ossington avenue high street development review released!

ohsdrThe OCA is very proud to announce the release of the Ossington Avenue High Street Development Review — click the image, or click here, to read it. The OAHSDR was released to the members of Community Council yesterday, and the OCA is now making it available to the general public.

The OAHSDR was prepared by Arris Strategy Studio for the OCA. The principal author of the OAHSDR is Terry Mills, BArch, Registered Professional Planner. One of Terry’s many accomplishments is establishing and running The Midtown Plan, a framework tying together the many different players with a hand in the complexity of Yonge–Eglinton. Suffice to say that Terry is a bigshot renowned for seeing the patterns in chaos.

The OAHSDR makes a great read for its sensitive description of the character of the area, especially against a background of extensive historical research. The Review proposes a certain profile for the widely discussed “109OZ” site — basically five storeys with a 28 degree angular plane. My fellow planning geeks will be engrossed for many hours.

Here is the executive summary of the OAHSDR judgements pertaining to “109OZ”:


  • It is a full-on Avenues solution in a non-Avenues context.
  • It is out of scale and character, diminishing the significance of buildings and spaces.
  • It has a character, texture and treatment that conflicts with the existing urban grain.
  • It is unsustainable, and cannot be readily replicated elsewhere on Ossington Avenue.
  • It involves setting precedents, that can only be used as parts in other types of projects.
  • It creates adverse impacts on the adjacent Neighbourhood, not currently experienced.
  • It creates undesirable conditions of overview & overshadowing on the Neighbourhood.
  • It does not pass the tests of fit, respect and improvement:
  1. interlacing into the Ossington Avenue High Street’s existing context
  2. incorporating compatibilities appropriate to future increments of development
  3. contributing to the maturation of Ossington Avenue’s streetscape, and locality
  • It does not incorporate Ossington Avenue’s memories, but rather extinguishes them.

Cover letter below the jump:

I was retained by the Ossington Community Association to undertake this assessment of whether the proposed development at 109-111 Ossington Avenue should be approved.

The conclusion is that it should not.

The existing Official Plan and Zoning provisions for the site is for Mixed Use development with a maximum height of 14 meters, whereas the proposal is for 21.5 meters.

The proposal might fit within Mid-Rise Guidelines for an Avenue, but Ossington is not an Avenue within the meaning of the Official Plan.

It is Mixed Use associated with a neighbourhood. The rationale offered is tantamount to saying all Mixed Use

properties can and should be evaluated as Mid-Rise projects. This is not ‘good planning’.

Furthermore, for the reasons elucidated in this report…
good planning for this site, on this street, should not permit
a building so out of scale with the neighbourhood. It may be that the difference in height that is in issue is not large by downtown standards, but the damages to the neighbourhood will be significant.

There is an Area Specific Official Plan Policy in process for Ossington Avenue. It proposes to treat this delightful low rise stretch as a High Street and to protect the low rise and low density character of the street.

While that study and report is not yet complete there is no reason to exempt 109-111 Ossington Avenue from the same planning considerations and agree to higher height and density where the Official Plan and Zoning would not permit it.

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