CCKT Deputation to King Council on 6 Storey Condo on Keele St

Feb 28, 2022

To:  Mayor Pellegrini and Members of King Township Council.

Re:  GMS PL 202207  12765, 12781, 12789 Keele Street, 17 Elizabeth Grove, King City, ON

Thank you to both the Township Council and Planning Staff for providing this opportunity to receive an update on the proposed apartment building in this application and to receive additional public comment.

Concerned Citizens of King Township (CCKT) recognizes the importance of building “complete communities” with a variety of forms of housing, job opportunities and community amenities.  With this in mind, CCKT supports “reasonable” intensification which respects the King Official Plan and the King City Community Plan and integrates well with the existing neighbourhoods and the historic Keele Street streetscape.

A key question is, “What is wise and reasonable intensification in this area, and which represents good planning?

What we do understand is that this project is located within the Transit Station Area where we can anticipation a measure of intensification.  We know a six storey structure is proposed containing 159 apartment units.  The building will stretch uninterrupted for 120 m along Keele Street.  The building will be five storeys at the north end and six storeys plus a mechanical enclosure creating a seventh storey at the south end with a total height of over 26 metres or 85 feet.

The density of this project on this site is 326 units/ha.  This contrasts with the density of the existing Clearview Heights subdivision which is 5 units/ha including the roads and without the roads is about 7 units/ha.  The proposed apartment building is almost 50X the density.  That is 50X the density with virtually no transition between the existing low density neighbourhood and the six-storey building other than some modest terracing at the 3rd and 5th levels and a narrow strip of land for outdoor amenity space and the driveway on the east side of the lot. 

Three Questions

  1. Does this proposal of six+ storeys (including the mechanical rooftop structure with a density of 325 units/ha immediately adjacent to the existing Clearview Heights neighbourhood integrate well with the existing residential area and does it represent good planning?  King’s Planning Department can very likely best answer this question?
  2. Does the current six-storey apartment building with 159 units reflect the unique, historic character of the core area of King City?
  3. Does the proposal respect and follow the vision and policies of the new King Official Plan and the King City Community Plan (OPA 540)?

King Official Plan, Our King

5.1 VISION FOR THE VILLAGES

“Within this Plan’s 2031 planning horizon, these three Villages will accommodate the majority of King’s projected population and employment growth in a manner that protects and enhances their unique identities and existing neighbourhoods, and ensures that they remain distinct from the Township’s neighbouring, more urban municipalities.”

Within the Vision for the villages are descriptive phrases: 

“They will be characterized by a small-town feel.”

“while maintaining the small-town character.”

“Ensuring that proposed infill development is compatible with the building and development patterns of the Villages including lot size, built form.”

“That increases in density in new development areas will be encouraged to maximize the use of infrastructure and minimize the amount of land required for new development, provided the character of each of the Villages is respected.

Effective community design results in the building of compatible and desirable places and contributes to the economic vitality and health of a community.  It requires collaboration between the private and public sector on the delivery of excellence and innovation in the planning, design and construction of new developments and the surrounding pubic realm within the Township.

5.3.1.  General Design Policies

“10.  To address and achieve a high degree of compatibility and integration between new and existing development through transition in height, setbacks, building orientation and buffering as further detailed in the land use policies.”

Our Thriving Villages.  5.3.3  Building Height, Massing and Treatment

1.    That building height and massing will respond to the overall context of the neighbourhood.
2.    That the height and massing of buildings shall be organized to provide a logical integration and transition from adjoining properties in a manner that minimizes shadow impacts and maximizes privacy.
4.    That the design of buildings will be compatible with adjacent or abutting development, and will enhance streetscapes and parks and open spaces, where appropriate, and exhibit architectural diversity.

5.4.1 OBJECTIVES

“It is the objective of the Village Core designation to:

   2.    Ensure that development complements and supports the historic character of the Village Cores.”

5.11.1 OBJECTIVES (Transit Station Area)

It is the objective of the Transit Station Area designation to:

aaaaaaaaaaaaEnsure that intensification is compatible with adjacent low-rise residential areas and is compatible with the rail line.

5.11.3 POLICIES  for Transit Station Area.  Height.

   6.    That the minimum height for new buildings shall be two functional storeys and the maximum height for new buildings is four storeys.

That greater building heights, not exceeding six storeys, may be permitted provided:

  1. The building is located or tiered in height to minimize visual and shadowing impact on streets and public areas and does not negatively impact the small-scale village character;
  2. The compatibility of the building with respect to adjacent low-rise residential areas and sensitive uses is addressed through the use of setbacks, buffers, angular plane requirements ….. ”

Sustainable Design Features

(From the staff report)  “The overall size and scale of the development should necessitate the incorporation of built-in sustainable design elements and features that can provide a net positive benefit with respect to energy efficiency, water conservation and other practices appropriate for multi-residential projects. The Township’s Official Plan includes Green Building Development policies that are to be applied to development applications.”

“The Applicant has not submitted any materials to determine the sustainable design features being considered for the project.”

Many questions and aspects of the proposal are still not clear – landscape plan, suitable amenity spaces, effective buffers/planting strips to the neighbouring residential lots, clear details on making this a sustainable building design.

(From the staff report)  “The By-law requires a minimum 3.0 metre wide planting strip, when a lot in a Commercial Zone (Core Area) abuts an interior side lot line in a residential zone.  The subject site is adjacent to two residential zoned lots abutting the east lot line.  The required planting strip is not being provided along the south east property line adjacent to 30 Clearview Heights and the Clearview Heights right-of-way. 

In Conclusion.

While CCKT supports a reasonable measure of intensification in the GO Transit Station Area and the Core Area of King City, plus the introduction of a variety of forms of housing, we believe the current proposal does not reflect the vision and policies of the King Official Plan, nor the King City Community Plan.  We believe a better outcome can be achieved.  We strongly recommend that the proponent enter into respectful collaboration with the Township and the public to create a multi-unit residential building which integrates well with the adjacent neighbourhood, reinforces the historic character of Keele Street, and is designed and constructed with a very high degree of sustainability and energy efficiency. 

Thank you for this opportunity for the public to share comments.

Sincerely, J. Bruce Craig, on behalf of Concerned Citizens of King Township