The sad* tale of Mizrahi vs. the Wellington West Community Design Plan has reached the commiseration phase.
Mizrahi, who sought to build a 12-storey tower in a community with a height restriction of nine storeys (well, actually it’s six, but there’s a special exemption for contaminated land increasing it to nine), are now sad/resentful/hurt because they claim they had no idea the community association would oppose their over-sized development. In fact, they were sure the community association would approve it:
In an October 2013 letter to Mizrahi, the community association said development should conform to the community’s newly-minted CDP. They reiterated that view in January, citing a “strong preference” that Mizrahi’s proposal stay within the CDP’s prescribed height limits. But the October letter also said the community association would not oppose the development prior to the application if Mizrahi adhered to a list of requests and concerns.
Mizrahi said he fulfilled those commitments and met with the association to confirm their non-opposition two weeks before planning committee, before submitting a revised application to the city.
“They stood firm on their position that they were not going to oppose, and they stood by their letter,” he said. “Based on those representations, we went ahead and we moved forward.”
The community association president doesn’t agree with this interpretation, and though it is quite possible that there was some honest mis-communication between the two (or duplicitous backstabbing by the nefarious community association), I’m disinclined to believe Mizrahi’s tale.
First, the timeline just doesn’t fit. Mizrahi has made two proposals to the city, both featuring a 12-storey tower and both rejected. They are not clear as to when they sought the community associations approval (and the story does not state when they purchased the land). It sounds like they worked with the community association in October, after their initial rejection. They also state that they have been working on the project for a year…but they claim they would not have bought the land had they known the community association would object to the height.
So how does that work? They get the land a year ago. They get rejected. Then they talk to the community association? And now they claim that it was upon that communication that they decided to buy the land? Either the situation isn’t being reported properly, or Mizrahi is just flailing around. I’ll guess the latter.
Regardless of their understanding of the community association’s position, Mizrahi still decided to push ahead (twice!) with a plan they knew full-well contravened the CDP. They had to have known that they were gambling on council agreeing to violate the CDP. It doesn’t matter what the community association wants; they’re not an authoritative body and they don’t have the power, alone, to override the CDP.
Mizrahi, after threatening to take their ball to the OMB, is now suggesting they will build a CDP-compliant nine-storey mix-use commercial/retail building. This plan puts the lie to their argument that it was not economically feasible to develop anything shorter than 12 storeys on the property.
I’m really not sure why they should have any credibility at all.
*It’s not really sad… it’s really just pathetic.