First Capital Chartwell Plaza
On February 14, 2011, the OMB released its decision in the First Capital Chartwell Plaza case [http://www.omb.gov.on.ca/e-decisions/pl100084-feb-14-2011.pdf], a case involving employment lands in the City of Toronto. First Capital sought a zoning by-law amendment to extend the Neighbourhood Commercial zone encompassing an existing shopping plaza to the neighbouring lands zoned Industrial for the purpose of developing a renovated and expanded retail shopping centre.
The Board allowed First Capital’s appeal and concluded that the development was not a conversion under the Growth Plan as contemplated by Policy 126.96.36.199 and that it conformed to the Toronto Official Plan, including sections 2.2.4 and 4.6.3.
The decision provides further direction into the interpretation of the undefined term “major retail” in the Growth Plan (beginning at page 6). The Board cited the 1780 Markham Road case [http://www.omb.gov.on.ca/e-decisions/pl070485-Jan-03-2008.pdf] where “major retail” was defined as constituting “big boxes” of approximately 125,000 square feet, and concluded that, in this case, the portion of expansion onto “employment lands” which totals approximately 73,700 square feet was not major retail under the Growth Plan.
Also noteworthy (beginning at page 10) is the Board’s conclusion that OP policy 4.6.3 does not restrict large scale, stand alone retail stores to existing lots with direct frontage on major streets; rather, the policy is met where the development proposal as a whole has access to a major street.
The City is considering amendments to its employment lands policies [http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2010/pg/bgrd/backgroundfile-29918.pdf]. Stay tuned for more…