ADRM

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Jersey City out here giving the middle finger to the ‘missing middle’ capitulation:

View attachment 339150

More of this!

I mean, this post is in a way a good starting point to dig into the substantive issues with the notion that "this proposal does not represent an appropriate transition in scale between taller building and low-density neighbourhood." This is a subjective statement, and presenting it as some sort of objective truth does not pass muster. Suggesting even that there should be any transition between taller and shorter elements is itself a subjective statement. So, statements like "it's simply bad urban design. Putting tall buildings directly next to 2 to 3 storey homes would feel like standing next to a giant" that are seemingly presented as given facts, are of course going to be open to ridicule (and rightly so). Doubling down and defending them by saying, literally, "because reasons"? Yeah, you're going to have a rough ride around here.

Now, does the City have a tendency to bend over backwards to "protect" low density neighbourhoods from development pressures? Of course. Is that tendency in fact enshrined in policy? Yes, and it is of course one element on which many advocates of housing and land use reform focus intensely (again, rightly so).

The rest of the post that launched this mini-discussion isn't really worth engaging with because it's so laced with exaggeration and hyperbole.
 

Northern Light

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Jersey City out here giving the middle finger to the ‘missing middle’ capitulation:

View attachment 339150

More of this!

I happen to like the proposal at this site; (1140 Yonge); but I cannot and would not endorse the above, which I think looks preposterous; and I wouldn't want to have owned that house and then experienced that building going in next door.

****

@daniel_kryz overstated his case and his arguments could use some finessing..........(no offense Daniel); at the same time........ I think the reaction is a bit much.
 

Northern Light

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To further the above, let me state I like the proposal, have no problems with its height on Yonge, and will not cry a river for the folks who live next door.

That said, I think there is sound planning argument for transitioning down to SFH heights in some measure.
Which it should be said this building does, but the neighbours (at least the loud ones) object to both the starting point (tallest point) and the height of the transition point as well.

I happen to firmly disagree (with the objections) on the total height; but am open to the argument on how it transitions down.

Of course any suggestion that 'transitioning' is good is subjective; but so is every other 'like' or 'dislike'. A reasonable suggestion would be what percentage of home owners (or renters) having bought into an area where neighbouring buildings were similar heights and overlooks minimized would object to that changing? I'm not sure if there's been a formal poll on that, but I tend to think the percentage would be high. Which does not mean that said residents should always be accommodated; but it also means it should be possible empathize (not sympathize) and imagine that if you were that owner, you might not like the idea either.

It goes without saying that such a position is selfish, and fails to weight the interests of the broader community against those of a small number of residents.
Which is exactly why we should have a planning department to do just that; and a method of appeal in case Planning arguably has it wrong (which we have, in the form of OLT)

The exact extent of what transition may be appropriate, will always remain a matter of preference, not an absolute truth.

I happen to think this is a nice enough proposal, in an appropriate enough place, that things should bend in favour of this development.

But I don't think we need to bury people who may hold a different view.
 
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evandyk

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My inlaws have a place on Granby/McGill. When they bought it, Church and Carlton had pretty much nothing. Now they're basically surrounded by 40+ storey towers, and I can confirm that it does not in fact feel like standing next to a giant. It feels like living in a big city, in a single family home, walking distance from a subway station.
 

allengeorge

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I happen to like the proposal at this site; (1140 Yonge); but I cannot and would not endorse the above, which I think looks preposterous;
Honestly, I don’t see how it’s preposterous. I think it’s…living in a city as things change around you.

I happen to think that this concept of “transitioning” is given way more weight than it should be, and…the reasons given are incredibly hand-wavy.
 

Northern Light

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Honestly, I don’t see how it’s preposterous. I think it’s…living in a city as things change around you.

I happen to think that this concept of “transitioning” is given way more weight than it should be, and…the reasons given are incredibly hand-wavy.

We're talking about the Jersey City example here, just for clarity.

In that particular case, I can't agree.

Popular opinion is what it is.

People tend not to like being next to this; if they did, there would be no Nimby'ism.
Its not a matter of whether that's right or wrong in some objective sense.

Its a matter of preference. you may like liver and onions w/boiled brussel sprouts, and your not wrong, if you like it.
But you are wrong if you presume others like it and should enjoy eating it.

I'm in favour of intensification, including in yellowbelt areas, never mind main streets.
I don't see this absolute; I simply understand why others feel the way they do.

I also love to cook and can make almost anyone love Brussel Spouts (if you get the baby ones, and oven-roast them with good balsamic vinegar and thinly sliced pancetta, you have a winner).......
But I can't make liver taste good to most people. LOL
 

smably

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Planning justifications for stepbacks/transitions/angular planes are usually oriented around shadows, sky views, and privacy, so I think it's safe to assume that those issues would be the at the root of any objections from adjacent homeowners.

Those are all fair things to consider, but they need to be weighed against the costs. I know that a lot of avenue sites in Toronto are practically undevelopable because of angular plane requirements. Even when developers have been able to work within the constraints, the angular plane adds costs and reduces density. I think there was a front-page article on UT recently where a developer was talking about how the stepbacks complicate structural engineering and mean more custom layouts = more costs = more expensive housing. That's a real problem given the affordability crisis.

So I think it's totally fair to take a step back, no pun intended. Maybe the solution to minimizing shadowing is taller, more slender towers. Maybe we just need to accept that if you are lucky enough to own a single-family home within walking distance of the subway, the tradeoff is that you might have a tower as your neighbour.

I'm saying all this as an owner of a single-family home literally 200 metres from a subway station. Speaking selfishly, sure, it's nice being surrounded by low-rise housing, and sure, I appreciate that my yard gets lots of sun. But again, what are the costs of the status quo? If a tall building were proposed next door, it might not be good for me, personally, but it would definitely be a net benefit for the city at large. I wish that planning policy better balanced the needs of all the future residents against the needs of the ones already fortunate enough to already own property.
 

ookpik

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A reasonable suggestion would be what percentage of home owners (or renters) having bought into an area where neighbouring buildings were similar heights and overlooks minimized would object to that changing? I'm not sure if there's been a formal poll on that, but I tend to think the percentage would be high.
This is not a planning argument

It is a political argument

And just to make my personal opinion clear: I could not care less what neighbours think. It doesn’t matter. If you’re a stone’s throw from the subway and an incredible depth and breadth of other services and amenities, you do not have the right to dictate built form on OTHER PEOPLE’S PRIVATE PROPERTY!!!
 

Northern Light

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This is not a planning argument

It is a political argument

And just to make my personal opinion clear: I could not care less what neighbours think. It doesn’t matter. If you’re a stone’s throw from the subway and an incredible depth and breadth of other services and amenities, you do not have the right to dictate built form on OTHER PEOPLE’S PRIVATE PROPERTY!!!

That argument would allow a steel mill with a coal-powered blast furnace next to your home.

If you feel that way, that's fine, for your house. Others may beg to differ.

PS, the all-caps doesn't add any quality to your post.
 

ookpik

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That argument would allow a steel mill with a coal-powered blast furnace next to your home.

If you feel that way, that's fine, for your house. Others may beg to differ.

PS, the all-caps doesn't add any quality to your post.
You seem to see yourself as the writing style police in this forum. Always chirping how other people express themselves. It is annoying and condescending. Can you please stop doing this?

Also, there is a PLANNING argument for not putting a steel mill next to a house. There are genuine compatibility issues in terms of health and safety, externalities, etc. That is a completely legitimate thing to regulate.

One cannot identify an analogous basis for not allowing towers near houses. In fact the reasonable PLANNING argument is that near massive public transit investment like subway stations, housing density and compact forms of development should be prioritized. In fact the Provincial Policy Statement and Growth Plan both require municipalities to permit and encourage this kind of development near transit.

As another poster put it, the arguments against towers near houses are all quite hand-wavey. They are rooted in feelings, political and personal, preferences, and self-interest. These are not legitimate planning arguments because they are not rooted in fact or equity, nor in reasonableness or purpose.

You may find yourself wondering what a planning argument is. Well, that’s a complex question with no clear answer because it’s a nebulous profession in some ways. But I write this post as a registered professional planner and I would humbly ask you to consider the possibility that trained, experienced, regulated professionals know more than the average joe, just like engineers and accountants and social workers and so on do within their professions.
 

allengeorge

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People tend not to like being next to this; if they did, there would be no Nimby'ism.
Its not a matter of whether that's right or wrong in some objective sense.

Its a matter of preference. you may like liver and onions w/boiled brussel sprouts, and your not wrong, if you like it.
But you are wrong if you presume others like it and should enjoy eating it.
I believe you’re proving my point here: the objection boils down to preference and feelings, which are inherently hand-wavey. There’s also the implicit assumption that because many people have the same preference that it’s ‘right’, or ‘legitimate’ (history is littered with examples where this is simply not true). Finally, it raises questions about how to weigh preferences against each other, and what to do when they clash with societal objectives.

My position is that we’re in the mess we’re in in Toronto because we weigh preferences way, way too highly and it’s time to devalue/delegitimize it.
 

denfromoakvillemilton

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I believe you’re proving my point here: the objection boils down to preference and feelings, which are inherently hand-wavey. There’s also the implicit assumption that because many people have the same preference that it’s ‘right’, or ‘legitimate’ (history is littered with examples where this is simply not true). Finally, it raises questions about how to weigh preferences against each other, and what to do when they clash with societal objectives.

My position is that we’re in the mess we’re in in Toronto because we weigh preferences way, way too highly and it’s time to devalue/delegitimize it.
Agreed. 100 percent.
 

WislaHD

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Those are all fair things to consider, but they need to be weighed against the costs. I know that a lot of avenue sites in Toronto are practically undevelopable because of angular plane requirements. Even when developers have been able to work within the constraints, the angular plane adds costs and reduces density. I think there was a front-page article on UT recently where a developer was talking about how the stepbacks complicate structural engineering and mean more custom layouts = more costs = more expensive housing. That's a real problem given the affordability crisis.
I'm not an engineer/architect (and inviting the floor to those with the topical expertise) but my understanding is that this built form is also incredibly environmentally inefficient. Many corners and exposed surfaces means many potential points of failures and heat escape.

It is a policy that exists mainly to accommodate contemporary planning wisdom and not affordability, simplicity of design and construction economics, structural sustainability, or environmental sustainability.
 

ProjectEnd

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That argument would allow a steel mill with a coal-powered blast furnace next to your home.

If you feel that way, that's fine, for your house. Others may beg to differ.

PS, the all-caps doesn't add any quality to your post.
I'm fine with permitting that. It would never happen in 2021 because the value of the land is far too high for that use, but should we allow it? Sure, why not? Heck, a ton of Hamilton is exactly that:

 

Northern Light

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I'm fine with permitting that. It would never happen in 2021 because the value of the land is far too high for that use, but should we allow it? Sure, why not? Heck, a ton of Hamilton is exactly that:


Scientific evidence indicates far higher rates of cancer and respiratory illness for those living close proximity to heavy industry.



I could link several more.

I think zoning does in fact have a place.
 

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