Development can feel complicated. Between blue prints and zoning applications, sometimes it’s tough to follow along, but this website is designed to inform and educate so that people can be active participants in the process. Today we’re explaining zoning and the Zoning Bylaw Amendment at 300 Bloor Street West.
What is Zoning?
Every piece of land in Toronto is designated for a specific use (e.g. residential, commercial, mixed commercial-residential, institutional, or industrial). This is called zoning.
The Zoning Bylaw
The Zoning Bylaw is the legal document that implements the policies and objectives described in the City’s Official Plan. It regulates what can be built and where. The Bylaw establishes precise development standards for lot size and frontage, building setbacks, the height and built form of structures, the number and dimensions of parking and loading spaces, requirements for open space, etc.
The Zoning Bylaw Amendment
Anyone who wants to use, alter, or develop a piece of property in a way that doesn’t conform with the Zoning Bylaw, must request a Zoning Bylaw Amendment (ZBA) from the City, also known as rezoning. The ZBA is a useful tool because it allows land owners to determine the most appropriate and desirable plan for a specific piece of property, instead of adhering to the more generic guidelines of the Zoning Bylaw.
How does this apply to 300 Bloor Street West?
300 Bloor Street West is currently finalizing a Zoning Bylaw Amendment for the site and preparing a Site Plan Control application.
The details outlined in the ZBA have been greatly influenced by community input via three pre-application meetings and seven working group meetings over 18 months, with representatives of the community, city staff, and the local Councillor.
Why are we applying for a ZBA?
300 Bloor Street West is a complex site – the existing church creates a significant heritage component that we’re committed to incorporating in the new plan. The site sits on top of extensive transit infrastructure, limiting the prospects for below grade excavation and parking. And the current zoning allows for a structure that is 18 metres tall with 3 times the density of the lot area (restricting how large the building can be). These factors create a challenge that requires a unique solution, one that does not sit within the City’s current Zoning Bylaw.
The amendment for 300 Bloor Street West includes a request for additional density and height to allow for the residential tower (at 100.5 metres with an increase amount of buildable square footage equivalent to 7.23 times site density), and a reduction to the number of required car parking spaces on site. These changes have been proposed in conjunction with feedback from the working groups and represent the collaboration and compromise that will make the development a shining example of strong, community-focused design.
The result of the process will be a new site-specific bylaw that will outline the rules for height; setbacks; stepbacks; permitted uses; amount of residential, office, retail and institutional square footage; and parking, at 300 Bloor Street West. It’s a tailored solution that considers the unique requirements and conditions of the site, resulting in a proposal that best serves the community.