Proposed luxury 'iceberg' home in Toronto drawing controversy
Seven Knightswood Road in Toronto. (Google Maps)
TORONTO -- A proposed home in Toronto that could exist mostly underground is seeing pushback from the area’s city councillor.
The owner of the property, located at 7 Knightswood Road in the Don Valley’s Hogg’s Hollow neighbourhood, applied for permission in 2020 to build what is colloquially known as an “iceberg home.”
An iceberg home, Toronto real estate agent Marco Momeni told CTV News Toronto on Friday, is “when [developers] build a bigger square footage underground [than above it].” He says it is a luxury trend that is often used to bypass height limits on construction.
“In cities such as Toronto, there are so many restrictions when it comes to constructing … homes — one of them is the height,” Momeni said. “So sometimes, they build a multi-level basement.”
The application for 7 Knightswood proposed that the home be permitted to extend almost 8 metres deeper than City of Toronto bylaws usually allow. Currently, homes are permitted to be 19 metres deep, yet the proposed build at 7 Knightswood will have a depth of just over 27 metres.
The owner also applied for permission to extend the length of the home by 10m more than city bylaws allow.
That application was approved in November 2020— the variances were deemed to be minor — and although the home has not been built yet, preparations have begun and it has recently drawn controversy.
City Councillor for Don Valley West, Jaye Robinson, says there are “serious environmental impacts” that come with the trend of iceberg homes.
“The serious environmental impacts of ‘iceberg houses’ are well-documented,” Robinson told CTV News Toronto on Friday.
“In other jurisdictions, iceberg houses have resulted in reduced soil permeability, increased runoff, compromised foundations in neighbouring homes, and added stress on stormwater infrastructure.”
Robinson says the build at 7 Knightswood was approved “despite objections from Urban Forestry and the community” and that she will be bringing the issue in front of city Council at the next opportunity.
However, Momeni says that, because iceberg homes are a thing of luxury, you shouldn’t expect to see a surplus of iceberg homes in your neighbourhood anytime soon.
“It's not for everybody … I don't believe it could be built everywhere.”