Going Back to Six? Mizrahi Developments, Design Plans and Environmental Clean UP

Here’s an update from Kitchissipi Ward candidate Jeff Leiper on the matter of Mizrahi Developments seeking a zoning exemption to allow them to build a 12-storey tower on “brownfield” land in Wellington West:

On May 6, Councillor Katherine Hobbs will bring to the City’s finance committee her motion to pay 100% of the cleanup costs for Toronto developer Mizrahi’s proposed Island Park/Richmond building (report attached below). The developer already has the Councillor’s enthusiastic support to exceed the height limit on the property that was recently established in the West Wellington Community Design Plan. Now, she’s asking Ottawa taxpayers to sweeten the pot for no particularly good reason.

Looking past the (perhaps valid) electioneering, Mr. Leiper highlights a potentially distrubing development. The properties upon which Mizrahi is looking to build are contaminated. Under the current brownfields policy, the city will pay 50% of cost of the clean up (and Mizrahi will get an exemption to exceed the Community Design Plan limit of six storeys, allowing them to build up to nine storeys).

Mr. Leiper notes that Ms. Hobbes’s motion does not stipulate that Mizrahi will have to adhere to the CDP. This would appear to be a giant give-away; the city would pay for all the clean up, and Mizrahi would build an undesirably tall building (according to the CDP).

Thankfully, when asked, Ms. Hobbes clarified:

This doesn’t make it a good idea–and it’s not a good precedent to set, changing zoning laws during the application process–but it might turn out to be a reasonable compromise.

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3 thoughts on “Going Back to Six? Mizrahi Developments, Design Plans and Environmental Clean UP

  1. Sadly, Coun Hobbs’ motions did not stipulate that the city’s paying for 100% of the cleanup costs be contingent on the developer building within the community design plan height limit. Her FInance and Exonomic Development Committee motion says nothing about the CDP, and her Planning Committee motion said only in the “whereas” section (not the binding part) that the CDP is desirable. She says it’s tied to the CDP, but her motions do not.

  2. Yes, you’re right. I didn’t phrase that the way I meant to. In her responses (via Twitter), she said that it was her intent to make it contingent and that she was going to have the wording fixed to accurately reflect that. We will have to wait and see if that is the case.

    And, of course, there’s still the question of whether the motion (if tied to the CDP adherence) is a good idea. I’m still not sure. I tend to think that the cost of clean up (except, perhaps, in catastrophic cases) should be reflected in the price of the land, so that the seller (who presumably contaminated the land) would absorb most of the cost (via a lower sale price).

    Thanks for commenting!

  3. Pingback: Support for Mizrahi Development? | Steps from the Canal

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