In February 2019, the Credit Reserve Association presented before the Local Planning Appeals Tribunal (LPAT) in opposition of the proposed development of 17 town homes and 1 single family dwelling for 1142 Mona Road. Nick Dell, a director of the Credit Reserve Association, represented us and sat through the entire month long proceedings. The LPAT decision has not yet been rendered and may take several more months.
Our presentation along with selected exhibits is included below:
LPAT Case No. PL170371
Credit Reserve Association Participants Statements
Presenters: Mary Furlin and Nick Dell
- WHO WE ARE
The Credit Reserve Association (“CRA”) is the ratepayer association, incorporated in 1974, that represents the jurisdiction of the City of Mississauga bounded on the north by the Queen Elizabeth Way, on the south by the Canadian National Railway tracks, on the west by the Credit River and on the east by the Cooksville Creek (subsequently extended to Kenmuir Avenue). There are approximately 2,100 homes within this area.
The areas west of Hurontario Street are known as Mineola West. The areas east of Hurontario Street are known as Mineola East. Our focus herein is on Mineola West, the area that comprises the largest part of the Residential Woodland.
The CRA is a volunteer association that works to promote the interests of the Mineola community, a place we consider one of the last vestiges of mature Urban Forest in Mississauga. The CRA acts as a resource for information and support for the Mineola neighborhood. We communicate with our residents through our website, the annual general meeting, newsletters, and e-blasts. Some of the areas that we have been involved with include: The Hurontario LRT, Tree permits, Committee of Adjustments minor variances, Ontario Municipal Board hearings, Heritage Committee, and the Candidate debates. We support good development.
Exhibit 1: Initial letter from the CRA
- THREAT TO GREEN
Several of the following exhibits were sourced from the Mississauga Natural Heritage and Urban Forest Strategy and the Mississauga and the Mississauga Natural Areas Survey (NAS).
This map shows that only a small percentage of Mississauga’s total area (11.95%) is included in the Natural Area Survey. Source: Mississauga Natural Areas Survey (http://www6.mississauga.ca/onlinemaps/planbldg/nas/key_map/nasmap.pdf)
This map also shows that there are only 3 areas (representing 0.8% of Mississauga) that have the residential woodland designation. This means that residential woodlands represent 6.6 % of the whole Natural Areas System of Mississauga (which is only 11.95% of Mississauga’s total area) (Figures sourced from Table 1 of the Mississauga Natural Heritage and Urban Forest Strategy, page 18 – http://www7.mississauga.ca/Departments/Rec/parks/nhufs/pdf/FINAL_nhufs.pdf).
Mineola West is the largest of the Residential Woodlands in Mississauga. Thus Mineola West has a unique environmental character that contributes significantly to the resident’s enjoyment of the lands.
The proposed development is within a Residential Woodland and directly adjacent to Natural Area M17. Source: Mississauga Natural Areas System (http://mississauga.maps.arcgis.com/apps/View/index.html?appid=6a7d0e83a2f84d8eb487d9be83537725)
Mississauga Natural Heritage and Urban Forest Strategy – Residential Woodlands (page 60) states:
- Building coverage and lot creation should be restricted to maintain the Residential Woodlands to the greatest extent possible, and replace canopy removed.
- Require site plan approval for all applications within all Residential Woodlands that addresses grading and landscaping, and requires an arborist report and/or tree planting / preservation plan with each application to demonstrate no negative impacts to the Urban Forest.
- The need for an EIS for any applications within a Residential Woodland will be at the discretion of the City but should only be required where the Residential Woodland overlaps with or is adjacent to some other natural heritage or natural hazard feature, or where the woodland exhibits characteristics of a natural area.
OMB Decision PL990061. In this 1999 OMB ruling, lot division was denied, in part due to its proximity/impact to the Mineola West Residential Woodland and adjacent natural Area, M 17. The ruling also contains several significant points relevant to the current Queenscorp proposal.
This exhibit is an aerial photo of Mona Road showing the woodland, the location of the Queenscorp proposed development and the property at 1206 Mona Road where the OMB previously denied a severance application in OMB Decision PL990061.
Municipal Act Reference
Adoption of policies
270 (1) A municipality shall adopt and maintain policies with respect to the following matters:
- The manner in which the municipality will protect and enhance the tree canopy and natural vegetation in the municipality.
The City is well positioned to meet its obligations under this section of the municipal act with the NHUFS in place. However, if this type of development is allowed in Residential Woodlands then the City will have a difficult time meeting the obligations.
C.WALK THROUGH MINEOLA WEST
Mineola West is characterized as a community urban forest – large, spacious lots, an over storey of large, old native trees, generous setbacks to neighboring property lines, open sight-lines and low density. It is also characterized by ALL SINGLE DWELLINGS.
Exhibits 10-13 These are photos taken by me on January 25, 2019 on Mona Road.
If you haven’t been to Mineola West, I implore you to visit. Mineola West is unique. Unlike many other neighborhoods bounded by roads, Mineola West is a place sheltered by the barriers that include the wall of the QEW, the Credit River, the railway tracks and Hurontario Street with only 6 ways to enter the area. One feels that they are not in a big city anymore: it is an escape from congestion, noise and traffic all on its own. As you walk through the neighborhood you will notice huge beautiful majestic mature tree canopies and winding roadways that are very telling of a development history that maneuvered around the landscape, not through it.
One cannot actually see or feel the hustle and bustle of the surrounding apartments and buildings lying just outside of Mineola West to the south of the railway. This is important as some of the aerial views capturing areas outside this boundary may imply a different kind of feel than what is actually experienced from the ground within Mineola West.
The area is also not just for the people living in Mineola West. Many people of Port Credit and beyond who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the surrounding apartments and buildings lying just outside Mineola West, south of the rail tracks will come to enjoy the beauty and tranquility of Mineola West. This is especially important to balance the intensification in the surrounding areas of Port Credit. Mineola West is like a park, people walk here, people run here, bike here, watch birds here, basically come here for peace and serenity that you feel, the moment you cross the tracks. A wall of townhomes on the Queenscorp lot and spreading to the rest of the neighbourhood, will change this.
The Official Plan intended to respect this old, peaceful, stable established neighbourhood with zoning by-laws including the single family dwellings.
The majesty inherent in the landscape, has led our residents to be very passionate about issues like the townhome development proposed by Queenscorp. The next exhibit demonstrates the public outcry we captured via a detailed petition.
Provides the wording of the Petition which we circulated in Mineola West.
This is the map summarizing all of the households that have signed the petition against the Townhomes. We have almost 500 household petition letters signed out of the 854 homes in Mineola West (excluding Hurontario), and including 24 from Mineola East. Only 1 household from each of Mona Road and Oriole Avenue did not sign. Most of the signatures were obtained by only a few volunteers on a few days, and some signed a standard form at our annual general meeting. What is important is not only the people that signed the letters BUT the people that didn’t. Some people were not home but some people are waiting for the precedent to be set so they can put their own development proposal for their property. This is the precedent that we know will create a negative impact on Mineola West forever.
Here is some history: Mineola was developed before it became standard practice in the early twentieth century to: remove top soil and regrade, level every nuance of natural topography, and engineer the complete storm water drainage system artificially.
In Mineola, a road system was gently imposed on the natural rolling topography of the Iroquois Plain; homes were nestled into larger lots and natural drainage areas were retained. This provided greater opportunity to save existing trees and because the soils and drainage system were minimally impacted, provided fertile ground for the planting of new vegetation, the natural regeneration of native trees and landscaping of the residential properties. What has evolved today is a wonderful neighborhood with a variety of quality housing stock and a rich stimulating landscape that blends the houses with their natural and manicured surroundings. There are no curbs on the roads which softens the transition between street and front yards. The roads wind, rise and fall with the natural topography and houses sit often at odd angles to take advantage of slopes and the location of large trees. A gradual infilling has increased the density over the years and care must be taken to ensure that this does not, in the end, ruin the very quality and character that makes this neighborhood so appealing and attractive. Of the many neighborhoods in Mississauga, the Mineola neighborhood stands out as one of the most visually interesting and memorable. As is often the case, when new development is balanced with the protection of the natural environment, a truly livable and sustainable community evolves. Mineola West is an excellent example of this type of community.
It should be noted that the broader Lakeshore/Port Credit area is substantially increasing in density. This is being accomplished while respecting the Official Plan. There is no reason for the OMB to reject the Official Plan in this case. If the OMB does rule to rezone this area then the OMB/LPAT and City will be left with a conundrum: show favouritism to one developer or rezone the entire area for similar development. This will lead to the destruction of the unique Mineola West neighbourhood as we outline below.
- IMPACT TO NEIGHBOURHOOD
This exhibit shows Intensification Areas per the City of Mississauga. The intensification corridor includes the small area around Hurontario Street (due to the LRT) and Port Credit, south of the CN tracks. It is important to note that Mineola West is NOT shown as an area of intensification.
This exhibit shows relative lot sizes in Mineola West compared to the portion of lot on which Queenscorp wants to put 10 plus 7 townhomes.
Queenscorp has argued that re-zoning should be allowed as their property is “Unique”.
The subject property size is not unique when one looks at relative lot sizes in the neighbourhood.
What is unique is that the developer is trying to infill 17 townhouses and one detached dwelling into a lot surrounded by only single family dwellings.
If the OMB allows this re-zoning, then our fear is that the City/LPAT will be inundated with requests from other owners to also allow increased density for their properties, leading to the destruction of the unique character of Mineola West as it relates to the impact on the residential woodland that is the defining feature of the neighbourhood.
Mineola West is characterized by large, well treed lots, for SFD. This particular proposal is not in keeping with the neighborhood character as it relates to the well treed, spacious lots the neighborhood has come to be known by.
As an illustration, if townhomes are allowed here, then every homeowner in Mineola West with a 100 ft. frontage may get the idea to add at least 4 townhomes to their property.
This number of large properties is excluding properties that can be assembled. If lot assembly is taken into account, then many properties in the Mineola West area can meet the same conditions as Queenscorp and can be converted to a density of townhomes not conducive to our sensitive character.
The impact that this proposal presents our members with is that of precedence. The same opportunity can be sought by others, like Queenscorp is requesting in this instance, to develop their properties into townhomes. What then of our well treed, spacious lots? Our presumption, which we feel is correct, is that spacious lots are conducive to well treed lots. We strongly urge that the Board understand that there is no security in our minds that Mineola West wont become a distant memory as opportunists may then rush to apply for more mid-density developments.
- THREAT TO CHARACTER
The character of an area is not a scientific exercise and cannot always rely solely on the application of a mathematical formulas and standard policies and zoning. Blanket statements cannot capture nuance, hence why the Planning Act provide developers the legal right to submit proposals to change bylaws through variance or rezoning. As a participant, and as a community leader, we offer an measurement of impact from a community perspective; this proposal presents a threat to the character of our neighborhood. We feel it is out of step, and does not represent responsible, measured development for the following reasons:
Exhibits 18-22 highlight these points.
- Density: No townhomes, no duplex, no semi’s in Mineola West.
- Lot frontage: No homes have been built without adequate frontage.
- Lot depth – No homes have been built with a lot depth incomparable to neighbours.
- Setback to canopy: No infill has been yet been allowed within 10 metres of the drip line.
- Lot coverage: each home in MW enjoys a spacious feel with respect to lot coverage.
- Architectural style:
- Building height: No recent developments have 3 stories
- Sight lines: No one has multiple houses peering into their backyard(s).
- No one has a large underground parking garage, especially considering each house has a pump to help remove ground water due to the high water table.
- No condominiums i.e. common elements.
- No densities requiring visitor parking.
- No density requiring noise impact from 18 households on 1 lot.
- No common area lights that will be on all night.
In conclusion, this is the wrong development for Mineola West. It is out of character with the area and sets a bad precedent. We respectfully request that you reject this application.
Credit Reserve Association Participant Statement
LPAT Case No. PL170371
1 Initial Credit Reserve Letter
2 Mississauga Natural Area Survey (NAS)
3 Mississauga Natural Area System zoomed to 1142 Mona Rd.
4 Mississauga Natural Heritage and Urban Forest Strategy.
Cover page, page 18 and page 60.
5 OMB Decision PL990061
6 Aerial photo of Mona Road showing woodland
7 Municipal Act excerpt re protecting ‘green infrastructure’
10 Photo looking south at corner of Mona and Inglewood
11 Photo looking south on Mona Road
12 Photo looking north from in front of 1142 Mona road
13 Photo of the neighbourhood north of the proposed development
14 Petition Wording
15 Map of Petition signatures
16 Intensification Areas
17 Relative Lot Sizes and Densities
18 Proposed Site Plan
19 Existing tree canopy
20 Proposed infill impact on canopy
21 Existing street view sight-line
22 Proposed sight-line impact