Joint Community Update on the Matador from Councillors Bailão and Layton

Dear Neighbours,

As we know that this is an issue of interest to many of you, we believe that it is important to provide you with a direct update with respect to the Matador, located at 466 Dovercourt Rd.

As the City Councillors for Ward 18 and 19, we feel proud and fortunate to have active live music venues such as Lula Lounge, the Drake Hotel, Revival, the Gladstone Hotel, the Garrison, Burdock, the Mod Club and many others in and nearby our community.

Over the years, these venues have not only added to Toronto's music scene, but they are also vital in helping to support existing and emerging artists – bringing with them countless cultural and economic benefits.

The owner of the Matador had recently reached out to us and expressed a willingness to engage with the community in an attempt to address some of the concerns expressed. This includes proposing a mix of uses including a restaurant, venue space, music studio, etc.

We recently helped to facilitate two meetings between the Matador and City officials to discuss zoning issues. This resulted in the Matador submitting a Preliminary Project Review (PPR) to the City in order for the proposed uses to be assessed under the Zoning by-law. More information on what a PPR is can be found here.

We have now been informed by the Matador that their proposed uses in their updated plan are not permitted under the present Zoning by-law for their property after the PPR process.

While we do not know the full details and context of this decision as of yet, this would be a decision that falls under the purview of City staff in Toronto Buildings and is based on what the Zoning by-law outlines as permitted uses for this property. This is not something that any Member of Council is able to direct or dictate what permitted uses would and would not be.

As a result of this decision, the City would be required to work within the existing Zoning by-law. However, there is an established process under the Planning Act that would require community input in order for the City to proceed with a process to consider changes to the Zoning by-law. This is a process that every proponent (whether a business owner or a developer) would have to follow if the zoning review does not allow proposed uses.

We are expressing today to the owners of the Matador and all community members that we would be pleased to work with everyone throughout this process if the Matador chooses this path. As a first step early last week, there was an offer to organize a meeting with the Matador to take place this week Wednesday. We have also offered to invite Toronto Buildings and City Planning to the meeting to get a better understanding of the decision and to discuss options available to the Matador.

In addition, last year the Toronto and East York Community Council requested that City Planning staff conduct a planning review of music venues on College Street between Shaw Street and Crawford Street to see how music venues can exist on main streets adjacent to thriving residential areas.

It will review the Zoning by-law provisions that regulate existing music and entertainment venues on that stretch of College St and consider measures to mitigate impacts of music venues on adjacent uses and neighbourhoods. City Planning staff are expected to report back to Community Council later this year with conclusions and recommendations on any necessary further action resulting from this review. We look forward to the results of this work.

As City Councillors, we have a duty to listen and balance the decisions of relevant bodies, by-laws and regulations with proponents and local residents in the hopes of achieving a community and City that all of us can be proud of. With many different opinions on a variety of issues, this work can be challenging, time consuming and a consensus can only be established when everyone is willing to work together.

This is the situation that we currently find ourselves in and we are focused on looking to the future to make our community a better place for everyone to live, work and play. We hope that you can agree with the need to look forward and that this update has been helpful. As this develops, we hope to work with everyone and to keep people informed in the coming weeks and months.

In community,

Councillors Ana Bailão and Mike Layton

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