The Sterling Automotive | 67.5m | 18s | Lamb Development | a—A

ProjectEnd

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On the one hand I agree that leaving all development to the whims of capitalism isn't a good thing, but I do question the ability of the City to actually complete a full project cycle on their own. We've seen how disastrously they can mishandle a theoretical rezoning (CreateTO) and it's easy to laugh at the seeming-incompetence and utter apathy of some municipal departments (I'm looking at you Toronto Water, Transportation Services, etc.), so it's with some trepidation that I evaluate calls for the City to fill the affordable void and build on their own.

In this case though, I'm unsure of the legality around what kind of due diligence Brad is expected to perform. At the end of the day, the units were illegal so his advertisement for them clearly indicates he was aware and still interested in making some money. That said, I'm sure he would have preferred vacant possession in the transaction at the end of the day so it's a bit of a grey area (unless someone can clarify). We'll have to see what happens.
 

Northern Light

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On the one hand I agree that leaving all development to the whims of capitalism isn't a good thing, but I do question the ability of the City to actually complete a full project cycle on their own. We've seen how disastrously they can mishandle a theoretical rezoning (CreateTO) and it's easy to laugh at the seeming-incompetence and utter apathy of some municipal departments (I'm looking at you Toronto Water, Transportation Services, etc.), so it's with some trepidation that I evaluate calls for the City to fill the affordable void and build on their own.

In this case though, I'm unsure of the legality around what kind of due diligence Brad is expected to perform. At the end of the day, the units were illegal so his advertisement for them clearly indicates he was aware and still interested in making some money. That said, I'm sure he would have preferred vacant possession in the transaction at the end of the day so it's a bit of a grey area (unless someone can clarify). We'll have to see what happens.

I'm certainly not philosophically opposed to private-sector involvement in housing.........

But I think we need to go back and review the St. Lawrence neighbourhood once again, and see that the City was perfectly capable of leading construction/planning on a community, including extensive affordable housing.

Government has, in many departments been starved of the intellectual capital, and the freedom to achieve. But it can do so, when both properly funded and empowered.

It's not an intrinsic failure of City government that it struggles to do many things as well at it should; it's a choice.

****

A note to that effect referencing the Problematic Park Design thread; one of our most loved parks of recent times, The Music Garden saw a leading design role played by in-house Landscape Architects for Toronto's Parks, Forestry and Recreation department.

Hire the right people, give them freedom to do what they do well; fund them properly, hold them accountable.
 
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ProjectEnd

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Agreed 100%. Unfortunately we live in 'Low Tax City' where none of that is possible. A place that knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

I would still doubt the desire or ability of a municipal unit to go for 'highest and best' densities given that they'd be undermining their own OP and by-laws (requiring a potential rewriting of both). Additionally, the City would be putting itself in opposition to communities who don't want projects in their neighbourhoods while undermining any credibility on the stand at LPAT / OMB when opposing private sector projects.
 

Northern Light

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I would still doubt the desire or ability of a municipal unit to go for 'highest and best' densities given that they'd be undermining their own OP and by-laws (requiring a potential rewriting of both). Additionally, the City would be putting itself in opposition to communities who don't want projects in their neighbourhoods while undermining any credibility on the stand at LPAT / OMB when opposing private sector projects.

Perhaps so.

But arguably, St Lawrence isn't highest/best use, if by that, we mean maximum height and density.

I'm not persuaded the problem is one of failing to build a 25-storey building and settling for 12.

I'm of the view the problem is all those bungalows lining major arterial roads, where 6 storeys would do wonders.

Edit to add, perhaps this tangent if it has life left in it should shift elsewhere......as we are wandering a bit from the the topic of the thread.
 

Torontovibe

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I'm pretty sure Brad Lamb did not inherit these tenants when he purchased the property. He sent out a mass email to his marketing list in December 2019 advertising hard lofts for rent: "Loft style rental opportunity! Two recently renovated units now available in The Junction at 1407-1409 Bloor St W..." with photos that match those seen in the recent news articles.

The timing and the wording implies that he renovated these units after purchasing the property, and rented it out to these tenants. (If not these tenants, depending on how long the current ones have been there, then there were others before these ones, that he was also responsible for).

So just to be clear, he definitely did NOT do the 'nice' thing.

If he was responsible for the renovation, then he was either aware of the safety issues and ignored them, or was just flat out negligent. To actively then go and seek out renters, knowing the units were unsafe is terrible. And then after this whole fiasco to offer zero assistance is just adding insult to injury.
EXACTLY
 

Northern Light

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smably

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There's a bunch of juicy stuff in there, but yikes, sounds like Lamb is just stonewalling the city on a bunch of their requests:
Since the application was made, staff have engaged in some discussions with the applicant, largely in relation to the widening and southerly extension of Ruttan Street. Despite these discussions, no formal change or resubmission has been made.
On March 30, 2021, City Planning staff conducted a site visit to confirm existing conditions on the lands and determine whether a Rental Housing Demolition application under Chapter 667 of the Toronto Municipal Code pursuant to Section 111 of the City of Toronto Act, 2006 would be required in addition to the Official Plan and Zoning By-law Amendment applications. During the site visit, staff identified four two-bedroom rental dwelling units at 1407-1409 Bloor Street West (the four units from which the tenant households were displaced due to the unsafe condition) and zero dwelling units at 229 and 231 Sterling Road. However, staff were not granted access to the buildings at 1405 Bloor Street and therefore were unable to ascertain the total number of (rental) dwelling units on the lands and whether a Rental Housing Demolition application would be required. Staff have attempted to coordinate a second site visit to confirm existing conditions at 1405 Bloor Street West with the applicant without success.

As such, City Planning staff request that City Council direct the City Solicitor to request the OLT to withhold any final Order(s) on the Official Plan Amendment and Zoning Bylaw Amendment appeals until such time as the City Solicitor advises the Tribunal that City Planning staff have confirmed whether a Rental Housing Demolition application is required and, if an application is required, that City Council has dealt with a future Rental Housing Demolition application to demolish the existing rental units and that any matters arising from a Rental Housing Demolition application have been secured in an agreement registered on title to the lands pursuant to Section 111 of the City of Toronto Act, 2006, to the satisfaction of the Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning and the City Solicitor.
 

carrythezero

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While the proposal (and circumstances) leave much to be desired, the neighourhood association is out here arguing that even 4 stories is too much, and that we need moar parking because the area is underserved by transit. Oof.

"South JT Grows agree with many of the City's issues with the development and will support the City in those arguments. We will also argue the following:
  • TRAFFIC - the application has not addressed the impact this will have on traffic which is already a problem on Sterling and Ruttan. What will be the impact of Marlin Springs and other already approved developments. The narrowing of Bloor has had a negative impact on traffic in our neighbourhood.
    • they have proposed zero visitor parking, very limited resident parking, and a car elevator: check out this Toronto Real Estate Blog sharing what a terrible idea this is not only for us, but for our future neighbours and residents in this building!
  • PARKING - the application is woefully inadequate with respect to parking. They overestimate the available parking and underestimate their required parking spots within the building. They also want an automated parking garage.
  • CUMULATIVE EFFECT - the application fails to address how the already approved developments in the area will affect the neighbourhood. Particularly with respect to traffic, parking, green spaces and the community infrastructure (i.e. schools overcapacity, few daycare spots etc).
  • BUILT FORM - even at the permitted 4 stories the building is too large for this neighbourhood. While the City can't argue that 4 stories is too high - we will! The size will impact those of us who back onto the development. It will seriously impact our sunlight and privacy.
  • "TRANSIT HUB" MYTH- despite what developers claim - the area is underserviced with respect to transit. As many of us know the TTC subway is overcrowded at Dundas Station and the addition of GO stops will not lighten that load downtown, especially considering the incredible number of developments already being built in the neighbourhood.
  • LACK OF AFFORDABLE UNITS - there is no affordable housing proposed, and Brad Lamb has been known to set high minimum rent prices for condo owners who seek to rent- these residences will most certainly not be affordable for many of our Greater Toronto and Ontario community members"
 

UtakataNoAnnex

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Ahh, the classic "not enough parking but also too much traffic" argument. NIMBY's, you gotta pick one. You can't have both.
...they also added affordable unit demands while stating the proposal is too large. /sigh
 

smably

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I was at the consultation for Marlin Spring's proposal next door, and the NIMBYs were out in force with similar arguments. One person who spoke started by saying that she was concerned about the environmental impact of the building, complained that it would generate too much traffic, and then went on to argue that the developer should build extra parking beyond the city's minimums to serve the surrounding community. She asked the planner working for the developer whether he had driven in the area. When he said that he lives nearby and does sometimes drive in the neighbourhood, but mostly walks or bikes, she said he was being ableist. You can't even make this stuff up. :rolleyes:

They also made the argument that the area is underserved by transit (an absolutely insane claim, speaking as someone who regularly rides the TTC in this area) and ranted at length about how the developers are being deceptive by not including other proposed developments in their renderings. I could have filled an entire NIMBY bingo card with the ridiculous complaints from these people.

Anyway, Brad Lamb is scum, the Marlin Spring building is ugly dreck, the neighbours are insufferable, so there's really not much to love here.
 

Northern Light

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While the proposal (and circumstances) leave much to be desired

True.
, the neighourhood association is out here arguing that even 4 stories is too much

Ridiculous
, and that we need moar parking because the area is underserved by transit. Oof.

Comically ridiculous

****

This one does have to go back to the drawing board for a host of reasons outlined by Planning.

But for virtually none of the reasons outlined by the Residents Assoc.
 

Lachlan Holmes

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My favourite part of that newsletter HAS to be the "calls to action" that range from requesting a professional planner or transportation specialist take on their case against this at the OLT, to someone who can make a 3D rendering of all the proposed developments - in Minecraft form.

1635181231598.png
 

UtakataNoAnnex

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I was at the consultation for Marlin Spring's proposal next door, and the NIMBYs were out in force with similar arguments. One person who spoke started by saying that she was concerned about the environmental impact of the building, complained that it would generate too much traffic, and then went on to argue that the developer should build extra parking beyond the city's minimums to serve the surrounding community. She asked the planner working for the developer whether he had driven in the area. When he said that he lives nearby and does sometimes drive in the neighbourhood, but mostly walks or bikes, she said he was being ableist. You can't even make this stuff up. :rolleyes:

They also made the argument that the area is underserved by transit (an absolutely insane claim, speaking as someone who regularly rides the TTC in this area) and ranted at length about how the developers are being deceptive by not including other proposed developments in their renderings. I could have filled an entire NIMBY bingo card with the ridiculous complaints from these people.

Anyway, Brad Lamb is scum, the Marlin Spring building is ugly dreck, the neighbours are insufferable, so there's really not much to love here.
They really don't want that building there, full stop. But they are really too cowardly to put that in writing.

...and agreed, Mr. Lamb as per usual is not helping things much. /sigh
 

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