Follow the link below to view the Queen Street East Visioning Study Final Report.
Queen Street East Urban Design Guidelines
Is anything being done to protect the Beach from over-development?
Yes. This past summer, a Vision Study for Queen Street was commissioned by the City at the request of Councillor McMahon to address concerns that the area was becoming over-developed. The results of the Vision Study are the new Queen Street East Urban Design Guidelines.
Did local Beachers help create the Queen Street East Urban Design Guidelines?
Yes. The Queen Street East Urban Design Guidelines were created by local residents and urban designers and planners who work for the City of Toronto. There were six public meetings and approximately 250 local residents gave their opinions. The events were advertised in the local newspapers, service groups’ listserves and through the councillor’s website, Facebook, Twitter and electronic newsletter.
Do the proposed Urban Design Guidelines allow for 7, 8, 9 or 10 storey buildings along Queen Street?
No. The proposed Guidelines set a maximum height of 6 stories. This height will only be permitted in a handful of places along Queen Street. Most sites along Queen Street could only be developed to a maximum of 4 or 5 storeys, and the many heritage buildings along Queen Street will never be redeveloped.
Shouldn’t we keep the current planning rules which capped development at 12 metres?
No. The current planning rules are no longer being followed. Developers have appealed or ignored these rules, and gotten away with it. That’s why we needed a new set of rules which will stand up to legal appeals. That is why the Queen Street East Urban Design Guidelines are so important.
Could an Interim Control By-Law (ICBL) stop Development along Queen Street?
No. An interim control by-law stops certain land uses for one year. Councillor McMahon investigated an ICBL last fall, but legal advice indicated it would be difficult to defend at the OMB, leaving the Beach vulnerable to inappropriately large buildings. Councillor McMahon did the next best thing; she put a hold on new development while the community helped create the Queen Street East Urban Design Guidelines.
Is anything being done about the traffic, flooding and streetscaping in our neighbourhood?
Yes. Councillor McMahon is organizing meetings to discuss a variety of concerns that residents have with the current state of infrastructure. The first meeting dealing with water and sewage issues is scheduled for late November.
Should we delay passing the Queen Street East Urban Design Guidelines and do more studies?
No. Developments along Queen Street were put on hold while the Guidelines were created. But that hold won’t last much longer! If the Queen Street East Urban Design Guidelines are delayed developers could appeal the hold and get approval for buildings which only meet the less stringent older planning rules.
Who Supports the Queen Street East Urban Design Guidelines?
The Beach BIA, the Greater Beach Neighbourhood Association and many residents are supportive of the new Guidelines.
We all want Toronto to grow and be more sustainable, but we don’t want this success to come at the cost of our neighbourhoods. Increasing development pressures along Queen Street prompted me to commission a Vision Study with local residents. Over the summer we had six public meetings at which local Beachers helped to draft a set of Urban Design Guidelines for Queen Street. These guidelines will restrict developers from creating towers along our historic and vibrant main street, a huge step forward!
I am so excited to see that local residents have begun getting the message out to the wider community about this important issue. Some feel that the Urban Design Guidelines proposed don’t go far enough, and I agree, but this is just the beginning of a long process to protect and enhance Queen Street.
Five ways to Save Queen Street from Overdevelopment
1. Mobilize/organize and speak out!
When the community comes together to speak with one voice, developers will listen. Crafting a common message will ensure that new development is appropriate for the neighbourhood.
2. Create a Heritage Conservation District
A Heritage Conservation District is a designation that will greatly reduce the ability for developers to construct tall buildings along Queen Street. To make the area an H.C.D. will take buy-in from the entire neighbourhood and may take a long time but it is a strong defence from inappropriate density.
3. Support the new Beach Urban Design Guidelines at Community Council on Nov.6
The proposed Urban Design Guidelines were created by the community and planners/ urban designers at the City of Toronto in a public process last summer. The new guidelines will restrict the height and appearance of buildings along Queen Street.
4. Attend future infrastructure meetings
To protect the sewers, streets and parks in The Beach from increasing development and density pressures, Councillor McMahon is organizing a series of meetings with senior managers at Toronto Water, Transportation Services, TTC and Parks, Forestry and Recreation. These meetings will begin this fall, your input at these meetings is essential!
5. Support local Businesses and the local BIA
Help ensure that Queen Street is a vibrant and successful commercial area that serves the needs of residents. Maintaining a strong retail corridor will make it harder for developers to buy up properties and construct condos.