Toronto city council recently approved an area-specific amendment to its sign bylaw, to allow several oversized billboards to go up around the city, including one near Leslie Street and the 401.
According to an amendment report, published by the city of Toronto, an applicant proposed council establish regulations for an intended billboard at the Oriole GO station. It was projected to consist of “two rectangular sign faces, each with a vertical dimension of 4.27 m (14 ft) and horizontal dimension of 14.63 m (47.9 ft),” a “sign face area of approximately 62.47 m2 (672.4 sf) each,” and “a height of 22.86 m (75 ft).”
The applicant also proposed the sign faces be built in a “V-shaped” configuration, “within 60 m (196.8 ft) of a commercial residential sign district and located within 250 m (820.2 ft) and facing properties within commercial residential, institutional, open space, and residential sign districts.”
The report recognized the proposed face area, height, configuration, and location of the billboard were all in violation of the current sign bylaw.
Shelley Carroll, the councillor for the ward in which the billboard will be located, told CTV News it would be “too close” to residential areas, as well as North York General Hospital.
“This property sets all sorts of precedents,” Carroll said at city council last week. “It’s a precedent on the 401 we really don’t want to entertain.”
According to the CTV News report, Carroll previously tried to obtain support for rejection of the amendment last month, when she posted on her blog about the topic.
“The height of these billboards is important to the applicant, because the taller the installation, the more time cars have to absorb the images from a distance,” she wrote. “The problem is it also means the light from the billboard will cast into more and more residential windows.”
Ultimately, council chose to adopt the item, reported CTV News, along with three similar requests, all three times larger than what the current bylaw permits.