The extra-large house at 27 Fleming Cres. in Leaside will be demolished by owner Haim Hirshberg.
The announcement came at the North York committee of adjustment meeting on Thursday, May 7 when planner Franco Romano, speaking on behalf of Hirshberg, asked for a deferral in order to tear down the existing structure and submit new plans for a two-storey house.
Robert Ellis, next-door neighbour to the house that’s been under construction since 2012, asked the committee to approve the deferral, but with the conditions that the community be provided a copy of the plans for the new home and that the owner have a community consultation regarding it.
The house, originally built by a numbered company that later declared bankruptcy, ran afoul of its neighbours from the early stages. Ellis took issue with discrepancies in the architectural plans, as well as work continuing after the original home was demolished without a permit, among other grievances.
Complaints to the city resulted in stop-work orders being placed against the builder, though work continued. Construction finally ceased when the city threatened legal action. The case went to the committee of adjustment last May, where it was deferred. Then-owner Sam Delic sold the house to Hirshberg in December.
Romano requested on May 7 that the committee of adjustment consider the community consultation portion completed, because of one held a few weeks earlier in which dozens of angry neighbours expressed their concerns with Hirshberg. The 20 or so local residents attending committee of adjustment meeting groaned at the suggestion of bypassing a community consultation.
The committee, which makes rulings on what is allowable regarding a building’s height, depth and width, then unanimously approved the deferral, requesting the owner hold a community consultation on the new plans before coming back to the committee for approval of the new building.
Ellis said the community “definitely” got everything it had hoped for out of the meeting, and credited the residents who showed up in numbers with helping the decision go their way.
“Exhaustion is a factor here,” he said, adding the fight has been ongoing for three years. “But the fact people are willing to show up in droves like this after three years, as opposed to just saying give him whatever he wants, that’s important.”
Councillor Jon Burnside said he stepped out of a city council meeting so he could be at the committee of adjustment meeting to show his support for the community.
“There seems to be an attitude among some developers in the city that it’s easier to ask forgiveness than it is permission,” he said. “I came here prepared to say no — if you don’t have permission, you don’t have permission. End of story.”