Unity Project leadership wants city council to drive a harder bargain with the developer of a neighbouring property.
The shelter for Londoners experiencing homelessness sent a letter to city council seeking changes to Medallion Corporation’s proposal to build a 24-storey apartment building at the southwest corner of Dundas and Hewitt.
“We are not opposed to development on the site, we just want it to be good development,” explains Unity Project Development Manager Silvia Langer
Called a ‘bonus zone’, the development requires special permission from city council to exceed the height and density permitted on the property.
In exchange for the bonus zone, city planners recommend several design enhancements to the building and a 30-year agreement to include 13 affordable apartments that will be rented at 80 per cent of average market rent.
Thirteen units represents 5.3 percent of the 243 apartments to be constructed.
The Unity Project is pushing for 25 per cent— totalling sixty units.
“I guess we’re saying the deal isn’t good enough when it comes to affordable housing,” adds Langer.
The shelter also wants a 15 metre setback from the property line.
Board member Rick Odegaard says that would ensure their heritage building isn’t damaged during construction, and that the privacy of its clients is maintained.
“The tower definitely needs to be 15 metres back from our lot line, not one or two metres back,” Odegaard says. “People are going to be on their balconies looking down at our residents. That’s not good for anyone.”
On Jan. 18, city hall’s Planning and Environment Committee recommended the bonus zoning be awarded for 13 affordable units, suggesting the housing crisis must be addressed by multiple developments.
The Unity Project hopes Council will put the rezoning on hold and negotiate a better deal.
“We’d like council to refer this back to the Planning and Environment Committee for further consideration,” adds Odegaard.
Council will consider the rezoning application at its meeting on February 2.