Avenue Study – St. Clair Ave W. /Scarlett Rd and Keele St.

A (rather long) excerpt from the report provides a great overview and rationale regarding the need for avenue using the case study of Review for St. Clair Avenue West between Scarlett Road and Keele Street

COMMENTS On February 4, 5 and 6, 2003 Council adopted a report that identified criteria and a process for selecting priority Avenue studies. The criteria identified for the selection of Avenue studies were: The presence of vacant and underutilized lands with redevelopment potential; Significant potential to create new jobs and housing along transit lines; Existing zoning was acting as an impediment to area improvement and growth; A need for streetscape improvements; The study would coincide with scheduling of road reconstruction; A strong market exists for redevelopment and development pressure; Physical infrastructure can accommodate additional growth, or is scheduled to be expanded to do so;

There is demonstrable community support for an Avenue study;
A good geographic distribution of studies is achieved across the City;
Land use and design studies previously have been done for an area but not
implemented; and
Avenue Study/Land Use Review: St. Clair Avenue West between Scarlett Road and Keele Street The segment of St. Clair Avenue West between Scarlett Road and Keele Street is characterized by a mix of low rise industrial, commercial, residential and retail uses.

The properties that front onto St. Clair Avenue West range in size and configuration which has resulted in an inconsistent lot pattern within and between blocks. In addition, building placement, setbacks and massing vary from property to property resulting in a poorly defined street edge and pedestrian realm. Historically, this area was characterized by industrial and food processing uses. While a number of these uses remain, since the 1990’s new residential and commercial/retail uses have been introduced into the area. More recently, development applications have been either received or approved for large scale commercial development on some of the larger properties in the area. These new uses are changing the character of the avenue from a traditional manufacturing and industrial area to a more mixed use strip with buildings at the street edge. A class environmental assessment is underway to achieve a consistent four lane cross section between Gunns Road and Runnymede Road. In addition, City Council has approved undertaking an Environmental Assessment west of Gunns Road to extend the St. Clair streetcar to Jane Street. These initiatives will shape future sidewalk and roadway widths, access to local streets, streetscape opportunities and development potential in the area. This segment represents the last remaining portion of St. Clair Avenue West Avenue Corridor that has not been studied. Conducting a study of this remain in segment of St.
Clair Avenue West would complete the vision for the urbanization of this street that was initiated as part of the study for St. Clair Avenue from Bathurst to Keele Streets.
This portion of St. Clair Avenue West, unlike the majority of the Avenue east of Keele Street, has a different pattern of land use designations. Many of the land parcels are designated Neighbourhoods or Employment Areas. The Official Plan speaks to undertaking Avenue Studies on lands primarily designated as Mixed Used Areas. Policy states that “where a portion of an Avenue as shown on Map 2 is designated Neighbourhoods, or Parks and Open Space Areas the policies of Chapter Four will prevail to ensure that any new development respects and reinforces the general physical character of established neighbourhoods…”.
Given the varied characteristics of this portion of St. Clair Avenue West and the policies of the Plan, a somewhat different approach to studying this area is needed. To facilitate redevelopment of this area Staff would undertake a Land Use Review in conjunction with the Avenue Study. The purpose of the Land Use Review would be to determine whether the existing Land Use designations that apply to St. Clair Avenue West are appropriate and would permit the lands to redevelop in accordance with the vision that may result
from the Avenue Study. Lands west of Jane Street to Scarlett Road will be included within the scope of the Land Use of Review, in order to facilitate orderly redevelopment of this area. Of note, only those lands between Jane Street and Keele Street are identified as an Avenue on Map 2, the Urban Structure Map of the Official Plan. The Avenue Study would address the changing character of the area as well as the varied lot pattern to create a vision and identify opportunities for a comprehensive and consistent approach to redevelopment in the area. It also would assist in creating a
coordinated streetscape and pedestrian realm that would support and compliment any prospect for the future extension of the street car to Scarlett Road.

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