Blog TO has identified LongBranch & New Toronto as among the top 5 neighbourhoods on the rise in 2015. They have noticed what local residents have been seeing for some time. Developers have targeted our area in a significant way – they see gold in them-thar-hills.
It’s a double-edged sword. On the one hand, increased density in the form of condos along the Lakeshore thoroughfare (such as the one across from the beer store) is bound to help revitalize a long retail strip which could use a boost. At the same time, there is a lot of development pressure on the South Long Branch neighbourhoods that unchecked will be detrimental to the character of our community.
Consider that within site of our home on lower 27th Street, at least 3 properties have been snapped up by developers. One has already had a severance approved by the Ontario Municipal Board. The owner plans to build two tall, deep and narrow homes where previously there was a single modest bungalow. In spite of the fact that this developer plans to chop down several trees on the property, and erect a pair of buildings that are each 2 stories over a garage, his team managed to convince an OMB adjudicator that this development is in keeping with the character of the neighbourhood.
On the other hand, earlier this month and further up the street, the OMB rejected a proposal to sever a lot and put up a similar development. One thing we are seeing is neighbourhood residents who are increasingly organized and willing to take the time and the trouble to get involved and fight to retain the unique character of this community.
The Committee of Adjustment/Ontario Municipal Board process seems inadequate in a community undergoing significant and rapid change. Some change is inevitable, and thoughtful development can be positive. The question is how to manage it in a way that is good for the community and good for the City. How can we bring some positive planning into the equation?