500 Duplex, known as the Parkview Residences, occupies an entire block on the west side of Duplex Avenue extending south from Roselawn Avenue to Montgomery Avenue. It has significant frontage on both Roselawn and Montgomery. The site is 2.5 acres in size and is currently occupied by a single 34-storey apartment tower. LPRO was involved with the original development in 1971, negotiating a settlement which resulted in the bylaw that governs what can be built on the site. In 2020 the property was listed for sale as an opportunity for redevelopment or additional density.
On July 7, 2021 the City received a zoning bylaw amendment application for 500 Duplex. The application proposes removing the existing townhomes, surface parking area, tennis court and swimming pool to accommodate two additional tall buildings on the site which would be attached to the existing 34-storey apartment building. The proposed buildings would be 16 and 12 storeys floors and nearly triple the number of units on site. In a departure from the usual practice, the Developer appealed the application to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) before City Planning held a community meeting or issued a Planning Report.
On March 21, 2022 a Community Consultation was hosted by the City. The meeting was well-attended by residents but the developer refused to participate. City Planning prepared a report for the April 10th meeting of North York Community Council and the subsequent City Council meeting on May 11th and May 12th. The report recommended that City Council send Legal and Planning staff to oppose the application at OLT. LPRO has several concerns with the proposal, which fails to respect numerous City policies:
- The proposed buildings are too close to the existing tower, which would create a massive, continuous wall along Duplex Avenue.
- The proposed buildings are too bulky.
- Insufficient transition has been provided to adjacent low-rise areas.
- The proposal would remove a large amount of open space in exchange for dedicating 9% of the site to a City Park, which is a shortfall compared to the required 15%.
- Despite infrastructure challenges, the Yonge and Eglinton Area will continue to grow. Although the subject property is a larger site and is capable of accommodating additional housing; however, attaching two buildings of the proposed size to the existing tower is not an appropriate form of intensification.
The application was on the April 18, 2022 Agenda of the North York Community Council (NYCC). Members of the 500 Duplex Community Coalition spoke to the Councillors, and many sent letters to support the City’s opposition. Councillors Colle, Robinson, Filion and Carroll all weighed in strongly against this proposal. It was noted that the City’s carefully planned Midtown in Focus report had envisioned a complete community – not only condos, but also space for parks, offices, social services – as development proposals were dramatically increasing in the Yonge-Eglinton area.
LPRO sees the proposal at 500 Duplex as a significant precedent for the placement of high-rise type development inside neighbourhood streets. As the City Planning report indicates, the development fails to comply with guidelines for height, massing, density, transition to the neighbourhood, park provision, tree conservation, shadows, and wind, among others.
North York Community Council and Toronto City Council have adopted motions directing the City Solicitor, Planning and other City Staff to oppose this application at the OLT.
The building heights as presented in the application exclude a mezzanine level on each building, making the true heights 16 and 12 floors. The taller building, referred to as building A, would be located at the corner of Duplex and Montgomery and the shorter building, referred to as Building B, would be located at the corner of Duplex and Roselawn.
While Building B incorporates several step-backs facing Roselawn, Building A includes relatively few step-backs facing Montgomery Avenue, providing very little transition to houses on the opposite side of the street.
The proposal also includes a small public park on Montgomery Avenue, occupying 9% of the site and measuring 917m2 (9,874 ft2). The Toronto Parkland Bylaw requires an onsite parkland dedication of 15%.
319 rental units will be retained onsite within the existing apartment building. The two additional buildings will have a total of 621 units. The site will accommodate a total of 940 units, an increase of 185% over the 330 units which are currently located on the site. The number of parking spaces would be increased from 310 to 560, with a new driveway on Roselawn Avenue in addition to the existing driveway on Montgomery Avenue.
Issues to be addressed include the size of the parkland dedication, transition to adjacent low-rise areas, separation distances of the new buildings from the existing tower and the bulkiness of the new buildings.