Several citizens and the local city councillor voiced their concerns with a development application deemed overly ambitious and not aligned with the city’s official plan at a City of Vaughan Committee of the Whole meeting on Jan. 19.
Chestnut Hill Developments has submitted an official plan and zoning by-law amendment to facilitate the construction of two residential towers of 40 and 20 storeys at 7080 Yonge St., the current site of a car dealership parking lot just north of Steeles Ave. The towers would be connected via a two-storey podium and would include 652 residential units as well as 450 parking spaces spread over four underground levels.
Michael Vani, the planner with Weston Consulting, noted that the city’s Yonge Steeles Corridor Secondary Plan, which was adopted by council in 2010 and is supported by York Region is currently being appealed at the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT), and thus the Thornhill Vaughan Community Plan is the current plan in place. That plan has the site zoned for commercial use, necessitating the official plan amendment.
Jordan Max, president of the Springfarm Ratepayers Association, said the application felt like deja vu, noting it shares several issues that the group had with neighbouring development proposals at 100 and 180 Steeles Ave., which together would see the construction of 10 towers ranging from 16 to 54 storeys.
Max said the application mirrored those other developments with regards to excessive height and density, and that the Yonge Steeles Corridor Secondary Plan approved by council allows heights of a maximum of 30 storeys.
“Apparently, 30 storeys isn’t enough,” said Max. “Either the secondary plan applies in its entirety or it does not apply at all. The developer cannot pick and choose which parts of the plan to use and which to ignore.”
Max urged council to avoid approving the development.
“We urge council to tell Chestnut Hill to come back with a proposal that actually respects and works within the current secondary plan.”
Councillor Alan Shefman said his concerns were virtually the same as the ratepayers associations.
“The density is extraordinary and way too much for that particular piece of property,” said Shefman. “This application is not respectful of the secondary plan.”
Shefman acknowledged that he thinks the secondary plan may need to be updated to reflect the heights and densities currently being considered in the neighbourhood. He added an upcoming meeting of the Vaughan Yonge Centre Working group will focus on building a human scale neighbourhood as opposed to a series of towers that have no connection to each other or the community.
A previous version of this story noted that Vaughan’s Yonge Steeles Corridor Secondary Plan was in use regarding this development, but it is the Thornhill Vaughan Community Plan.