Saturday, August 20, 2011

Projected Impact of the Proposed Front Setback Variance of 66 Baby Pt. Rd.

The Villager - August 11, 2011 by Lisa Rainford

Residents on Baby Point Road are dismayed a neighbour has been given permission to build a three-storey house mere metres from the sidewalk.

Flash: - This may be Appealed to the OMB

A City of Toronto Committee of Adjustment, deemed the application a minor variance Thursday evening, July 28, despite the neighbourhood's effort to prove otherwise.

Property owner Lorne Bozinoff had the original 1920s Arts and Craft-style, one-and-a-half-storey cottage designed by architect Robert Home Smith demolished in November to make room for the new house.

"We are disappointed in the committee's decision. The applicant's reason for moving this 6,000-square foot house forward was to improve the streetscape," said David Bronskill, the lawyer representing some Baby Point residents. "We fail to see how pushing forward a house that is two times the size of nearby homes does anything except overwhelm the streetscape."

Reached by telephone Monday, Aug. 8, Bozinoff said he was "very pleased" with the outcome of the meeting. "It was unanimous in our favour," he said.

As many as 15 residents attended the late July meeting. Those who could not be there expressed their opposition through written letters to the committee. The new house is the first in the immediate area to violate the front yard setback requirement of 9.13 metres, Bronskill said. Bozinoff plans to construct his house 6.46 metres from the south front lot line. Although, he said he has yet to determine when construction will be begin.

Parkdale-High Park Councillor Sarah Doucette supported the consensus of her constituents by writing a letter to the committee. She said she felt that by moving the house forward, the property would lose crucial green space.

Area residents are scratching their heads as to why the committee decided the character of Baby Point Circle should be forever altered to accommodate a large house with a backyard pool. "Neighbours are incredulous at why the streetscape should be permanently be changed to suit Mr. Bozinoff's development rather than changes being made to his development plan to suit the streetscape," said David Ceolin, who lives on the Baby Point Circle.

Based on neighbours' input last year, Bozinoff said he and his architects redesigned the house. Neighbours had 21 days from July 28 to decide if they wanted to fight the decision at the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).

This decision had yet to be made by The Villager's press deadline.

Meanwhile, Bozinoff said he is in the midst of finalizing interior drawings. "If the committee's decision is appealed, we would hope that the OMB would place great weight on this persuasive evidence and protect the existing physical character of this beautiful neighbourhood," Bronskill said.

Neighbours charge the new structure will occupy 90 per cent of the allowable lot space, 99 per cent of the allowable width and is twice as large as the house next door, despite claims that they are similar in size. "I feel like the people on the committee have failed us. The evidence that was presented was ignored," said Kevin O'Doherty, a nine-year resident, adding that he feels the new house will dramatically change the imprint of Baby Point.

The neighbourhood was a featured on a show called Structures, which highlights stories about Toronto's local culture and heritage. The program, said Ceolin, included architectural and urban planning experts commenting on Home Smith's vision for Baby Point. Home Smith wanted to ensure that houses did not overwhelm each other or the lots on which they were built, said Ceolin.

"The implications of this decision are that this historically admired streetscape has now been permanently altered so one individual can have a large lap pool for his 6,500-square foot footprint," he said.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Visual Impact of proposed 66 Baby Point Rd.

The top image is a rendering of the visual impact that the new home at 66 Baby Point Rd. will have on the streetscape if the Minor Variance of moving the house forward 8-3/4 ft. is granted.

The middle image is a rendering of the visual impact on the streetscape with the home situated on the required setback line.

The bottom image is the streetscape prior to demolition of the original house at 66 Baby Point Rd.

Register your concern about approval of this Minor Variance with your Councillor:

Assistant to Sarah Doucette
Toronto City Councillor, Ward 13

66 Baby Point Road - Setback Variance


The proposed new home to be constructed on the empty lot at 66 Baby Point Rd. is 6,000 sq. ft.
It is 2.2 times larger than the immediately adjacent 12 homes
It occupies 90% of the allowable lot space
It uses 99% of its allowable width at 66 feet
It is twice as large as 68 Baby Point Rd. despite claims that they are comparable in size(5941 vs 3033 sq.ft.)
It will be closer to the street by 1/3 of the depth or dimension of the east wall of the old home

66 Baby Point Rd - Minor Variance Application

The Bozinoff's have applied for a Minor Variance for the planned new dwelling at 66 Baby Point Road.

They want to move it forward 8.75 ft towards the sidewalk, on the basis that this will restore the street scape.

Recall that the original request for a Variance in 2009 was to increase landscaping space. (note EW orientation of original pool design). The latest plan (bottom) now has it aligned North/South.

Is this the real reason ?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Community Meeting 66 Baby Pt Rd. June 21, 2011

Councillor Doucette arranged a Community Meeting with Mr. Lorne Bozinoff this past Tuesday evening at the Baby Point Clubhouse. At that time Mr. Bozinoff undertook the task of presenting updated drawings of the home to be constructed at 66 Baby Point Road. He described several changes that have been made to the plans. He then presented his justification for a minor variance for this development.

He indicated that the new dwelling will now be in the style of an Arts and Crafts home with square footage of 5,941 sq.ft. He also noted that the garage had been moved back and the dormer window design had changed. In addition, he stated that the roof line had been altered and was now two feet lower than previous.

He indicated that despite these changes he still required a Minor Variance to move the home forward of the normal front setback line. In addition to a permit from the TRC to transgress the Humber Ravine Protection Zone, the owner has applied to the Etobicoke/York Committee of Adjustment to move the south east corner and the rest of the proposed house 2.67 meters (8.75 feet) beyond the prevailing setback line. ( In red above is the footprint of the previous home)

Mr. Bozinoff claims that this will re-establish the appropriate "en echelon" placement of the homes along the curve of of the north perimeter of Baby Point Circle and restore the authenticity of the historic sight lines of this specific section of Baby Point Road. His submission was echoed by a local resident of Baby Point Crescent who disagrees with the general consensus in the community that the appropriate placement for the new home is on the established setback line that runs corner to corner between the adjacent properties.

Although he acknowledged the fact that the new home is very large, he argued that the bylaw requirement that the new house be placed on the established set back line would taint the aesthetics of the street scape.

It is perhaps appropriate to recall that the dimensions of the new dwelling will be 2.3 times larger than the previous demolished property and twice as large as adjacent properties. It will occupy 90% of its allowable coverage and will have a frontage of 66 ft., which is 99% of the allowable dimension of the front elevation.

The requested minor variance of of 2.7meters (or approx. 9 feet), is 1/3 of the dimension of the entire east wall and footing of the old dwelling. This is hardly a minor variance.

In rebuttal, Mr. Bozinoff made a comparison of the proposed new dwelling to the adjacent neighbour immediately to his west at 68 Baby Point Road, in which he described the two homes as being essentially the same. This is a misstatement that cannot go unchallenged.

The metrics of the proposes property is 5,941 sq, ft excluding the attached garage (+500 sq.ft.) The Bozinoff property will average 6,500 sq.ft including the attached garage floor space. MPAC data reveal that the area coverage of 68 Baby Point Road is as follows: built 1925, sq.ft. 3033.

In fact, the difference between these two compared properties is ~100% (double). That puts the lie to the statement that they are comparable in size. Additionally, it puts in question the validity of other statements of a similar kind.

The essential issue that remains outstanding is the merits of the Application for a Minor Variance and this will be presented in the subsequent Blog Posting

Sunday, June 12, 2011

C of A Hearing of June 9, 2011 was Deferred

The Scheduled hearing of June 9th, 2011, before the Etobicoke York Panel of the Committee of Adjustment to decide on an Application for a Minor Variance was deferred on the basis of improper procedure and due process.

In addition, Councillor Doucette submitted a letter calling for deferral as a consequence of lack of engagement with the community by the Applicant, Mrs. Cynthia Anne Bozinoff and Agents.

The Deferral is for four(4) weeks to provide the Applicant time to deliver copies of relevant plans and drawings to the members of the Baby Point Community present at the hearing.

The hearing is rescheduled for Thursday July 7, 2011 at 2:00 pm in the York Community Council Chambers , 2700 Eglinton Ave.

The Applicant has applied for a variance to the front setback line in order to move the planned 5,940 sq.ft dwelling forward 2.67 m (~10 ft). This is illustrated in the above diagram that shows the footprint of the demolished previous home in red, and the present front setback line in blue

The new dwelling (blue outline) is 2.3 times larger than the previous home and will occupy 96% of the allowable building lot space.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Baby Point on Structures - Rogers TV

Subject: Baby Point on Structures
Date: Fri, 3 Jun 2011 15:32:28 -0400

Dear Friends of Structures,
Host, Heather Seaman explores Baby Point, an upscale neighbourhood, located on an ancient native trade route. This architecturally elegant suburb was designed to preserve its Aboriginal, French and British history.
Each episode is an adventure through Toronto’s neighbourhoods, streets, landmarks and personalities that have shaped our city’s history and architecture. Structures airs Sundays at 9pm on Rogers TV (cable 10 in Toronto/cable 63 in Scarborough & cable 510 in HD).
Baby Point will be featured on Rogers TV's Structures at the following times.
    • Mon. June 13 - 4:30pm
    • Thu. June 16 - 8:30am
    • Fri. June 17 - 2:30pm

Baby Point will repeat during the weeks of July 10th and August 14th. Please see the schedule on the Rogers TV website up to 2 weeks before for exact dates/times.
Carolyn Sochaniwsky
Rogers TV - Toronto

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Our History begins at Home-Click for BPHF Web Site

Residents step up efforts to turn Baby Point into Heritage Conservation District (HCD)

By Kris Scheuer
February 25, 2011

Neighbourhoods: Bloor West Village

Originally published in our Bloor West print edition.."The Town Crier"

GATEKEEPER: Longtime Baby Point resident Robert Galway is leading the charge to have his west-end neighbourhood be designated a heritage conservation district. The endeavor comes with a price tag — Galway and neighbours are currently trying to obtain funds to hire heritage experts who will study the area.

Robert Galway stands on the street on a chilly but sunny Sunday morning staring at what appears to be a makeshift hockey rink.

Actually, it’s the former location of a stately home in Galway’s Baby Point neighbourhood, a home that up until recently stood next door to the one-time residence of Maple Leafs’ fabled owner Conn Smythe.

Until Nov. 30 when bulldozers drove in, the makeshift “hockey rink” was an Arts and Crafts-style home, built in the 1920s. Months ago, when the owners of 66 Baby Point Rd. applied to the city for a demolition permit, it was granted.

It should not have been, Galway contends.

Once a hobby, protecting these Baby Point homes has now become a mission for Galway, a longtime resident of the area.

Concerned his neighbourhood could be vulnerable to developers, Galway is attempting to make Baby Point a heritage conservation district.

He is among a core group of residents in the west-end neighbourhood trying to raise $25,000 to $50,000 to hire heritage research experts for a study of the area to see if it is worthy of heritage protection.

Since all of Baby Point, an enclave near the Humber River, consists of about 170 homes, the financial burden is too much for the property owners to bear alone, Galway says.

“We are ready to go with the guidelines but the process is contingent on getting at least 50 percent of the funding (for the study),” said Galway Feb. 15.

Galway estimates it will cost at least $24,500 to complete a study for phase one and two documenting about 130 properties west of Humbercrest Boulevard and including most of Baby Point Road, Baby Point Crescent and L’Estrange Place.

Found all around Toronto, heritage districts protect and enhance the character of properties in a designated area. The character is established by overall heritage quality of buildings, streets and public spaces.

With the designation, alterations and changes to a home or commercial property are subject to a different set of rules and guidelines. (ed note: - established by the neighbourhood)



The home at 66 Baby Point Road was torn down in spite of protests from residents. The lot is now vacant.

The demolition of 66 Baby Point Rd. was a real wake-up call for the 150 residents who opposed the tear-down, said Galway who helped form Baby Point Heritage Foundation last August.

Galway has started taking photos of all the homes in the area and compiling details on when the houses were built, by whom and who lived there.

And he’s gathering data on the rich history of the community originally an Iroquois Seneca Village known as Taiaiacon.

The land lay vacant until about 1816 when James Baby settled here. Baby was a member of the powerful upper elite Family Compact — a group of individuals who had huge political influence in the 19th century.

Baby Point really started to form after Baby sold the lands in 1910 to the government for a military fortress and army barracks that never materialized, Galway explains.

The government in turn sold the land to local developer Robert Home Smith, who started the new subdivision around 1910-1911.

Galway is convinced if the area becomes a heritage conservation district, down the road property values will be protected or even rise.

He cites a report by Robert Shipley for the University of Waterloo that shows that in HCD areas like Rosedale and Wychwood that property values have increased over time at a better rate than communities without heritage districts.

“Property values are protected or rise at better rates than other areas,” he said.

Local councillor Sarah Doucette is hopeful some substantial money may be available through council’s community benefits from local developments.

“There’s a possibility of Section 37 money coming to Baby Point heritage conservation district (study),” said Doucette.

“And moving forward, I’d be interested in allocating more Section 37 money to other (potential) heritage designated areas.”