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Town answers more questions in advance of Lesson’s Learned meeting

June 18, 2015 at 9:01 pm

After finding out the Lesson’s Learned would not be the place to receive the answers to several questions that remained unanswered at the “workshop format” it looks like the Town will proceed with I reminded Bob Shelton we still want and deserve answers.  These answers were published yesterday on the Town’s website.  Here is a sampling:

1. Why were no Town staff called as witnesses to support the Town’s position at the OMB hearing?
Town staff did not play a role in reviewing the application and/or providing a professional planning opinion to Council. Council instead hired an outside planning consultant (Ms. Victor) to, in effect, act as staff on this application and to process the application and make recommendations to Council.
Council did not hire Ms. Victor to defend the Official Plan, but rather to process the application and provide a professional planning opinion and recommendations to Council.
Because staff did not play an active role in reviewing and/or processing the application (other than to provide administrative support to Ms. Victor), staff could not be called upon to provide evidence on the appropriateness of the application at the OMB.
In the event Council had not hired Ms. Victor and instead staff had made a specific recommendation to Council, staff’s position at the OMB would have been in support of the staffs recommendations in their professional opinion, and not just to support Council’s position. For example, in instances where Council does not agree with staff recommendations, it cannot then ask staff to defend Council’s decision at the OMB and it must decide whether it wants to hire its own professional planner (as was the case here) to defend its position.
2. How can the Planner for the GPA come up with points and a strategy to challenge Marianneville’s proposal and the Town did not?
At Council’s direction following the referral of the plan to the OMB, Town staff contacted 10-12 planning consulting firms, both locally and from across the Region, in an effort to find a professional planner that could support Council’s position. In addition to specific conversations with the firms, staff also provided background reports and Town planning documents for their review where requested.
Upon reviewing the application and the available documents, only one of the planning consulting firms was able to support Council’s position.
Although the GPA was able to find a planner to support Council’s position, the OMB was not swayed by that professional’s evidence and instead preferred the argument and evidence of the developer’s consulting planner and that of Ms. Victor who appeared at the OMB Hearing for this Phase under subpoena by the developer.

Having read these several times it seems that the Town is giving us the impression that it did everything it could and if there is fault it lies elsewhere!  As we were intimately involved in at least some aspects of the defence discussions for the OMB hearing this is a very mysterious and somewhat oblivious position to take.

This lack of openess to constructive criticism is a bad sign leading up to the Lesson’s Learned meeting – June 23rd from 7-9pm at the Newmarket Senior’s Center located at 474 Davis Drive.

I encourage you to read these reponses and the Q&A provided at our last public meeting and come out to the Lesson’s Learned and provide how you feel the Town should have handled better development applications and the OMB.

NEW LOCATION – Get ready for June 23rd’s Lessons Learned Public Meeting!

June 8, 2015 at 8:14 am

We hope as many of you as possible can make the Town’s Lesson’s Learned meeting – 7 to 9pm, June 23rd at the Newmarket Seniors’ Meeting Place, 474 Davis Drive.

Come prepared with at 1 or 2 things that made you scratch your head duirng the “process” that shout Why does it take so long to get answers and when we do they are generic boilerplated or Why did the Town not have a strategy or put up a defence of its Official Plan at the OMB hearing when that is exactly the reason it voted to fight at the OMB!

Check out the answers to your questions (Glenway Preservation Association Questions and Answers) from the last public meeting where the Town reviewed the OMB decision on Glenway and gave a glimpse on what actions are soon coming.

In preparation for this meeting a few questions come to mind:

  1. Who specifically from the Town has responsibility for development issues? External resources are used all the time and in the case of Glenway even an external planner was used. It was clear that a lack of direction was given to this planner to defend our Official Plan. This was the reason the Town fought the OMB on the Glenway file.
  2. Knowing the Glenway lands were up for sale as early as 2008 why didn’t the Town take steps in the 2010 Official Plan review to strengthen zoning by-laws or a long term open green space plan for things the Town needs to be a healthy vibrant community as we almost double in population the next 25 years.
  3. Why didn’t the Town know to address GO transit co-location as far back as 2004 when the EG GO Hub was opened. The GO Bus location was key in the OMB decision to intensify Glenway. Why wasn’t this part of Secondary Growth Plan with the hundreds of millions being spent on Davis and starting soon on Yonge Street.
  4. The Town couldn’t seem to respond in a timely manner to review the “completed” development application in the 180 days allotted. Throughout the process the Town didn’t have needed planning input from the developer to even deem the application complete for a review..
  5. Why wasn’t the Town more prepared with a strategy, expert witnesses,planning arguments and use of Town staff to defend itself at an OMB hearing?
  6. Will their be a independant Construction Manager that is accesible 24/7 for noise, traffic, work hours, debris issues, etc…  Too many problems have occurred that can easily be avoided if the rules are followed.

 

We should all expect responsibility, accountability and transparency when it comes to how our Town Council and Staff conducts itself on our behalf!

This is to be a Town-wide Lesson’s Learned and not just Glenway to better equip the Town to defend it’s Official Plan and to develop not just for the benefit of a developer but the Town in general – what we need for a healthy vibrant community long term.

We hope to see you there and bring your suggestions to the Town.

Here is what the Townhouse Condo site (former clubhouse site) looks like

February 26, 2015 at 4:22 pm

Attending the Public Information Center Feb 24th a few thoughts come to mind…

  1. We want similar brick and stone housing that matches brick colours used in neighbouring houses
  2. We want mature trees preserved as they provide drainage, shade and transform CO2 into oxygen.  Saplings take up to 20 years to offer such benefits.
  3. We need to ensure residents fight not to have ugly concrete noise barriers along Eagle.  Prefer natural berm or hedge or if necessary wood.
  4. Residents need park space for recreation.  Let’s push for a maintained trail system.
  5. Bike trails help slow traffic as well as provide a safer lane for bicycles.  Let’s push for visible bike trails.

The Town wants your input!  You can send these thoughts and some of your own to Linda Traviss at the Town at ltraviss@newmarket.ca no later than March 6, 2015

Here are some pictures:

PIC Overview

PIC 2 storyLHSPIC 2 storyRHSPIC 3story

Residents questions answered by Town Staff

February 15, 2015 at 12:19 pm

Resudents had a good opportunity of asking any question on their minds regarding the OMB decision that was pro-development and what can be expected as the development project moves forward.

Residents received a good presentation from CAO, Bob Sheltonthat took them through details of what to expect since the OMB decision last April.  Details also came out regarding discussions on the west lands of Glenway.  We can expect a formal application for development of holes 13,17 and 18 in the next few months.

A panel made up of Mayor Tony Van Bynen, Regional Councillor John Taylor, Town CAO Bob Shelton, Commissioner for Development and Infrastructure Development Peter Noehammer and Ward 7 Concillor Christina Bisanz answered all questions posed from residents during the evening.  In addition, the Town pre-prepared answers to over 20 questions (attached – Glenway Preservation Association Questions and Answers)

If you have further questions please direct them through Ward 7 Concillor, Christina Bisanz at cbisanz@newmarket.ca

Upcoming Public Information Centers (PIC) and Public Information Opportunities

February 15, 2015 at 12:17 pm

PIC and PIS

 

Residents will have the opportunity to have detailed information and input into Community Site Plan’s and Plans of Subdivision that will take place throughout 2015.

For residents concerned about Phase 1 development issues of compatibility, drainage or the number of issues during construction (traffic, parking, dust, debris, noise, hours of construction, etc…) there is a PIC on the former lands of the Glenway clubhouse

February 24th from 6-8pm – Cane Rms A&B at Town of Newmarket offices at 395 Mulock Drive

Full list of information opportunities is attached (PUBLIC INFORMATION CENTRES AND PUBLIC INPUT OPPORTUNITIES)

GPA – 2015 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

February 14, 2015 at 4:37 pm

Thursday February 12, 2015
Crosslands Church, Newmarket – 9 p.m.

Chairperson: Brian Gard

1.   Call to Order and Welcome – Brian Gard

2.  Presentation of March 4 2014 AGM minutes
Motion: to accept the 2014 AGM minutes as presented
Moved: Ethan Vos Seconded: Mike Lanthier

3.  GPA Priorities for 2015 – Brian Gard
-complete review of OMB decision to determine impact on residents
-participate in the “Lessons Learned” meeting led by the Town
-determine the future mandate for the GPA

4. Treasurer’s Report – Lois Macdonnell; read by Brian Gard
Motion: treasurer’s report will be received as presented
Moved: Deb Pope Seconded: Gord Tozer

5. Election of GPA Executive
No nominations were received for any position. The three remaining officers agreed to hold their position until after the Lesson’s Learned meeting.
Chair: Vacant
Vice Chair: Dave Sovran
Treasurer: Lois Macdonnell
Secretary: Kelly VanHemert
Motion: to acclaim the current individuals to their executive positions
Moved: Ethan Vos Seconded: Mike Lanthier

6.  Questions and closing remarks
Motion: that the meeting be adjourned
Moved: Gord Tozer Seconded: Lois Macdonnell

Cost of the OMB hearing a paltry $588,291

February 4, 2015 at 2:50 pm

I appreciate the fact we finally cleared the air on the real costs on the Town’s decision to defend it’s Official Plan when it challenged Marianneville’s development application of Glenway at the OMB.

“Value for money” is not how I would title this post (so I didn’t).  Please direct your comments to the Town of Newmarket for more details or questions.

Read the Town’s report:  http://www.newmarket.ca/recreationplaybook/resourcelibrary/05-cs-diinformationreport2015-02mariannewile-glenway.pdf

 

Read more:  Gordon Prentice’s Shrink Slessor Square blog

Background information on Site Plan for Block 159 (area of former clubhouse)

February 2, 2015 at 9:46 am

To help residents who want more information on the happenings on January 19th in Council regarding Glenway we have navigated through the Town of Newmarket website and if you click on the link – http://newmarket.siretechnologies.com/sirepub/mtgviewer.aspx?meetid=326&doctype=AGENDA

Listen to Marianneville’s review of site plan along with Council’s comments and motions.

I think it is important to notes several comments that as a resident you may wish to review including:

  • Comments made by Marianneville about Block 159 (74 Townhouses) and the lands directly west of Eagle (40 homes) being part of the initial phase of housing:  fast forward to 24:00
  • Regional Councillor Taylor’s remarks on clarifying phasing to the overall context – more transpiracy to the remainder of development: fast forward to 40:08
  • Councillor Kerwin’s remarks on “the sooner we move forward…” “…we had the opportunity to purchase the land and didn’t…” and “the Town has spent over $1M to date:  fast forward to 54:47.
  • Councillor Bisanz’s remarks to share with residents a Public Information Centre:  fast forward to 59:54
  • Councillor Kerwin’s remarks “this has been very costly to this municipality – almost $1M…”: fast forward to 1:06:41

In the end the motion to proceed to a Public Information centre (PIC) by Councillor Bisanz was approved which will be February 24th in Council Chambers.

It should be very informative session and we hope you bring your questions.  The GPA may be posing questions as well as it relates to the community interface as previously discussed with the Town.

Notes from January 19th Site Plan Meeting in Town Council Chambers

January 20, 2015 at 7:09 pm

Even though Glenway has been approved for housing development a site plan is required for any parcels within development applications that are multi-family semi-detached or higher density housing (basically anything that is not a single family detached house).

On Monday afternoon Marianneville presented a site plan to build 74 Townhouses where the Clubhouse once resided.  These will be a combination of 2 and 3 storey condo units beautifully arranged  to maximize just how many people can you shoehorn into a complex.  In addition, 40 single family detached houses are slated for what was the 4th hole on the east side of Eagle St.

It was clear at this meeting that a lot of discussions had taken place between Town staff and Marianneville to get to this point.  According to Town staff they expect several further iterations before any final decisions are made.  We expect the Town to provide a more detailed accounting of activities as a timeline to keep residents informed.

Marianneville’s planner, Richard Zelinka, told everyone that the site development will not impact the rest of Glenway.  Then he proceeded to tell everyone that throughout Glenway mature trees will be dug up and transplanted into the new development.  From our experience with McGregor Farm issues with tree removal and replacement this is exactly the kind of information that our community wants input into.

Ensuing discussions saw Councillor Dave Kerwin say that no further public input was necessary.  He added casually, “We had the opportunity to purchase the land and we didn’t”.   The GPA looks forward to hearing more details about this and we equally expect the opportunity (as promised) to have further input into how the next phase moves forward.

Thankfully our newly elected Ward 7 Councillor, Christina Bisanz effectively countered that for site plan meetings like this the public should have more notice than the 4 days we had received.   Councillor Kerwin’s motion to “just get it over and done with” was soundly defeated.

Regional Councillor Taylor also asked about the phasing of the development and timelines.   Neither Town Staff nor Marianneville seems prepared or willing to share details at this time.  We should expect a timeline and we should expect more information on the overall plan.

The meeting ended as Councillor Bisanz motioned for a Public Information Center (PIC) prior to any decision regarding this site plan.  The vote was easily approved.

For another point of view please view Gordon Prentice post – Read More.

Ensure you attend the Feb 12th Community Meeting to hear the what is happening in Glenway! – Read More

How does the leaked memo affect Glenway Residents?

October 6, 2014 at 1:47 pm

Some of you may have received a copy of a confidential Memo from the Town of Newmarket at your home related to the west Glenway lands, or read about this in the Thursday edition of The Era.  The memo in question was delivered by John Blommesteyn, one of the Ward 7 candidates for the upcoming municipal election and the husband of Ward 6 Councilor Maddie DiMuccio.

Understandably the Glenway community is wondering what the memo means, and why it was leaked three days before Council had agreed to make it public.

The memo indicates that the Town of Newmarket had approached Marianneville (the developer) to inquire whether any of the Glenway West lands would potentially be for sale in advance of Marianneville submitting its next application for development of these lands.  This is something that we have been anticipating would happen given the OMB ruling against the GPA and Town’s argument that the development as a whole did not meet the principle of development.

It is our understanding that the memo was provided to Council in response to its direction to Town staff, to consider all the options potentially available in order to determine whether any of the remaining golf course lands could be spared from development. The memo addresses one component that was under consideration – whether Marianneville would be prepared to sell a portion of the lands to the Town of Newmarket. The memo also indicates, as we expected, that the developer would likely file an application to develop the west Glenway lands within the year.

Here is our take on the situation.

The premature release of this confidential document is not only inappropriate but it potentially harms the ability for the Town to negotiate with the developer for fair market purchase of the land in the future. While the public is now aware of that, there may now be other parties come forward with an interest in purchasing these lands that could ‘up the ante’ and even include land which was previously assumed to be ‘undevelopable‘, such as those situated on the edge of the Oak Ridges Moraine.

As a community, we need to be aware that the premature leakage of this document was a political stunt by a would-be Ward Councilor and abetted by a Council insider (3 guesses) who again has demonstrated her lack of respect for the rules of confidentiality.   Members of the Glenway Preservation Association have put hundreds of volunteer hours and our own dollars into fighting for Glenway—because we live here.  We must continue to stand together to ensure our community is represented for the right reasons and in the right way, and not play games with our future as the approved development moves forward, and a new application eventually gets submitted.

Mr. Blommesteyn does not live in Glenway or in Ward 7, and was never involved in or supportive of our fight until it became politically expedient for him to do.  He was quoted in the Era Banner as stating that this development found its way to the OMB because the Town missed a deadline and therefore missed an opportunity to find a better solution for the community.  The fact of the matter is that no Town with an application of this scale would have been able to meet the timeline imposed by the Planning Act.  In fact, even as the process moved to the OMB pre-hearing many months later, the developer had still not yet responded to the Town’s demands for modifications to their application.  The planning process as it exists now clearly tips the table in favour of the developer, who can simply include an OMB appeal into their standard approach.  If Mr. Blommesteyn wishes to represent the community effectively, he must make himself aware of the facts of what we’ve gone through, the planning process and the very limited options available when dealing with, and attempting to negotiate with a developer.

Let’s not allow someone to play political games with our homes and our future.  This affects both our Ward and our Town as we continue local intensification initiatives.  As a community, we are still owed an important ‘Lessons Learned’ meeting from this Council as we ourselves look to better understand how Council and Staff can better serve the needs of our community.