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66 Brentwood Road South

2BR bungalow, a short hop from Bloor in the Thompson Orchard pocket

What the buyer got



Toronto's city council recently passed a motion to adopt an inclusionary zoning policy.

The primary objective of this policy is to increase the number of newly built condominium units made available at below-market rates to owners and renters - otherwise known as affordable housing.

This is groundbreaking stuff (forgive the pun), for several reasons.  Arguably, the most intriguing is the City's lemming-like progress toward increasing density around transit hubs.

For decades, the Toronto Transit Commission actively opposed building adjacent to most of its subway stations.  In 2004, nearly 60 years after the Bloor subway line was completed, the TTC and the City identified target properties for development.

Comparing their list with what's been built seventeen years later is a tad underwhelming, though several parties have had a hand in the delay.

Developers have been known to ignore City planning constraints entirely and submit outlandish plans in the hope of a favourable provincial arbitrator ruling ... the province has empowered three consecutive arbitration entities over the past four years - the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) became the Local Planning Appeals Tribunal (LPAT) became the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) ... the speed at which City staffers process development applications has never fully recovered from its post-amalgamation loss of planning staff ... and too many City residents seem to think housing density belongs as far away as possible from mass transit.

Any progress to decrease the distance between workers and workplaces is good for everyone - especially in an era during which businesses have difficulty finding staff.  Workers haven't disappeared.  They simply can't afford to live in the City on a poverty-level minimum wage, and are no longer willing to spend their time and precious funds commuting into the City from farther afield.

We like the idea of the City and its resident businesses being able to fulfill their service obligations, prefer dealing with a happy local workforce, and applaud the City for moving forward.

Details of the City's Inclusionary Zoning (IZ) policy include:

  • will require five to 10 per cent of condominium developments (over minimum unit thresholds) as affordable housing, increasing gradually to between eight per cent to 22 per cent by 2030

  • the amount of affordable housing required will vary depending on where in the city the development is located and whether the units are intended for rental or ownership, with the highest requirements in the Downtown area, followed by Midtown and Scarborough Centre. The policy also requires that the affordability of these units be maintained for 99 years

  • will be closely monitored and reviewed after one year to allow for adjustments that may be required, including changes to the phase-in and/or set aside rate, alterations to the minimum development size threshold and any other changes needed to ensure market stability and production of affordable housing units

  • rent and ownership prices will be centred on new income-based definitions of affordable housing, targeting households with an annual income of between $32,486 and $91,611.

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