Tuesday, September 28, 2010

New Zoning Bylaw was passed in Toronto!

Note ------ see later blog posts in December for analysis of the double-enforcement of new and old bylaws simultaneously. ---------
Oh Boy,
So much has happenned since the last blog entry.
We finished our structural engineering and we've completed the drawings....at least to get them ready for permit.  However, the zoning bylaw in Toronto has changed to a new one, Bylaw 1156-2010, passed by City Council Aug 27th.  Apparently the idea was to harmonize.  The wonderful thing is that the new bylaw is all online, so its no longer a secret, like it was before - you had to go to the library to get it, and that was only a part of it. 

The big thing for us is that that the building height limitation has changed from 8.8m to the mid-point of the roof to 10m to the peak. - Our building is about 45inches too tall!
This seemed a major problem to to us, and we re-geared our plans and figured we'd go for a zoning adjustment, and then start construction in the spring.
However, we had more contact with the city now as we prepared our plans for the adjsutment application (which the city says will take 3 to 4 months minimum), and today the city called us to discuss our 2nd set of plans (the first was in May or June).  Well, the news is that the new zoning bylaw is being appealed, so the city has to double-review all files-in-process to ensure they comply with BOTH old and new zoning bylaws! - this is Crazy!
We get all the restrictions of the new and old bylaws, and the benefits of one are often degraded or cancelled by the other. - For example:
Comparing old zoning R4 to new zoning R:
  • Height limitations are screwed up - in old, there are two limits based on whether the roof is flat or sloped, being 8.0m and 8.8m (to midpoint of roof) respectively.  Now in the new, the limit is 10mregardless, except 2 opposing principal walls must be less than 7m.  So what if the building is 10m, with a flat section at the top, but meets the wall heights requirement?
  • Old zoning stipulates 2 stories max.  New code doesn't care - so what if the building has 3 stories?
  • Old bylaw does not allow roofs over porches which are exempt from coverage - only canopies.  New bylaw does - so what do you do if you want the roof?
  • Old zoning provides for 0.5m roof overhangs without coverage penalty.  New zoning allows for 0.9m.  What to put into the design?
It seems one way around this is the following:
Apply for a zoning adjustment for every feature that meets one but not the other - perhaps in the process we can get the best of both?

1 comment:

  1. I'm also caught up in this craziness. I think that the 700 or so people who have appealed the passing of the bylaw should come together in some kind of forum such as this to share information. I've started the ball rolling by creating a Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Toronto-Zoning-By-law-1156-2010-OMB-Appellants/122022294527920