Toronto corner store at risk of closing over zoning dispute with city

While tensions are brewing between a local corner store and the city leaving this shop right here at risk of shutting down and the reason this cup of coffee we we followed the law according and and actually according to the our permits existing permits. Yana Miriv has owned Finch store on Dewson St. since 20/22. She quickly realized her sales wouldn't be sustainable. According to our license were allowed to self to serve refreshments and this is what we did We're serving coffee for to go. And the baked goods. In May 2023, Jana reached out to the licensing division asking if she could install a coffee machine with A to go only service. The following month, she received a reply saying that adding any services to the active license is permitted. Weeks later, though, she had a visit from a zoning bylaw officer, saying they'd received an anonymous complaint. He said that the complaint was backed up by multiple documentation drawings supporting the idea that we're we're not abiding the zoning by law. I was extremely surprised to hear that because we have an active license, one local resident decided to take action, spoke to the folks inside, and they didn't really seem to have any kind of online presence for it. And it's a topic that's kind of top of mind for a lot of people in Toronto right now, so I thought. You know, I've got some experience with the Internet, why not just help them out a little bit? The online petition has over 1500 signatures so far. Locals in the area are rallying behind her as well. So if these stores need to adapt and maybe offer some coffee in order to survive, why not? We reached out to the city. They tell us that the building at 42 Dewson Street is in a residential zone and a non residential commercial use is not permitted. That includes store staff preparing food or drinks or coffees for sales to patrons. A change of use requires zoning relief from the Committee of adjustment. For the business that it's a death sentence, I couldn't do that. Jana refused to voluntarily downgrade and says she still doesn't have written confirmation on what exactly she violated. She received a notice of a tribunal in February, but can continue to run her business as is until that happens. The city is proposing changes to these bylaws, with a final report for consideration expected later this year after public consultations. The problem is, is the timing. I don't know how long it's going to take for for the city to change the laws now. As for those consultations that the city is having, they're actually happening right now throughout the month of June. Now, As for the owner of Finch Store, Jana is actually waiting for a date with the tribunal hearing with the Municipal Licensing and Standards Division in downtown Toronto. AFIA Boss City News.

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