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Creative Techniques of Grouping Housing

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, creative methods were used by Erin Mills builders to construct single-family dwellings in groupings that increased density slightly, yet also served "to achieve high functional and visual standards of design in the residential environment." After Committee of Adjustment approvals, "detached" homes could be built on semi-lots, and "semi" homes could be built on townhouse lots. The image below shows a four-foot underground concrete wall that connected the foundations of two "detached" homes so that, for zoning purposes, they really are semis. The two houses built on those foundations could be opposite versions of the same model or two completely different models that complimented each other. The result was that homes appropriate for families were made more affordable,

Concrete Underground Link Makes a Pair of Detached Homes Semi-Detached.jpg

The approach by creative builders, of acquiring semi-lots, and then going to the Committee of Adjustment to ask for approval of "detached" link-homes on the semi-lots, was used in the Arbour Green neighbourhood. My street, Trellis Crescent, is a good example. It is located across the Folkway/Erin Mills Parkway intersection, to the northwest of 4099 Erin Mills Parkway. The 1979 image below is of the south end of Trellis Crescent. You can see the lampstands of Erin Mills Parkway and the future site of Michaelangelo's Plaza in the background. Here is a Google streetview from the same location in 2022 showing "detached" homes built on semi-lots.


Notice the sign at the far right with the mother duck leading the baby ducks down the future path through Trellis Trail Park to Michaelangelo's Plaza.

South end of Trellis Crescent lots with EMP and Michaelangelo's Plaza lot behind.jpg

Download a pdf copy of the Committee of Adjustment decision in 1978 that authorized the building of "detached" link homes on semi-lots.

What can we learn from this? Should QUEENSCORP build link semi's at Michaelangelo's Plaza? The point is that creative use of land for housing can be accomplished without a dramatic change in the Official Plan or in Zoning. The housing density of the land in our "neighbourhood shopping centre" can be gently increased to provide new family-sized housing units without losing our "Main Street". This can be accomplished by creative planning in a manner consistent with the original intent of Erin Mills as a "planned community". Surely QUEENSCORP's planners can design better use of the existing land that is not absurdly dense, not ridiculously high, and fits the neighbourhood.

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