment 1), and they had to seek a court opinion related to those questions (Attachment 2).
  • Land Background
    • When CN/TTR sold the USRC to Metrolinx, they retained air rights starting at 8.23 m above the top of rail.
    • Those air rights were then partly sold to CRAFT, between Bathurst and Spadina.
    • The section between Spadina and Blue Jays Way requires a consent, as Blue Jays Way is not a public roadway, and CN/TTR intend to retain their rights east of Blue Jays Way. This requires a division of that entire stretch into separate lots. CN/TTR has not been able to obtain that yet from the City.
  • It's the City's opinion that Rail Deck Park:
    • Is located within a designated urban growth centre, on a priority transit corridor and within the major transit station area (Spadina RER Station), and is therefore is a large public park that is a major trip generator and is transit supportive.
    • Is consistent with Official Plan land use designations (Utility Corridor / Mixed Use Area / Parks).
    • Is the type of decking/overbuilding explicitly contemplated in the Railway Lands West and Central Secondary Plans.
  • CRAFT argued that:
    • The OPA deleted a policy and procedure in the Railway Lands West Secondary Plan that allowed for contemplating and assessing the range of uses (i.e. residential / commercial development).
    • By doing this, the City declared instead that park use alone will be the sole use permitted. CRAFT argued this subverted proper planning and prejudiced them by stripping away their development prospects.
    • That only considering park uses over the USRC is inconsistent with intensification and housing policies of the Provincial Policy Statement and Growth Plan.
  • CRAFT/CN/TTR's witness testified that if the City owned these air rights, then it was his opinion it would no longer be inconsistent with the Provincial Policy Statement and Growth Plan. This was recognized by the LPAT as being the core of their argument: "In CRAFT’s view, unless and until the City has committed itself to acquisition of the [air rights], it is premature and prejudicial to the parties who hold [air rights' to derogate from their opportunity to pursue an alternate development proposal."
  • This argument was ties to the "Nepean principle", which stemmed from a 1976 OMB case where the Township of Nepean enacted a comprehensive zoning by-law that, in some areas, imposed Conservation zoning on some lands.
    • Conservation zoned lands "were to remain primarily as open space in character with priority given to preservation of their natural state or special environmental quality." There was reference to a commitment in the Official Plan that these lands were a commitment to purchase or obtain rights to these lands, or work with other public authorities (e.g. the local conservation authority) to purchase control over the land.
    • Obviously, there were objections because this would restrict farming and sand / gravel extraction, "and amounted to a down-zoning with an adverse effect on value."
    • The Board recognized the importance of protecting certain Conservation lands such as river corridors, but the issue was how to maintain that objective while resolving impacts on private interests.
  • The LPAT raises a point that the Nepean case dealt with ongoing operations that, as a result of implementing the by-law, made those uses legal non-conforming. That is not the case with OPA 395.
    • No "permissions" are being removed.
    • The secondary plan doesn't entitle CRAFT to a particular land use, merely an opportunity to present a case for an amendment, as long as it was justifiable and conformed with applicable policies.
    • Approving OPA 395 means that secondary by-laws will have to be brought into conformity "in due course".
  • All of this brought the LPAT to the crux of the issue: implementation.
    • The LPAT was persuaded that Rail Deck Park is a bold and visionary proposal to create a transformation space in a park-deficient area. To realize this vision, the city created OPA 395.
    • OPA 395 is just a policy amendment. It doesn't mean anything unless Rail Deck Park is physically built.
    • Rail Deck Park cannot be physically built unless the City has acquired the air rights.
    • That acquisition would occur as the result of a negotiated deal, or by expropriation.
    • However, the City's acquisition of the air rights is not a necessary condition of determining whether OPA 395 conforms with the Provincial Policy Statement and Growth Plan; it must be judged on whether it meets those requirements without the City owning any land rights.
    • The LPAT determined that OPA 395 does meet that test, and therefore it dismissed the appeals.
 

zot627

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Some points from my reading:
Excellent summary. If OPA 395 does not prejudice the private OPA and the panel has determined there is no requirement for the City to purchase the air rights unless the City moves forward with Rail Deck Park, what was the purpose of OP395? The existing OP provided for a range of uses, including parkland, so it's not as though OP395 grants something that wasn't already there. The City could have come along at any time and negotiated a purchase of the air rights or served notice of expropriation if they were serious about building the park. Why go through this OPA?
 

raptor

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Excellent summary. If OPA 395 does not prejudice the private OPA and the panel has determined there is no requirement for the City to purchase the air rights unless the City moves forward with Rail Deck Park, what was the purpose of OP395? The existing OP provided for a range of uses, including parkland, so it's not as though OP395 grants something that wasn't already there. The City could have come along at any time and negotiated a purchase of the air rights or served notice of expropriation if they were serious about building the park. Why go through this OPA?
To lower the expropriation cost
 

Alex L

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Sounds like a plan, but a) Oxford doesn't own the air rights in that area and b) how does Oxford make money from a park between Rogers Centre and Spadina? Are you suggesting a mix of development and park?
Oxford is already planning a deck between the convention centre (to be rebuilt) and Rogers. They must have some rights already. That leaves the segment west of Blue Jays way for the City. I think it would be advantageous to do both at the same time.
 

cd concept

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By looking at the photos above it clearly shows the potential parkland space above the rail land corridor. I would love to see Rail Deck Park extended this far. Maybe it can pay for itself if the city and the private sector would sandwiched a one to five Storey buildings inside with the park on top and the rail lands below. Its purpose could be for parking garages, institutions, offices , stores even Light Industry Etc. This is a good way two expedite the parks from the exhibition area right down to the Don River area. Expanding little by little as development on the inside gets built creating a hill like park with a view on top etc.
 

zot627

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View attachment 195209View attachment 195210

By looking at the photos above it clearly shows the potential parkland space above the rail land corridor. I would love to see Rail Deck Park extended this far. Maybe it can pay for itself if the city and the private sector would sandwiched a one to five Storey buildings inside with the park on top and the rail lands below. Its purpose could be for parking garages, institutions, offices , stores even Light Industry Etc. This is a good way two expedite the parks from the exhibition area right down to the Don River area. Expanding little by little as development on the inside gets built creating a hill like park with a view on top etc.
Certainly makes sense to extend the park to the west and add some development to help pay for the deck. With a public-private partnership model, the City could leverage their billions and end up with a much longer/larger park.
 
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44 North

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That one image with it at the tip of Villiers Island would be a superb location. People will flock there for the skyline shots, and something like this adds to that. Also looks a bit like giant octopus tentacles lashing out. Maybe it could be put just off shore. A sea monster monument.
 

W. K. Lis

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View attachment 195209View attachment 195210

By looking at the photos above it clearly shows the potential parkland space above the rail land corridor. I would love to see Rail Deck Park extended this far. Maybe it can pay for itself if the city and the private sector would sandwiched a one to five Storey buildings inside with the park on top and the rail lands below. Its purpose could be for parking garages, institutions, offices , stores even Light Industry Etc. This is a good way two expedite the parks from the exhibition area right down to the Don River area. Expanding little by little as development on the inside gets built creating a hill like park with a view on top etc.
According to the latest crayon drawing for the Relief Ontario (Crayon) Line, the line could be going UNDER the tracks west of Bathurst before emergin above ground at Exhibition Place.


From link.

Keeping the line underground, could make the parkland possible. However, since Doug Ford, by his current actions is anti-environment, he could decide to put his line above the railway tracks instead, for money reasons. Since parkland is unimportant to him.
 

robmausser

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According to the latest crayon drawing for the Relief Ontario (Crayon) Line, the line could be going UNDER the tracks west of Bathurst before emergin above ground at Exhibition Place.


From link.

Keeping the line underground, could make the parkland possible. However, since Doug Ford, by his current actions is anti-environment, he could decide to put his line above the railway tracks instead, for money reasons. Since parkland is unimportant to him.
I think it would make more sense to put the Ontario Line at-grade below the Gardiner if it wasnt tunneled. However that stupid bentway park kills that idea.
 

Alex L

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I think it would make more sense to put the Ontario Line at-grade below the Gardiner if it wasnt tunneled. However that stupid bentway park kills that idea.
Back to the future. It was an abandoned rail line for decades. Too bad you are grumpy about the Bentway. The Bentway has interesting programming and is one of the things that makes life better in the area.
 

robmausser

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Back to the future. It was an abandoned rail line for decades. Too bad you are grumpy about the Bentway. The Bentway has interesting programming and is one of the things that makes life better in the area.
Im sorry I cant hear you over the noise of cars and coughing on exhaust.

I think it's a terrible idea to do anything park related under a highway.

Build the Rail Deck Park out this way, and have a proper park, and use this troll cave for transit.
 
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Alex L

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Im sorry I cant hear you over the noise of cars and coughing on exhaust.

I think it's a terrible idea to do anything park related under a highway.

Build the Rail Deck Park out this way, and have a proper park, and use this troll cave for transit.
Obviously, you have not visited. The noise is above the roadway, except for the crossing of expansion joints. And similarly for the exhaust, that's a problem for the whole district, not underneath.
 

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