City Releases Inadequate Noise Bylaw: Toronto Deserves Better

toronto-noise-coalition-logo
Resident groups say the changes the City is currently proposing for noise bylaw do not measure up to the standards of other major urban centres and fall far short of what a world-class city like Toronto deserves.

 Coalition proposes 7 Point Plan based on successful New York City model.

The Toronto Noise Coalition (the ‘Coalition’) finds that the proposed changes to Toronto’s noise bylaws are without many of the key details that will allow Toronto to better manage noise. Noise is a pressing problem and the City’s proposed changes will not solve it. Specifically, the City’s proposed changes are:

  • Without teeth – with no increased funding for increased and more-timely enforcement, and, there is no onus on mitigation of noise at the source.
  • Without vision – There is no clear statement of a general provision that the central purpose of the by-law is to protect the health and well-being of the citizens.
  • Without sufficient public input – while over 90% of Torontonians are concerned about noise, only 8% are aware that the City is considering bylaw changes, and,
  • With too many opportunities for exceptions – the whole by-law is undercut by the availability of exemptions and a stream-lined process for a blanket application for multiple exemptions.
Noise is a pressing issue for citizens across the city. The coalition has conducted its own survey (available at www.torontonoisecoalition.ca). It proves that the overwhelming majority of Torontonians are concerned about noise. Yet, only a very small percentage even know that the city is about to make significant changes to the noise by-law. The changes are going forward without most people knowing what they are.
“Our member resident associations are telling us that there is bound to be a backlash,” said Coalition spokesperson, Ian Carmichael. “The general public will soon realize the proposed changes will give them less rather than more protection against intrusive noise and nowhere near the protection that residents of other cities have.”
The Coalition proposes that Toronto follow the New York City’s approach, which it has summarized as a 7-Point Plan for Effective Noise Management. The key points are: Declaration of Policy; a General Provision for 24/7 protection from vibrations and sound; and specific recommendations for Amplified Sound, Construction, Mechanical Equipment, Exceptions, and Enforcement.
“New York City gets it right,” Carmichael said. “They brought in recognized noise experts and ensured the bylaw process was not primarily an economic development exercise, as it is here in Toronto.”
One of the primary authors of New York City’s noise bylaw is Charles Shamoon, Assistant Counsel, New York City Department of Environmental Protection.  He said, “In New York City, we developed an effective noise bylaw that takes into account science, the concerns of residents, public health needs and city planning as a whole. We brought in all of the various stakeholders and we worked together to create a consensus around noise in NYC. And it works well.”
The Toronto Noise Coalition is made up of dozens of local residents’ associations and many independent stakeholders in the noise management debate.
Carmichael said, “The City of Toronto is trying to ram through this bylaw without considering the needs of all stakeholders, including the City’s own internal barriers to enforcement. It’s not just about funding. For example, while the bylaw covers motorcycle noise, only a police officer has the power the pull over a motor vehicle and issue a ticket.”
Carmichael said, “We offer our 7 Point Plan for Effective Noise Management as an alternative solution to the City’s proposed changes.”
An overview of the Coalition’s 7-Point Plan is below with full details available at www.torontonoisecoalition.ca.
DECLARATION OF POLICY: Clearly communicate the Purpose of the Noise Bylaw is to protect the health and quality of life of the residents of Toronto.
GENERAL PROVISION: Include a General Provision for 24/7 protection from vibrations and sound of such a volume or nature that it is likely to disturb the City’s inhabitants.
AMPLIFIED SOUND:  Replace and improve the specific bylaw prohibition 591-2.1 problematic noise sources to be projected beyond a property line onto streets or public places particularly City parks.
CONSTRUCTION: Comprehensive standards will limit the negative effects of constant construction.  It must also encourage companies to adopt innovative technology and noise mitigating measures, such as a Noise Mitigation Plan – Contractors must develop a noise mitigation plan prior to the start of work. Every construction site must have a noise mitigation plan on location. If noise complaints are received, an inspector will ensure the contractor has posted the plan and that it is being followed, and Construction Scheduling – Prohibit construction of new homes and other major construction in residential areas on weekends and statutory holidays from May 1st to October 31st. Owner occupied work would still be permitted to perform needed work on their own homes as needed.
MECHANICAL EQUIPMENT: Toronto’s Noise bylaw must contain a section regulating disruptive noise from HVAC equipment (resident, commercial, and industrial) by imposing reasonable standards for this equipment.
EXCEPTIONS: Exceptions must be considered a privilege not a right. Series approvals (approvals of more than one event at a time) should only be offered to applicants with a record of good compliance and an upper limit of the number of series approved by one application should be required- i.e. no more than three at a time. Noise Mitigation Plans must be a requirement for all exceptions applications to the policy. Limits to the number of permit approved in any park each year must be set. Events in residential neighbourhood parks must end no later than 10 pm.
ENFORCEMENT: Council must commit to increased investment for effective and timely enforcement

For further information contact:

Liquor License Application for 785 Queen St W (Dear Jools)

The soon to open restaurant at 785 Queen Street West, known as “Dear Jools”, has applied for a liquor license. A recent article in Toronto Life, titled “Solved: the weird mystery of the restaurant at 785 Queen West” provides more information on the nature of the business and can be read by clicking here.

Please contact the AGCO at 416-326-8700 (customer.service@agco.ca) if you have any questions or concerns.

TBCA May Meeting Summary Minutes

Trinity Bellwoods Recreation Centre

Monday, May 26, 2014

7:00 P.M.

SUMMARY MINUTES

Attendees:

  • Chair – Chris Walker
  • Councillor Mike Layton
  • Ashley Da Silva – Councillor Layton’s Office
  • Paula Capela
  • Ross Burnett
  • Loise Schklar
  • TC Sclocco
  • Carolyn Wong (for part)
  • Bjarne Peterson
  • Craig Daniels
  • Carol Craighead

Agenda:

Studio Bar: Councillor Mike Layton gave a summary of the current state of matters regarding Studio Bar, which continues to disrupt local residents, confirming that:

  • The space is not a “restaurant”, but rather an “entertainment establishment”, contrary to zoning.
  • The City is set to take them to the Municipal Court.
  • MLS has been showing up on site.
  • In a province-wide move, the AGCO threw out the conditions that were drafted by the City to protect residents.
  • Was 1 of 8 bars invited to a meeting with Police, MLS, Coucillor and the AGCO. May & Hard Luck were also invited.
  • 2 motions have been made by Council to have MLS meet with AGCO & Police.

MOCCA  Development Application

  • Development is now approved by City Council who negotiated a settlement with applicant
  • City Staff supported the revised application
  • 8 storeys with integrated mechanical penthouse
  • Design meets 45 degree angular plane requirement at rear. Developer provided greater setbacks than initial application.
  • Wider sidewalks are to be provided along Queen Street West frontage
  • 10% three bedroom units are to be provided, but with a greater increase in Bachelor units as well
  • Slightly smaller retail unit size (reduced from 9,0000sq ft to 8,000sq ft)
  • One heritage (non-designated) building is to be demolished as part of redevelopment
  • MOCCA will not remain on site.
  • Concern from TBCA that this will set a precedent for 8 storey buildings along Queen Street West (which currently supports a 4 storey height limit) as well as for the demolition of older, established “character buildings” that define the neighbourhood.  Also concerns with on-going consolidation of smaller parcels into larger “mega” development sites that can support larger condo developments while destroying the existing building fabric and streetscape.

West Queen West Area Study

  • Currently in a queue to be undertaken by the City
  • In longer term, outcomes of study may result in zoning by-law changes (height, density, etc)
  • Not expected to be initiated this current year
  • Heritage will be an element of the study
  • Heritage building inventory is required for Queen Street West as part of this process

Film Permits

  • Increasing filming in the neighbourhood is creating some problems
  • Space demands for production vans is excessive and often beyond what they are allowed in their permits. Permit allows for 60 feet of coning.
  • Crews are able to block streets for 24-48 hours prior to filming
  • Production companies are not providing notification to neighbourhood
  • Idea presented for production companies to provide a donation towards a for a “community improvement fund” when filming in the area.  It was suggested that funds collected could go towards maintenance and upgrade of Trinity Bellwoods Park.

Queen Street West Sidewalk Repair

  • Repair of sidewalk along Queen St W is scheduled to begin mid-June 2014.
  • Work will repair numerous cuts in sidewalk and replace black asphalt with concrete.

Food Trucks

  • A new bylaw passed by City to allow food trucks on streets, but not in front of park, on residential streets or within 50 metres of established restaurants.
  • Trucks can only park in one spot for a limited amount of time.
  • Bylaw does not apply to ice cream trucks

Laneway Naming

  • Councillor Layton is trying to introduce street names for all laneways in the area for safety benefits and community spirit
  • An information booklet has been prepared by the Councillor and is available through his office
  • Nominations can be sent to the Councillor`s office at adasilv2toronto.ca
  • Volunteers needed to help flyer streets

Next TBCA Meeting is Monday July 28th, 7pm – 9pm

At the Trinity Bellwoods Recreation Centre,

PLEASE JOIN US!

Neighborhood Updates: Happy Hooker Liquor License Application; and Committee of Adjustment Meeting for 964 Queen St. W

Dundas West Liquor License Application

The Happy Hooker (fish sandwich and taco shop on Dundas West) has applied for a Liquor License. If you have any concerns or objections, please contact Ashley DeSilva in Mike Layton’s office by emailing her at adasilv2@toronto.ca.

Public Hearings for 964 Queen W on December 11, 2013

964 Queen Street West has filed for a variance with the city’s committee of adjustment department. If the changes affect you, be sure to attend the public hearing on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 2pm (Toronto City Hall, Committee Room 2). Please see the specific notice below for more details.

PURPOSE OF THE APPLICATION: To alter a three-storey mixed use residential building, currently, containing three residential units, by constructing a four storey rear addition; including, the addition of a fourth residential unit.
MEETING DATE AND TIME: Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 2:00 p.m.
LOCATION: Committee Room 2, Second Floor, Toronto City Hall, 100 Queen St W, M5H 2N2

964 Queen St W Notice
964 Queen St W Plans

TBCA Meeting Minutes, July 29, 2013

Trinity Bellwoods Recreation Centre, 2nd Floor Conference Room
Monday, July 29th, 2013
7:00 P.M.

SUMMARY MINUTES

Attendees:

Carol Craighead
Liz Magner
Sian Owen
Chris Walker
Craig Daniels
Ben Pakuts
Walter Girlato

Agenda:

  1. Studio Bar
  2. Creatures Creating (Creature Collective)
  3. 110 Palmerston
  4. Origami Lofts
  5. MOCCA
  6. Democratization of Development in Toronto
  7. Contra-flow bicycle lane on Shaw

 

UPDATES

Studio Bar
-History: originally, permits applied as a restaurant but functioning as a public hall.
-Currently breaking bylaws for the City (sound disturbance) and for operating as a public hall on a restaurant permit.
-StudioBar has received 3 charges from MLS and will be taken to court by the City of Toronto.
-AGCO has not responded or provided residents with details of what type of SOP permits are being provided to owners.
-final floor plans are not being provided to the community by the owners of StudioBar; this is important as “restaurant” permit requires a functioning kitchen, but residents have been left in the dark.
-Residents believe the property is inappropriate for live music as it backs directly on 6 residential properties.

Creatures Creating (Creature Collective)
-Tenants near Creatures Collective are afraid to complain of sound for fear of being evicted.
-Many tenants do not speak English.
-Not sure which type of permit the business is operating under.

110 Palmerston
-Sept 24th, OMB hearing is booked—the residents are leading this initiative.  Residents will be represented by a lawyer.
-Residents are also trying to initiate mediation with the Urbancorp (Alan Saskin; developers).
-Issues: One neighbor has 7 windows on one side and will loose all light from front and side.
-Residents want some dimensions of the proposed property to be changed.
-potential to be precedent setting—as this is the first that the city is fully aware of and has had a chance to assess.

Origami Lofts
-Sewage backups occurred during flood near proposed condo development. May indicate how poorly equipped the sewage is in that area.
-Development proposal went to community council in June. Mike Layton backed the proposal to have it built according to the midrise guidelines. It is a deep lot and original plans would have pushed into residential areas. The city will take the developers to the OMB with the aim to reduce 1/3 of the back of the building and cut it down by 2 stories.
-Related: area study ongoing for Bathurst (Queen to Dupont). Origami would fit within the guidelines, and residents have the chance to have a say. Those living west of Bathurst may be cast in shade if future development converts existing two-story buildings into condos along Bathurst.
-Bathurst is not considered an “Avenue” –i.e. the Avenue Guide, developed by the city does not apply. Thus, it should not really be considered for such intensification. That said, if areas are already intensified (ie. Bathurst and Queen), exceptions are made.
-It is hoped that Mike Layton will take a stand on the Origami development as it will greatly impact residents.
-The Internal control bylaw passed by Adam Vaugh and Mike Layton to assess future development will not affect Origami lofts as it was proposed beforehand.
-Area studies underway for Ossington, Bathurst. Dundas and Queen have not received a study.
-Mike Layton did initiate a study for Dundas, but feedback was lacking from residents in the southern part of the ward and study could not be completed.

MOCCA
-Chris Walker has asked that CAMH not be used as a precedent, as it is its own special “planning island”.
-9 stories of proposed development will have huge impact on local residents north of development (loss of privacy and light).
-As it is an unserviceable site (no back alleyway access), traffic is the number one concern. The curb cutting is inappropriate for site, and will add to gridlock, especially with Queen streetcars.
-Sian Owen recounted an email trail between her and Mike Layton’s office regarding traffic impacts.
-Community asked that the ground floor commercial was split into 5 smaller rental spaces, but the developers presented plans with single commercial space.
-Developers said that road is 26m wide at that point (near Shaw), allowing for 33m building, and that is a valid argument, but it neglects the existing character of the street and the average width of the street (which is shorter).
-Neighbors will be impacted terribly and many of them don’t speak English and may have a fair say in this development without help.

Democratization of Development in Toronto
-OCA is talking with TBCA to form alliance; other community groups need to connect, forge linkages to learn how to better work with the City.
-OMB may not be all bad, since it does provide residents with a venue to revisit decisions by the city, but it is an expensive/cost restrictive venue (which is not an option for those who cannot pay for a lawyer).

Contra-flow Bike Lane on Shaw
-Sian Owen believes it may add a level of danger for bikers.
-Mike Layton does support the contra-flow lane.
-Ben Pakuts (TBCA media secretary) believes it would be better to have a designated north south route in Ward 19 since currently bikers tend to ride up one way streets in the wrong direction and already endanger themselves.