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Tag Archives: councillor

Heritage struggle over Dawlish Ave. home

Paola Loriggio – Open File

Another Lawrence Park home is fuelling the debate on property rights after city officials put it on a heritage list against the owners’ wishes.

City council voted July 6 to include 79 Dawlish Ave. in Toronto’s inventory of heritage properties, effectively mandating staff to keep tabs on the house and lot.

But the owners, Leonid and Milena Estrah, want to demolish the 1928 two-storey house, which was deemed structurally unstable last month by the engineering firm in charge of the inspection. They have argued the building’s history was never mentioned when they bought the property, which is assessed at $1,600,500, according to city records.

Theirs is the second house in the neighbourhood to shine a spotlight on the sometimes murky regulations governing land use, and the struggle when city, community and private interests clash.

Another property on the same street, 209 Dawlish, has become the focus of a neighbourhood campaign to stop the owners from building on land that many consider part of a ravine.

Councillor Cliff Jenkins (Ward 25, Don Valley West) was one of the strongest voices pushing to list 79 Dawlish on the heritage inventory. He says the change isn’t as restrictive as an official heritage designation under the Ontario Heritage Act, which would prevent any alteration of the building.

As it is, the Estrahs can still modify the house, provided heritage staff approve their plans, Jenkins said in a phone interview. And there’s a chance the pair will be able to go through with the demolition, the councillor said.

“I don’t want to presume to know the outcome,” he said. “If they can come to an agreement (with staff), they can go ahead.”

When contacted by OpenFile, homeowner Milena Estrah declined to comment.

Some have argued it is unfair to list the property after the owners have bought it, because it reduces its development potential. But the provincial law doesn’t take that into account, Jenkins said.

“I believe the law should be changed to provide some compensation in exchange for being stewards of a heritage property” in the form of property tax rebates or caps, he said.

With its steeply pitched roof, sash windows and asymmetrical massing, the house combines elements from Georgian and Cottage styles, architectural historian Marta O’Brien said this spring in a letter to council.

“In my experience, the design of this house is unique in our city,” O’Brien said. “In addition, it was designed and lived in by a very important 20th-century Toronto architect, Forsey Pemberton Page.”

Page and his partners designed many homes in Lawrence Park. His firm, Page and Steele, was behind many of the city’s landmark buildings, such as Benvenuto Place and the Queen Elizabeth Building.

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Contact the Jeffrey Team for more information – 416-388-1960

Laurin & Natalie Jeffrey are Toronto Realtors with Century 21 Regal Realty.
They did not write these articles, they just reproduce them here for people
who are interested in Toronto real estate. They do not work for any builders.

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