There is no blockbusting story in the city more maddening than Ned Godfrey's. For more than a decade he's been fighting runaway development in and around what used to be a quiet cul-de-sac in the Bayview-Sheppard area. He's been harassed, ignored by city politicians and shut out by developers in the process. Now, in the shadow of a massive condo development, the feisty homeowner fights to keep his sanity.
25 Barberry Place, east of Bayview, just south of the soon-to-be-operational Sheppard subway
It began in 89, when Godfrey spoke out against the aggressive tactics of developers who were frantically buying up properties in his neighbourhood in anticipation of the Sheppard subway and the added value the line would bring. He objected, and faced vicious verbal and anti-Semitic attacks.
What Godfrey says local politicians told him:
"They recognized what the developers were up to and they'd never allow blockbusting to happen, but they didn't want me to appeal and hold up the projects."
What Godfrey says city planners told him:
"I would be bought out like everyone else, because they didn't want to see an environmental disaster, with residential homes that close to a major development."
What actually happened
The city allowed conversion of Barberry Place from single-family homes into a throughway with four apartment towers --- two of 28 storeys and two of 20 storeys. But while some homes were purchased by the developer, Godfrey's is still on the market.
Amount developers paid to purchase other homes on Barberry: $1 million to $2 million
Number of times Godfrey has listed his home for sale since 1989: 44
The current assessed value of Godfrey's home: $392,000
Property taxes for 2001: $4,186
The allowable density on Godfrey's property: 3 to 4 storeys
Current status of house insurance: cancelled due to "risk" from surrounding development
Says Godfrey: "They devalued this property. Nobody will buy it. Nobody will rent it. My doctor told my wife and me that if we don't get out of this poisonous environment we're both going to suffer serious adverse health effects, either from pollution or stress."news