Developer Dishonesty

I’ve written a few times about the entirely inappropriate proposal for a development on Bank Street at Thornton Avenue. (Just do a search for “the abomination”.) There are a few issues with it: it’s kind of boring; it’s kind of monolithic; but the biggest issue was the height of the proposal.

Bank Street is a “Traditional Main Street” and the city plans say buildings should max out at four storeys, but can go up to six storeys if they provide sufficient setback. (The wording is interesting. The city states that the limit is 4 with an exception; the developer frames it as being six…but with additional exceptions.)

Look, eight storeys is really high for that location. In fact, six storeys is really high. It’d be a big change. Certainly the current status–one storey buildings and parking lots–is completely untenable, and this location is ripe for some intensification, but we can have some pretty good intensification without shooting up to eight storeys. Gentle density is a good way to manage growth without completely bulldozing (metaphorically speaking) communities.

All that said, you can imagine I was quite heartened to see a new sign up with a rendering of a new proposed development that is only six storeys high. Sure, there are still the other issues, but this one’s a biggie, and it was good to see the developers (FoTenn) fall in line.

It was only a few days later I took a closer look at the rendering. Here’s the one that’s on the sign:

screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-11-17-57-pmTake a look at that corner and count up. Six storeys. It’s great…or, at least, not horribly egregious. But wait. Take a closer look at the far end of the building, at the lest hand side of the picture. On that end, the building still goes up to eight storeys (and you can’t even tell that it’s eight, it could be seven; I only know it’s eight because that’s what the planning documents say).

FoTenn has used the really skewed perspective to camouflage the excess height. You may wonder why this is such an issue. Well, if I hadn’t taken a second look, I would have thought the height was in line with the CDP.

If I hadn’t taken a second look, I might have thought that this was an acceptable proposal.

If I hadn’t taken a second look, I might not raise objections to the proposal. I might not have bothered to go to tomorrow’s consultation about it.

If I hadn’t taken a second look, I might have emailed my councillor and the city to commend the developer on adjusting the height of their proposal.

Not everyone is as nerdy about this stuff as I am, but a lot of people care just as much, if not more, than I do. Other people may have been tricked by this new sign.

There’s no other way to say it, FoTenn is being dishonest with this rendering. And the city shouldn’t allow it on the public notice. Those signs go up to increase transparency, not so that a developer can trick the public.

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