Comment 121660

By RobF (registered) | Posted July 01, 2017 at 14:24:58 in reply to Comment 121640

Hard to say. Greenwin hasn't exactly been forthcoming about its plans. We only got a much clearer picture from their legal counsel's submission to the CoA, which was attached to the City Staff Report. We received that 2 days in advance of the hearing. At some point we were told that 19 of 70 three bedroom units were occupied. Their submission to the CoA pegs the number of 3 bedroom units at 125 (and 4 four bedroom units).

Here is a portion of my submission to the CoA:

The precise nature of the change in unit mix is provided on page 4 of their legal counsel's submission to the Committee of Adjustment included with the staff report. It shows that between the two properties: a reduction of 115 three bedroom apartments and 4 four bedroom units; and an increase of 10 bachelor apartments, 11 two bedroom apartments, and 241 one bedroom apartments.

In my view, the proposal will result in a significant loss of larger apartment units that are suitable for families with children.

The proposal does retain 10 three bedroom units and will result in a modest increase in the total number of 2 bedroom units from 129 to 140, but the loss of 115 three bedroom units far outstrips this and impacts the ability of the Beasley neighbourhood to be a "complete community" with housing for a range of households by income, size, and type.

Also worth considering is whether this is actually intensification.

I put it like this in my submission to the CoA:

The interpretation by City staff appears to be more units, which requires an increase in the permitted unit density, equals intensification.

The applicant's legal counsel, however, makes a different argument in their submission:

"Despite the increase in unit count, the proposal would not materially increase the functional density of the properties" and "the proposal would have little, if any, impact on the intensity of the use on the Properties, as the number of bedrooms, and thus the number of residents occupying the Properties, would remain largely unchanged."

It is my understanding that a major objective of relevant provincial policies such as the Provincial Policy Statement and the Places to Grow: Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe is to increase the number of people and jobs per hectare in already urbanized areas. Increasing the number of units in a given area is an important contributor to increasing residential population densities, but it is not reducible to that.

This is about conversion of existing units and a reorganization of internal space in the buildings. It is hard to speak to the question of demand, because Greenwin has chosen to hold back the existing units ... it has allowed them to sit empty as tenants leave, including a number who have been induced. The latest census data revealed a greater than 500 person drop in population from 2011 to 2016.

In my view the CoA made the right decision and the member who commented that policy direction is needed (to address changes like this to unit mix) was spot on.

Comment edited by RobF on 2017-07-01 14:35:01

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