Saturday, July 30, 2016

Format Group - Babak Sarshar illegally clearcuts trees for Toronto residential development

A development firm that cut down a grove of mature trees in North York didn't have a city permit and should face a "very substantial fine," Toronto Mayor John Tory says. Tory toured the neighbourhood in the Bayview Avenue and Bayview Ridge area Thursday after news emerged that some 30 trees, many more than 100 years old, were cleared to make way for an upscale housing development.

Format Group is building what it calls "an upscale community comprised of two blocks of exquisitely appointed homes." Format Group's Sina Saedin said his company acquired the necessary permits. Tory dismissed that claim and said no application was made to the city to remove the trees, some of which were on public land.
The maximum allowable fine for improperly cutting down a tree is $100,000, meaning a fine in the millions of dollars could be laid in this case. There is, however, no precedent for fines that significant.
“A judge will decide what is appropriate but I will be advocating for a very stiff fine if the law has been broken here,” Tory said. “You have to send a signal to this person and everyone else that you can’t treat this as a cost of doing business or some minor inconvenience. If we did that with every law this place would be in complete chaos and there would be no trees left.”
“Obviously it’s devastating for the neighbourhood,” said Councillor Jaye Robinson (Ward 25 Don Valley West). “It’s really deplorable. I’ve had phone calls from people in tears.” Robinson described the lot as having been “clear cut.”

'Every one of our projects is unique in its style and lives in harmony with the existing neighbourhood and enhances the surrounding community.'

Babak Sarshar - President, The Format Group, President, Terracomm Development Inc.
The Format Group ( - bills itself as "a combination of Terracomm Group and Pegah, ( - with over 40 years of combined experience, in the real estate development and construction, in the Greater Toronto Area ("GTA")."

2341853 Ontario Inc. was issued the development permit for 103 and 108 Bayview Ridge.

Ali Mohtashami, Pegah Construction, Terracomm

Moiz Behar, M Behar Planning & Design Inc.

Mario Patitucci, landscape architect

Shakeel Walji, Walsh Marketing

Sacha Singh, Remax West Realty Inc
The Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) approved townhouses and detached homes on the lots, each previously with a single-family home, at the north and south corners of Bayview Ridge at the intersection with busy Bayview Ave. Approval from the provincial appeal body came after neighbours objected to an application to the city for an official plan amendment and zoning bylaw amendment to allow something other than single-family homes.