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I was trying for a while to word it in a way to not imply the bigotry angle (because it's not personal, and it'd be uncalled for to stoop there without reason), but no matter how it's phrased it'll come off that way. Sorry if it felt that im painting my frustrations on your ideas/points, because some of my frustration definitely stems from that.

I think we agree that the government should've from the beginning made sure there were strategies in place to make the higher targets work, but i'm not sure we agree on the how of solving it now that we're at this point which is why I didn't want to talk further on that point, because I worry about falling through the cracks with a sudden shift in stance.

I've been recently having some dealings with the immigration system that have just made me angry about the way people were being treated, so that's been heavy in my mind now for a while. It needs fixing for sure (@Northern Light makes a good point bringing up those being taken advantage of such as students), but the conservative party in its current form would likely cause the exact problems I'm worried about through over restriction.

I understand your position isn't one that's of Ill intent though, and you're right about looking on both sides of the scale at second read (that kindof helped the understanding for me a bit), which makes my statement false as well. I'd maybe prefer saying it's a supply and demand issue, as I worry that branding it a demand only issue would lead to less supply as most people wouldn't read beyond that. (Same could be said about labelling it a supply issue, as you took issue with at the start.)

I also somewhat misunderstood you're initial post, because I've seen you post "it's not a supply issue" a few times and genuinely was concerned you weren't aware of the metrics and scale of the issue, but you clearly do so that's on me. I see a lot of people's posts out of context so it can get quite confusing.

You may see that I can sometimes be someone who is unrealistically optimistic, but its rather draining with the way the world is currently for most people, because I'd love to live in a world where housing wasn't such an issue.
 
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I agree completely. We've done something truly ridiculous with housing. Both from a typical left wing perspective (compassion) and conservative (economic opportunity), we've royally cocked things up.
 
The Amroth Missing Middle Report was adopted (at Committee) with (friendly) amendments from Cllr. Bradford:

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I’m going to guess that if any amendments are made to Toronto’s MTSAs - and I’m increasingly skeptical that there will be significant ones - it’ll drop on Friday at 4:30PM. This government is good at taking that route to minimize blowback from the news cycle.
 
CMHC has released highlights of a recent study that links approval delays with greater unaffordability.


Various highlights:

Higher residential land use regulation seems to be associated with lower housing affordability

The time it takes to approve new projects (the "Approval Delay Index") is the most important survey factor explaining differences in housing affordability across regions.

The Greater Toronto and Greater Vancouver Areas have the longest approval times in Canada, which are almost 4 times as long as regions with more affordable housing.
Our analysis shows that the “Developers Restriction Index” is also a key factor for understanding differences in housing affordability — this includes survey questions on fees, environmental assessments and mandated criteria. Interestingly, the “Density Restriction Index” has the weakest association with affordability differences in Canadian municipalities.
 
CMHC has released highlights of a recent study that links approval delays with greater unaffordability.


Various highlights:

CMHC is is the single largest reason for delayed affordable housing in Toronto as multiple Housing Now projects have sat in a pile for 1-2 years awaiting financing from same.

This is a distraction from their own neglect of the file. More $$$ put towards the problem would be nice.
 
Big yes, good? TBD

I went for one of my big walks yesterday, the evidence of which will be posted in due course.

I started out at Bloor/Dundas West and walked back to downtown, ending at College/University.

I have to say, the subway was crowded the whole way, including the first 1/2 where I was travelling counter-peak; and this, on a Friday, (the slow office day) and w/schools all out for the year.

Run more trains you say? Agreed; but Dundas West Station was a zoo with the existing number of trains. Whose paying for its complete reconstruction? It needs its mezzanine doubled in size today.

Equally, walking down College, I found the sidewalks really narrow at times, west of Manning, its streetcar tracks and 2 curb lanes w/parking. but cycle tracks will be entering the mix in 3 years or so.

There is little room to widen those sidewalks.

I'm really concerned that we're approving density without a holding by-law tied to infrastructure catch-up.

That where we're approving density has less to do with what's sensible than what developers have the current government's ear.

Its not that I oppose more density in neighbourhoods, its that I want politicians to stop over-riding the decisions of professionals without understanding their basis, and without putting the requisite funds in for the needed infrastructure FIRST.

The City is building a giant diversion tunnel for storm water in the Lower Don.......it was not sized to handle triple density. It can't be changed now, its a bored tunnel

Policy should not be made on the fly or the whim; but thoughtfully.

Its not just hard infrastructure, its hospital beds and doctors.........we're short now. Need hip surgery? Cancer Treatment? My sincere best wishes, but you may be waiting, in pain and worry far too long. Need the ER? Likewise. The answer to which is not more people.

I would, in fact, argue for banning condos entirely in order to compel construction of purpose-based rental; then likewise downzone all whitebelt lands to agriculture/open-space.

Growth for its own sake is literally killing people now, hundreds or more each year (homelessness, poverty, dying on waiting lists for medical care)

More density doesn't really fix that if we keep building investor-owned small boxes on a for-profit business model; and fail to provide the necessary supports for healthy living.
I think these are very important points that are being missed in the sometimes zealous call for more housing at any cost; overwhelming our existing infrastructure is a real concern. I often see rhetoric thrown around in some threads along the lines of "it's crazy we have SFH near a subway station". The thing is, Toronto hasn't built a new subway line in decades and excluding the barely-a-proper-line Sheppard it's been 50 years! This typology and density was already supported by that infrastructure which is clearly at risk of being overburdened.

I totally agree and have tried to articulate it before in some threads, market rate condos will do nothing to solve the housing challenges the city faces. More units being built increases supply, drives down prices? Only so much; condo developers aren't going to build when returns drop below an acceptable threshold.

A real solution would be the CMHC doing what it did in its inception: the Victory Housing project built over 1 million homes in the country, affordably priced and accessible. We need a truly large scale solution like that; not more condos. Purpose built rental as you've suggested, make it reasonably scaled (low to midrise, intensifying low density neighbourhoods). Now I'm not really an expert on housing and these are my armchair observations, but in Toronto it seems we're building quite literally as fast as possible yet there's been no dent on affordability and city resources seem strained more than ever. Transit is especially worrying; it's been what, 12 years and counting for Eglinton, and we can't even bring a new LRT online.
 
I totally agree and have tried to articulate it before in some threads, market rate condos will do nothing to solve the housing challenges the city faces. More units being built increases supply, drives down prices? Only so much; condo developers aren't going to build when returns drop below an acceptable threshold.
The nuance of this fact usually isn't brought to the conversation. Condos are built in areas where demand outstrips supply. It isn't the condo that is bad. Typically an area that has this type of demand will not see enough supply created as a profit is required. As stated, a 'Victory Housing 2' would be needed to bring true affordability.
 
Sorry for being offtopic. I was looking to get an answer to a zoning related question, and was wondering what thread or forum should I be posting that in? I couldn't find a dedicated thread or forum to ask such question. Would appreciate it if someone can direct me to the relevant thread/section for the same.
 
A good recap on the insanity and pseudoscience (and arguably negligent engineering practice) of parking minimums.

It's encouraging that many large cities in Canada have already phased out parking minimums, but much of the new parking development in the GTA is occurring on the urban fringe in cities that still have parking minimums.

 
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Not sure if this is the best thread for this question, but here goes.

What is the logic for max floor plate size for residential towers (750 m2 in area)? I understand the shadow impacts of larger floorplates, but we allow commercial office towers to have larger floorplates. It seems to me that relaxing the max floorplate rules somewhat could go some way to allowing the 10 or so units per floor to be a bit larger, more livable, and perhaps more affordable (on a per sqft basis).

@Northern Light , I would assume you'd have insight into this but perhaps others do as well.

 
Not sure if this is the best thread for this question, but here goes.

What is the logic for max floor plate size for residential towers (750 m2 in area)? I understand the shadow impacts of larger floorplates, but we allow commercial office towers to have larger floorplates. It seems to me that relaxing the max floorplate rules somewhat could go some way to allowing the 10 or so units per floor to be a bit larger, more livable, and perhaps more affordable (on a per sqft basis).

@Northern Light , I would assume you'd have insight into this but perhaps others do as well.


The detailed rationale is on p.50 of the document to which you are linking.

It is first/foremost about shadows and skyview; but there are other reasons given:

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The floor plate size, one should remember is not so limiting on podiums or midrise forms; but for towers/tall buildings.

What they are specifically seeking to avoid was the proverbial commie-block, or rectangular-slab tower that many of Toronto's 60's and 70s apartment buildings are built like.
Those tend to create extended periods of shadow, (hours on end if positioned with their width against the southern sun). That disavowed layout did have its advantages though.

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The guide lines do note room for exceptions, and there are exceptions that have been made (more lately). If you can address those shadow concerns in a few different ways, there's less reason not to do a larger floor plate.
Above you see stepbacks and separation distances mentioned. But there are other things one can do or situations one can encounter that justify reconsideration.
For instance, what is being shadowed? Homes/apartments/parks not so good; but factories/railways corridors/highways, maybe not bad at all, maybe even beneficial in many ways.

Also, orientation matters, if the long rectilinear form runs north-south (so its a slim profile in relation to the primary direction from which sunlight is received, it is and should be considered, less of an issue.
Blocking all eastern/western light is less consequential than blocking all southern light.

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There are other arguments for a more compact floor plate; there is 'elegance' (made above). i wouldn't get stuck on that one, but we do know how people here feel about Time and Space as a sort of fortress that doesn't play nice w/the neighbours, again that's the sorta thing they wanted to avoid.

There are arguments around energy efficiency, though they more impacted by cladding/glazing and a host of other things really.

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I think the guideline has never been as absolute as people have made it out to be; its just that there's always been an onus on the proponent to show why they should have a larger floor plate, and most don't see it as that useful to them to have the argument.

At the same time, due to OLT, planning is a bit obsessive about precedent, it wants compelling reasons for allowing exceptions; I do think that's understandable, if a bit rigid.

That said, the interpretation of the guideline is being loosened a bit.

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The office tower exception comes out of :

a) The sheer value of office towers to the City and the utility of larger floor plates in them.

b) The assumption that offices are clustered mostly in like areas, with minimal residential and their impact on the latter is negligible (which used to be true)

c) The financial district in particular, and downtown more broadly are already compromised on skyview/shadow so what's one more tower.

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There is some potential savings in per ft2 build costs with greater flexibility. However, its not a panacea, and in the current market, I would count on a developer banking those savings as profit, not lowering prices/rents.
 
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What they specifically seeking to avoid was the proverbial commie-block, or rectangular-slab tower that many of Toronto's 60's and 70s apartment buildings are built like.
I agree that 'commie blocks' are not appealing. I was thinking more a modest relaxation of the 750 m floorplate. It seems like policies looking for larger family sized units are somewhat at odds with this floorplate guideline. Given a typical 10 units per floor on a centrally loaded tower, after taking out space for the core and hallways there is perhaps 600m2/6000 sqft for 10 units, or an average of 600 sqft. Allow the floorplate to expand a bit while keeping the core and central access hallways and number of units constant, it would provide for a significant increase in average unit size, as well as more exterior wall per unit. Going from 750m2 floorplate to 1000m2, perhaps while capping units per floor, would enable average unit sizes to increase from 600 ft2 to 850 ft2, 31% more space and ~16% more exterior wall per unit. I agree that it would be desirable to keep floorplates from getting too large lest we get more bowling alley unit layouts. I suspect this might be playing a role in the skimping on elevator ratios in some proposals as well, as each shaft in the core takes away from sellable sqft.

Toronto is becoming a city where larger detached homes are out of reach for many families, and condos aren't merely for young people starting out or empty nesters. It feels like something has to give to make larger, legitimately family sized units more practical.
 
I agree that 'commie blocks' are not appealing. I was thinking more a modest relaxation of the 750 m floorplate. It seems like policies looking for larger family sized units are somewhat at odds with this floorplate guideline. Given a typical 10 units per floor on a centrally loaded tower, after taking out space for the core and hallways there is perhaps 600m2/6000 sqft for 10 units, or an average of 600 sqft. Allow the floorplate to expand a bit while keeping the core and central access hallways and number of units constant, it would provide for a significant increase in average unit size, as well as more exterior wall per unit. Going from 750m2 floorplate to 1000m2, perhaps while capping units per floor, would enable average unit sizes to increase from 600 ft2 to 850 ft2, 31% more space and ~16% more exterior wall per unit. I agree that it would be desirable to keep floorplates from getting too large lest we get more bowling alley unit layouts. I suspect this might be playing a role in the skimping on elevator ratios in some proposals as well, as each shaft in the core takes away from sellable sqft.

Toronto is becoming a city where larger detached homes are out of reach for many families, and condos aren't merely for young people starting out or empty nesters. It feels like something has to give to make larger, legitimately family sized units more practical.
With that level of regulation, why not just make standard floor/ home plans developers can build with planning interference or just build it yourself as the government.

Goddammit, why can't the province or city make money by selling standardized floor plans?
 

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