Greenwood Yard - Status Of Surplus Property
Meeting Date: January 12, 2005
Subject: Greenwood Yard - Status Of Surplus Property
It is recommended that the Commission:
1. In accordance with TTC By-law #2, rescind the declaration of certain portions of Greenwood Yard as surplus to the TTC’s operational needs as outlined in the report;
2. Continue to maintain the lands surrounding Greenwood Yard in conjunction with the local community;
3. Authorize staff to negotiate and execute the necessary agreements for the maintenance of the green space surrounding Greenwood Yard with the appropriate community groups to the satisfaction of the TTC’s General Counsel;
4. Direct staff to arrange the necessary meetings to negotiate the agreements with local community groups through the Local Councillor’s office; and
5. Execute the necessary agreements with the local community no later than June 30, 2005.
As a result of retaining maintenance responsibilities for the green space surrounding Greenwood Yard in conjunction with the local community, the TTC will continue to incur annual operating costs of $8,000 - $10,000 per year. The development of some of the green space for residential development and the dedication of the remaining land as parkland could have generated one-time potential revenue to the TTC of between $1 million to $1.5 million and avoided any future maintenance costs for the green space.
TTC does not hold registered title to the property being declared surplus, and any ultimate TTC entitlement to benefits would have been determined in accordance with the proceeds policy approved by Toronto City Council at its meeting of June 18, 19 and 20, 2002.
On November 20, 2002, the Commission approved the following motions:
1. declare, in accordance with TTC By-law #2, the specified portion of the Greenwood Yard property surplus to TTC requirements; and
2. authorize staff to circulate the property to the City of Toronto’s Property Management Committee for disposition; and
3. request staff to report back to the Commission on the results of the circulation to City Agencies, Boards, Commissions, and Departments and obtain further Commission approval of the proposed method of sale.
The surplus area is shown in Exhibit 1 and is approximately 3 acres in size. The area is currently green space with some landscaping provided as a result of a previous capital project to construct an employee parking lot.
Future transit use of the green space is largely unfeasible based on the difference in grade level between the yard and the residential properties that border the yard to the west and north. It should be noted that the southern portion of the property adjacent to the substation, parking and over the portal to the Bloor-Danforth Subway is not surplus to TTC needs due to future requirements for the Fire Ventilation Upgrade Project.
The intention of declaring the property surplus in 2002 was to determine the feasibility of the creation of a City maintained community park in the green space area. At the time, the local councillor (Councillor Layton) and local ratepayers groups were supportive of this approach for the on-going maintenance of the property.
Subsequent to the Commission’s declaration of the property as surplus to the TTC’s operational needs, the property was formerly circulated to all ABCD’s (including Parks and Recreation) and no other municipal interest in the property was identified. Parks staff have confirmed in writing that they do not want to assume maintenance of the 3.0 acre greenspace. The November 20, 2002 Commission Report noted that:
“If, at the conclusion of the formal City process to ABCD’s, no municipal interest in the property is obtained, a further report would be submitted to the Commission on the proposed method of sale of the property in accordance with TTC By-law #2.”
The purpose of this report is to outline the only other option identified for the disposition of this surplus land and the community and local councillor’s reaction to the TTC staff proposal.
In the absence of transferring the property to Parks and Recreation staff, there are only two options available to the Commission as follows:
The Commission would continue to maintain the green space in conjunction with the local community.
The Commission could sell a portion of the green space for residential development and the remaining green space could be dedicated to the City as the 5% parkland dedication for the proposed residential development (see Exhibit 2).
With Option #2, the approximate 2 acres of land immediately west of the yard would be sold for residential development. To facilitate development, it would be necessary to extend Phin Avenue to Queen Victoria Street (see Street “A”). This would create approximately 16 single family lots fronting on Street A (35 – 40 ft in width similar to the existing residential community). In addition, it would be possible to create a small row of townhouses north of Queen Victoria Street backing onto Seymour Avenue. Part 2 and Part 1A (approximately 1 acre in size) would be dedicated as the development’s contribution to parkland. As mentioned previously, Part 3 is required for TTC long term use for the Fire Ventilation Upgrade Project and is not surplus to TTC operational needs.
The proposed development has the following benefits to the Commission:
• In-fill residential development would be accommodated in support of the City’s Official Plan;
• Property proceeds of between $1 to $1.5 million would accrue to the Commission in accordance with the City’s property proceeds policy; and
• The TTC would be relieved of the responsibility to maintain the green space and would save $8,000 - $10,000 in annual maintenance costs.
Based on discussions with Planning staff, the residential development was considered feasible and Park staff indicated that, if residential development was to occur on part of the green space property, the dedication of the remaining green space as parkland would be considered.
In conjunction with the local councillor (Councillor Fletcher), a public meeting was held on November 29, 2004 to discuss the possible development of part of the green space and the resulting parkland dedication. Approximately 150 local residents attended the meeting and the vast majority of attendees, as well as the local councillor, were opposed to any development of the TTC green space. The strong consensus was that the TTC should continue to maintain the property in conjunction with the local community as per unexecuted agreements between the Oakvale Avenue Residents Association (OKRA) that date back to 1995.
As background, in 1995, the TTC Engineering and Construction Branch agreed with the local community to the creation of a 65 space employee parking lot off Oakvale Avenue. During the approval process for the parking lot, TTC staff agreed to the creation of a landscaped area for the use of Oakvale Avenue residents in return for support of OKRA for the employee lot. The green space outlined in Exhibit 3 is jointly maintained by TTC forces and the local community. The agreement to define the maintenance responsibilities of the green space has never been executed due to delays in completing the landscaped area, the replacement of landscaping which did not survive the initial planting and various other outstanding issues.
Despite the lack of execution of an agreement and despite the fact that the proposed residential development does not impact the area which is the subject of the OKRA agreement, the community and local councillor believe the TTC has an obligation to maintain the Oakvale green space and the green space backing onto Lydia Court and Seymore Avenue. They are opposed to residential development of any portion of the green space. The local councillor has indicated that she does not support the transfer of any portion of the green space to Parks and that the TTC should continue to maintain the property and live up to the verbal commitment given to the community with respect to maintenance of the green space when the parking lot was constructed.
In response to the community opposition, TTC staff recommend that the proposed residential development be abandoned and that the TTC continue to maintain the property. If the TTC is to maintain the property in the future, it is important that an agreement be executed with the local community for the entire green space area. The current draft agreement is not acceptable in its current form for the following reasons:
• Maintenance responsibilities are not clearly defined;
• Maintenance standards are not included;
• The agreement addresses only the Oakvale green space and does not include the area that was proposed for residential development (east of the TTC yard);
• Other issues, such as the use of green space for community events, insurance indemnification and security issues are not addressed in the agreement; and
• The agreement does not recognize the TTC’s future needs for the Fire Ventilation Upgrade Project.
Due to the above, staff propose to negotiate a comprehensive agreement by June 30, 2005 for the maintenance, security and use of the entire green space area to avoid misunderstandings in the future concerning the responsibilities of the various parties.
Meetings with the local community to negotiate the necessary agreements would be arranged in consultation with the local councillor.
Given past verbal commitments to the local community and the opposition to draft plans to develop part of the green space, the TTC should continue to maintain the green space. Comprehensive agreements with the local community are needed to clarify future roles and responsibilities for maintenance and other issues.
January 12, 2005
Attachments: Exhibit 1