In a city where soaring towers, new mansions and architectural showcase projects sprout every week, the discretely designed four-storey luxury apartment proposal for a south Rosedale ravine lot hardly seemed like a ticking time bomb when it was submitted two years ago.

But the application – which is hurtling toward an Ontario Municipal Board showdown – has triggered an impressively nasty feud between two factions of Rosedale homeowners, featuring accusations of a hijacked planning process, a coup within the local ratepayers association and vast sums spent on consultants.

At the heart of this civil war is the contentious question about whether the neighbourhood’s 15-year-old heritage conservation district (HCD) bylaw, ostensibly meant to protect architecturally significant houses and the area’s character, can be weaponized to block any intensification in an exclusive enclave.

The fight, in fact, has exposed a paradox buried deep in south Rosedale’s HCD designation: While the area’s contemporary ambience is formed from the eclectic mix of stately Edwardian homes and the smattering of low-rise apartments that dot the neighbourhood, it is highly unlikely the latter could ever be developed today. Read More..