Garden District and Sherbourne Street Development Plan

Our neighbouring residents' association and the area Councillor, Kristyn Wong-Tam, have initiated a  Development Study for the area immediately east of our area.  The study will review the current zoning and the state of development in the area from Queen to Carlton, Jarvis to Sherbourne.  Here is a link to the study document.

http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2011/te/bgrd/backgroundfile-42006.pdf 

Our area councillor, Pam McConnell, had initially requested that the study take in the eastern stretch of Sherbourne street to include up to the laneways between Seaton and Sherbourne Street.  The planning department has since increased the boundries to include our entire area as well as the Moss Park Apartment Block south of us.  For information on the study check out this link.

http://www.toronto.ca/planning/downtown-east-study.htm

  We have asked that our community residents be made aware of and included in any meetings regarding the study.  There are many similarities in both areas in regard to the concentration of social services, housing and hostels and the impact of these services on area propety owners and businesses.  We will keep neighbours abreast of any developments and meetings regarding the study as we learn of them. 

Here is a brief sample of what was discussed and the City's conclusion on how the study should proceed.

Community Consultation

An initial Community Consultation Meeting was held on October 19, 2011.  Approximately 80 residents attended the meeting and represented a diverse mix of people including residents, home owners and business owners. The Community Consultation meeting was scheduled as a "kick-off" meeting and asked residents, home owners and property owners to evaluate areas they liked, thought could be improved and the initial goals of the study.
The Community expressed concern about the state of George Street and the concentration of social services in the area. It was felt that with Seaton House in the area as well as many other TCHC facilities and rooming houses, the concentration of these types of services was too great in one area.
There was also concern about the preservation of the heritage fabric which proved to be timely with a fire at 295 George Street occurring that evening.
Other stakeholders expressed concern about the lack of affordable housing options and programming for the clients at Seaton House.
There were also comments from some of the providers of shelter, support and housing encouraging the neighbourhood to come out and meet their clients who are also residents and neighbours.
One concern echoed by many residents was the state of retail in the Study Area. There was a desire by the Community to involve Economic Development in the revitalization of the commercial strip especially along Dundas Street East and investigate the role a BIA could play in the area since one does exist.
The Community indicated that there could be some support for sensitive redevelopment as long as the Heritage fabric was respected and protected.
Overall there was broad support for the study and its goals, but a general feeling of impatience with a desire to move the study along as quickly as possible.

Conclusion

City Planning Staff have completed their initial review of the study as directed by City Council on July 6, 2010.

After a review of the initial study area, city planning staff believe that the area should be expanded to include the area bounded by Carlton Street, Sherbourne Street, Queen Street East and Jarvis Street. Base mapping of the study area land uses, community services and heritage inventory has been completed as well as a statistical and demographic analysis.

City planning staff have also consulted with the local Councillor to determine a Terms of Reference and next steps for the study.

City planning staff are recommending that a Heritage Conservation District Study be completed to analyze the existing built form, Official Plan Policies and Zoning, and that as part of that study, staff analyze potential economic development and social development strategies as well. Outcomes of the study could include a potential Heritage Conservation District, redevelopment and infill strategies, economic and social development strategies.

 http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2011/te/bgrd/backgroundfile-42006.pdf  

Community Action Plan 

rough draft

MPP Glen Murray and Councillor Kristyn Wong Tam have hosted two Community Action Plan Forums for the Garden District area. Neighbourhood Feedback listed both positive and negative neighbourhood assets.

In the positive, Location and Community, Parks and Greenspace,  Commerce, Culture and Tourism citing the proximity of Theaters, Music Venues and Hotels nearby.  There was also pride in the number of Heritage Properties in the area and Allan Gardens and the Palm House were cited as great assets to the area.

Challenges included public transportation, crime and safety such as drug use and dealing, public drinking, vandalism and grafitti. Problems with the look and feel of the streetscape, the high density of shelters and social services in the area.  Concerns were voiced around problems with housing and high rise condo development encroaching on the residential neighbouhood compromising the historical character and low rise built form of the area.

From this input the folowing list of priorities were established.

1. Foster more positive-community interaction in the public realm

2. Diversify transit infrastructure.

3. Strengthen community partnerships with local organizations.

5. Examine opportunities for community revitalization and beautification.     

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