Resident and business groups’ wishes have weight at city hall’s Sign Variance Committee

April 18, 2018

By Arianne Robinson

Members of the Sign Variance Committee decided not to allow a third party wall sign at 146 Bloor Street West, on Wednesday morning. The 7,500-square-foot building, which once housed the Cumberland movie theatre, is listed as part of EmTwo Properties’ portfolio.

Three out of the four members in attendance agreed that there was not enough evidence to prove the proposed sign is in the public interest, which is one of nine criteria that applicants need to overcome for a sign variance.

Two letters, from the ABC Residents Association and the Bloor-Yorkville Business Improvement Area, opposed the application for sign variance. One letter from the property owner of 130 Bloor Street West, stating that the sign would have no adverse effects on their property, supported the application.

“What greater public interest do you have in any community than the businesses and the residents?” Sign Variance Committee member Brian Huskins said at the meeting.

Briar de Lange, executive director of the BIA, confirmed via phone that the BIA does not support third-party signs “of any kind… whether it’s billboards, video displays, we don’t want the neighbourhood to look like Yonge-Dundas Square. That has its own identity. Our identity – we want the signage to relate to the businesses and the retailers that are active in the area.”

In the end, the four members were persuaded by the positions of the business and residents’ association.

“The neighbourhood folk, to me, have a strong voice on this,” Huskins said.