The Villager March 9th article - Demolition of 66 Baby Point Rd Approved

Bloor West Villager - Tue Mar 9 2010
Baby Point 'McMansion' gets green light


Etobicoke York Community Council voted Tuesday to allow a Baby Point Road homeowner to move forward with his plans to demolish an existing 1920s period house with a new three-storey detached dwelling, albeit with conditions.

Parkdale-High Park Councillor Bill Saundercook moved a motion that the owner, Lorne Bozinoff, work with surrounding community members,city staff and himself, to further discuss the issues that were raised at community council, March 9. The local councillor also moved that community council adopt the city planning department's recommendations from the Feb. 19 staff report, which includes a request that city council delegate back to the chief planner the authority to issue final Site Plan Approval.

Tea Peters, a 48-year resident of 76 Baby Point Rd.spoke in support of the proposed development, calling the street a unique enclave in Toronto surrounded by a ravine and known for its abundance of Oak trees. The houses in the neighbourhood, she said, are more than 70 years old and the new homes that have been built blend in with the existing neighbourhood.

"Sixty-six Baby Point Rd., in my opinion, will blend in with the existing neighbourhood," said Peters. "The new house will restore this property to its original splendor. The planned house will be a real jewel, it will enhance the area. It will be the only eco-friendly house in Baby Point."

Following her five-minute deputation, Saundercook asked Peters what the square footage is of her house and if she thought the proposed dwelling is in keeping with the size of the neighbourhood. Despite her house being 3,000 square feet - almost half the size of the new-build, Peters replied, "yes."

Other neighbours, however, do not share her thoughts.

David Bronskill, of the firm Goodmans, spoke on behalf of a collection of Baby Point residents."They're here today to express their extreme opposition to this site plan application," said Bronskill.

A community consultation meeting was held at Saundercook's constituency office in the Junction, Jan. 7 of this year, at which as many as 15 area residents expressed their disdain for the size of the proposed dwelling. It's too large, too deep and is being set too far back from the street in relation to other existing homes that are closer, they said. They took issue with the proposed in-ground swimming pool that would be built inside the 10-metre buffer area from the top bank of the ravine. They were disappointed with the lack of public consultation as well.

"He is not looking to build within the existing footprint. It's a doubling of the footprint. The applicant is proposing 6,500 square feet," said Bronskill. "He's taking a small building site and jamming a large house onto it."

However, the residents were not there to stop the proposal, clarified Bronskill. "They're here to say there are problems with the site plan," he said.

In his deputation, Bozinoff took issue with the allegations that he did not consult with the community. In April of last year, he said he or his architect sent letters outlining their plans to the households between 56 and 76 Baby Point Rd. "I or my wife spoke to a number of neighbours in person or by phone," said Bozinoff, citing no. 60, 64,68, 70 and 76 Baby Point Rd. "To say there's not been any consultation is incorrect. The second round was at the councillor's office."

The proposed house is smaller than originally planned, he also pointed out, at around 5,900 square feet.

Robert Galway, who has lived at 62 Baby Point since 1972 with his wife, said the neighbourhood is the oldest continuously inhabited area of the GTA.

"To me, the demolition of a period home with an Arts and Craft style architecture from the 1920s is a problem. The proposed house does not fit into the character of the street. I'm opposed to the demolition and erection of a McMansion," he said.

Councillor Peter Milczyn wanted to know how the height of the proposed house compares to the houses on either side of 66 Baby Point Rd. Councillor Frank Di Giorgio said it seemed to be "overbearing", compared to others in the area. "Could you alter the roof's pitch?" he asked.

Bozinoff couldn't say exactly how much higher it would be, but judging by the artist's rendering, "it's high, but not that much higher," he said. "It's in the three-foot range."

At present, according to Senior Planner Philip Carvalino, the size of the proposed dwelling complies with the zoning bylaw. A permit for the proposed development has been issued by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority.

"We've negotiated a $14,000 ravine stewardship plan," assured Bozinoff.

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