The north side of Dupont Street is facing increasing pressure from developers. Some have submitted applications for development, others have submitted requests to change the land use designation from employment to mixed use.

In early 2014, my office will be hosting public meetings regarding Dupont Street, as well as specific applications for development. These meetings will be held to help develop a better understanding of how the community would like to see Dupont grow and to receive feedback on specific applications.

This will help us to address a number of important city-wide and local issues. These issues include the preservation of employment lands, the proximity to CP’s freight rail corridor, transportation and transit constraints, the need to improve the public realm and streetscaping and the need to ensure the residential areas on the south side are not negatively impacted.

Over the last few years Dupont has been improving. New stores and restaurants are flourishing and the street is becoming much more livable. However, improvements must still be made to activate more store fronts and make the streets and sidewalks safer and more welcoming for pedestrians. We need to build a more sustainable neighbourhood that better integrates the north side of Dupont street into our community.

Below I provide many more details on the work being done along Dupont Street:

  1. What is an Employment Area, the Official Plan, and the Official Plan Review?
  2. What Has Been Done for Dupont?
  3. What Happens Next on Dupont?

1. What is an Employment Area, the Official Plan, and the Official Plan Review?
The north side of Dupont Street is an Employment Area. This means, that residential is not permitted on the north side of Dupont Street. That is why applications for development along Dupont Street have come in the form of conversion requests; developers need to first obtain permission to have residential on the properties before conversations around height and density can begin. The City has not granted these requests.

Toronto’s Official Plan describes the policies and objectives for future land uses. It describes how the community can grow. Employment Areas, such as the one along Dupont Street, are defined and protected in the Official Plan. The Province also has a Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe. The Growth Plan only permits the conversion of employment designated land by way of a Municipal Comprehensive Review, which is being undertaken concurrently with the Five Year Review described below.

While the Official Plan is a long term planning tool, the Province’s Planning Act requires that the City review its Official Plan at least every 5 years. It is during such Official Plan Reviews that lands can be changed from Employment Areas to other designations.

In 2011 the City of Toronto began an Official Plan Review and draft recommendations will be coming to Planning and Growth Committee on November 21, 2013. The requests by developers to convert the lands on the north side of Dupont Street to mixed use, allowing for residential development, will be responded to by City Planning Staff at this November 21 Committee meeting. At this meeting of Planning of Growth (agenda to be posted here). City Staff will have recommendations on what steps to take along Dupont Street. You can learn more about the City’s Municipal Comprehensive Review here: http://www.toronto.ca/opreview/index.htm.

2. What Has Been Done?
As described above, conversion requests have been received by the City of Toronto and will be responded to in their report to Planning and Growth on November 21, 2013.

I, along with Councillor Vaughan and other neighbouring Councillors have been working to address the pressure facing Dupont Street for a number of years. In 2011 and 2012, we held meetings with stakeholders (residents associations and BIAs) along Dupont to discuss the pressure from developers and to better understand what the community would like to see happen along the corridor. We also held meetings with the offices of Councillor Bailao and Councillor Mihevc, neighbouring the Dupont corridor facing pressure.

In November 2012, Councillor Vaughan and I directed planning staff to consider the creation of a Regeneration Area along the north side of Dupont Street, with design guidelines developed through a Dupont Area Study. This area study would be similar to the work being done on Bathurst Street and would allow the community to have valuable and direct input into guidelines for development on Dupont Street. City Staff will be reporting on this recommendation to the November 21, 2013 meeting of Planning and Growth Committee.

3. What Happens Next?
The proposals being made by City Staff, including our recommendation to study and regenerate Dupont Street, will be at the Planning and Growth Committee on November 21, 2013. The applications to develop the land on the north side of Dupont, including the application on the Sobeys site, are being reviewed in the context of this much larger Official Plan Review.

As described above, Councillor Vaughan and I will be holding multiple public meetings in the new year to, with the advice of the community, develop a set of guidelines and policies for development along the Dupont corridor. These policies must respect the neighbouring low-rise residential community, must take into account the required setbacks from the rail corridor, and must contribute to our streetscape and local amenities.

Sobeys (840 Dupont Street)
The Sobeys application will be subject to the recommendations being made for Dupont Street by City Staff and any final decision of City Council over the coming months. In addition to this it will also have to move through its own application process.

The Sobeys application is in its early stages. A public meeting will be held on the application in early 2014. Planning staff have not submitted their Preliminary Report to Community Council yet, but when they have I will make it available online. I am not in support of their current application. I do not believe it respects the adjacent neighbourhood. The planner assigned to the Sobeys file is Avery Carr and he can be reached at acarr2@toronto.ca. It’s important that you share your thoughts on the application with the local planner as well as my office.
If you have any questions email me at councillor_layton@toronto.ca or call (416) 392-4009.