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Site plan for Norman Street condominium filed Reduction in height from earlier vision fails to stem community opposition Steph Willems

Community - A controversial condo proposal in Little Italy is back on city books, but in a different form from before. When Tamarack Homes’ first proposed an 18-storey, 159-unit condo for the end of Norman Street (abutting the O-Train tracks) in November 2012, it sparked opposition from the community. The dead-end street is currently lined by low-rise buildings, a theme that carries over onto neighbouring streets, while access is only gained from a crowded Preston Street. While taller building heights are proposed for select sections of the Carling-Preston community design plan study area, those heights would be located closer to Carling. The process to create that plan, which is expected to be completed early this year, saw residents tout the importance of retaining the low-rise character of residential streets off of Preston. The new plan for Norman Street doesn’t fit the low-rise category, but does come in at half the height previously proposed. The site plan submitted to the city on Dec. 16 describes a nine-storey building that drops to five, then three storeys in height as it approaches Preston. A total of 117 units are contained within the residential building, along with 94 underground parking spaces for residents and 10 visitor spots. The site plan control compliments a revised zoning bylaw amendment and Official Plan amendment. Dalhousie Community Association president Michael Powell said the proposal still doesn’t lend itself to the character and capacity of Norman Street. “Going back to when we started this CDP process, the big thing was preserving the low-rise character of Little Italy,” said Powell. “Side streets in the area are barely a car width wide, and the thought of having nine storeys at the end of a road that’s only eight houses deep is concerning.” The original 18-storey proposal was presented as a transition from the multiple 30-plus storey proposals slated for Carling. That rationale


Tamarack’s plan for this stretch of Norman Street has dropped from 18 to nine storeys, but the local community association claims it is still in excess of the street’s capacity. didn’t fly for residents in the area, as Norman Street isn’t adjacent to the Dow Honda site or neighbouring parcels pegged for high density development. Those sites are all south of Adeline Street, while Norman lies two blocks north of that boundary, surrounded by tightly-packed standalone homes and small businesses. Powell said that the removal of the mews concept in the CDP – essentially a road connecting the dead end streets between Preston and the O-Train line – means that the original staff report’s recommendation of four storeys as a limit in the area holds more weight. The mews concept would have allowed higher densities in that location due to the improved vehicle capacity and access. “There’s already so much density going into the neighbourhood,” said Powell. “Even if four storeys were placed straight across the block, it would be a substantial increase in density.” Between the existing housing stock and proposed condos, Powell

said the community wants to ensure there is a range of housing styles for prospective residents. On behalf of the association, Powell has sent a letter outlining his thoughts to the city planner attached

In the letter, Powell stated the proposal exceeds the CDP’s strategic direction, and is placed in “an unsuitable location for (a) mid-rise.” He went on to say that the top-floor penthouse should be counted as an extra

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