Dear Glebe Annex Residents,
Please find enclosed the following letter from the Glebe Community Association Planning Chair regarding the Textbook Suites proposal for 744 Bronson Ave.
President, Glebe Annex Community Association
A further update on this development application for student resident on Bronson Avenue.
On Friday, we met with Fraser Smith of Textbook Suites (developer), Carl Furney of FOTENN (Textbook’s planning consultant) at City Hall. From the City, Steve Gauthier, who is now the planning file lead, as well as Doug James (senior planner) were also in attendance. Bhagwant Sandhu (Pres., DLRA), Jim Lumsden (Planning Lead, DLRA), Matt Meagher (Traffic/Parking Chair, GCA) rounded out our delegation. Thanks to all for their time.
I think we had a very open, frank and constructive discussion of the three key issues. I will try to briefly summarise progress/status wrt each in turn:
1) Pedestrian entrance off Cambridge: Textbook has agreed to make this a fire exit only, thus removing this as an issue.
2) Building height/massing – specifically, the 12 storey height in proximity to Cambridge St, as well as “slab-like massing effect” of the building when viewed from the south given the 12 storeys now being carried farther west than earlier renditions, and farther west than Samcon 12 storey building. There was considerable discussion re: the need to try and limit the 12 storey height to roughly the mid property line (ie. mid point from east to west), which is essentially what Samcon had received approval for earlier (recall that Samcon proposed a 12 storey building facing Bronson, and a 6 storey building facing Cambridge). The building height in proximity to Cambridge should respect the character of the residential streetscape, and roughly the height/massing previously approved for Samcon. In addition, the massing needs to be broken up vis a vis views from the south so that it does not resemble a “monolithic slab” that fills the entire property east to west. We had already received support from Councillor Chernushenko the previous week for these issues. It is clear that city planning staff are also supportive. The result being that Textbook has been asked to revise the building plans to address these concerns. So I am optimistic that we will make progress on this issue.
3) Parking….still the most contentious issue. Lots of debate and a full airing of the issues about what is the right balance of parking, given the building is intended for students, but no guarantee of course that it will only be students. Textbook’s proposal for 31 spaces/minimal parking puts all of the risk related to greater than forecast student parking demand, rental to non-students, etc. on the community. We conveyed to Textbook that following last week’s meeting, we have the support of our city Councillor in our contention that 31 spaces is simply too few. Planning staff seem sympathetic and again, I don’t see how city staff could support the proposal for 31 spaces in light of the city having just inked draft recommendations for revised minimum parking requirements that would indicate 110 spaces – the gap is simply too large. Textbook has undertaken to review this issue. At a minimum, I am a reasonably optimistic that a compromise proposal will be forthcoming.
Next steps are that the official/required comment period closes tomorrow, but comments will continue to be accepted and reviewed by planning staff. City staff will prepare their consolidated comments and provide to Textbook (I will ask for a copy of these so we have a clear view of the city’s position).
Textbook has indicated that they will come back to us with updated proposals.
All for now,
Chair, Planning Committee
Glebe Community Association
Cell: 613 853 9005