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.

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

Chair of GPA takes leave of absence to run for Ward 7 Councillor

October 6, 2014 at 1:45 pm

Christina Bisanz, Chair of the GPA advised the Executive that she would be stepping down from the chair position during the municipal election campaign. If you wish to contact her she can be reached at Christina@Bisanz4ward7.com or through her website at  www.bisanz4ward7.com.

The GPA Executive has held preliminary discussions about its future role. While we still await the written order of the OMB adjudicator in order to advocate that the Town fulfill its commitment to hold a “lessons learned” meeting along with an information session for the Glenway community to advise residents of the specific details of the Marianneville development, we recognize that there are a number of issues still be to dealt with. This includes the future of the west Glenway lands.

The members of the GPA Executive have allocated hundreds of volunteers hours to this issue, with commitment and passion. As we move into the next phase of managing this issue, there is a need for additional perspectives and expertise. We therefore invite new people from the community. More on this in the months to come.

The GPA does not endorse any political party or candidate!

June 8, 2014 at 8:12 pm

Recently it was brought to our attention that a facsimile reproduction of the Glenway Preservation Association’s lawn sign – which still remains on many lawns throughout our community – was used on a local candidate’s brochure as an inference of that person’s support to our cause, with the implication that another candidate did not provide similar support.  Several GPA members have taken exception to what they perceive to be the unauthorized and inappropriate use of our lawn signs (albeit a photo-adjusted version) as an “endorsement” of a candidate.

While the GPA has always appreciated whatever support that we have received from politicians at all levels of government, we have steadfastly remained non-partisan in our advocacy on behalf of the Glenway community.

We have not, nor will we, endorse or support the use of our material, logo, website or social media to promote political agendas.

Our role is to work with all levels of government, and with all political parties, to influence the change that we believe is required to protect community interests from unwanted development.  Further, as noted in our recent e-mail blast to the community, we continue to insist on a community meeting to discuss “lessons learned” from the devastating decision of the OMB, along with open transparency from Newmarket Council regarding the process and decisions that lead to the final settlement between the Town and Marianneville.  Finally, we recognize that there is a broader need to advocate for reforms to the OMB process itself, so that other communities can avoid experiencing losses similar to what has happened here.

Members of the community may wish to refer to an article recently published in the Newmarket Banner, which highlights the position of all provincial candidates on the question of OMB reform. http://www.yorkregion.com/news-story/4560160-newmarket-aurora-candidates-does-omb-need-to-be-revamped-/#.U5ThfUa5vZo email.  Our view on this is that legislative change is necessary.  The OMB remains an anomaly – a quasi-judicial body that unilaterally can take decisions in a format that is unfamiliar to communities, disadvantages both residents and municipal councils financially to defend themselves, and of course by definition, favours developers who have focus their applications on exploiting these facts.   We believe the OMB needs to be radically altered or completed replaced by a more effective planning approach.

Call for Town led community meeting – we all want to know!

June 5, 2014 at 3:08 pm

We have been hearing from an increasing number of residents (both inside and outside of Glenway) on the lack of follow-up proceeding the OMB decision to allow for the development application to proceed on April 23rd.

For some time now we have been patiently asking and waiting for debrief on the detail on behalf of the community and remain concerned that important decisions that affect this future development are still being made behind closed doors.

The truth is, we find it inappropriate that up to this point, the Town is leaving the GPA to answer questions that rightly Staff and Council should be responding to.

Write a quick note reminding our Ward Councillor, Mayor and Regional Councillor you want this meeting in June!

Chris Emanuel – cemanuel@newmarket.ca
Tony Van Bynen – mayor@newmarket.ca
John Taylor – jtaylor@newmarket.ca

Recently email trail:

DSovran reminder request

DRuggle response

Response to DRuggle

A future taxpayer has this to say about development of Glenway

May 2, 2014 at 11:09 am

Hello,

My name is Erin Kurtz and I live in the Town of Newmarket, in the subdivision Glenway. Our golf course, that majority of us in this subdivision back on to, was bought by developers a few years ago. Of course, they have proposed the development of part of our wonderful green space. This is devastating to the residents of Glenway, some of us who have lived here for many years and love our green space and not having houses in our backyard. This is one of the things that makes our subdivision unique and beautiful.

We stand united – we do not want houses built on our golf course. This also goes against the Town of Newmarket’s plan – this space was never meant to be houses. Newmarket has grown so rapidly over the past few years – fields everywhere are turning into houses. I hardly think that building these houses on our green space are essential to the Town’s growth. And they agree. The Town has stood by us and is also against the development of our golf course. However, the Town was easily overruled in Phase 1 by the OMB. This obviously comes as a huge disappointment to us all. We are appalled that the OMB can so easily overrule our town. This has a big impact on our community, and for someone who is so detached from this area to be able to make a decision on whether or not houses are built literally in OUR backyards is hardly right. This has the biggest impact on the residents of our neighbourhood and our town and we get the least say.

Now, as I understand, there has been a bill proposed – Bill 141 – that would prevent the development of Glenway. It’s purpose is to require more principled, evidence-based and strategic long-term planning of infrastructure. It also supports protection of the environment. I hear that it has passed second reading.

I am asking you for the sake of our neighbourhood to seriously consider passing this bill. Put yourself in our shoes and I’m sure you would feel the same way. It is not fair for our community and others like ours to fall at the mercy of the OMB for something as important to us as this. It would greatly restore our faith in the Ontario government that they DO care about our individual communities and have the capability to look deeper than Ontario as a whole.

I am 15 years old – I have a lot of voting years ahead of me. I would like to think that I can count on the provincial government for something as important as this. I believe that this bill would greatly impact each individual community for the better and would help to make Ontario as a whole a better place. So, once again, I am asking you to seriously consider this bill. It would mean the world to us and for other communities who have also faced developers. Please don’t let them ruin our neighbourhood – my home.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

<Editors note – Erin is referencing Bill 41, Preserving Existing Communities Act, 2013>

Dave Sovran’s deputation at Phase 2 OMB Hearing – April 23rd

April 23, 2014 at 8:35 pm

Madame Chair,

Thank-you for this final opportunity for the Glenway community to make a few comments with respect to this settlement offer, and to this process in general.

First, as we were excluded from this and previous negotiations, and only received the final documentation for this settlement at the end of day yesterday, we are not in a good position to comment effectively on specifics. Top line: it appears at least that the Town has worked hard to ensure some element of control over the building process through a strict application of its various by-laws and oversight of the more technical components, which although cold comfort at this time will undoubtedly be appreciated once the bulldozers start showing up.

Secondly, we can only say that we are thankful in some ironic way that the negotiation process is over, for fear that we start seeing a plans featuring 800 housing units with houseboats on the storm water ponds.  Clearly, what the community understands about negotiation does not align with what has transpired over the past 3 years, as the unit count proposed by the proponent has only ever risen.

So let me start by saying that the community strongly opposes this settlement.  Again, not to diminish some potential small wins contained within this documentation, this settlement represents in our view a significantly overbuilt vision of these lands that is challenged with shoehorning throughout what, for 30 years, has been a quiet, stable residential neighbourhood.  We heard your reasons as to why these lands were open to development, and so we have to accept that, despite the fact that it is contrary to what the municipality and the community ever contemplated in the vision for this Town.  That being said, permitting some development and planning for alternate land uses vs. putting housing units on every available square foot, are what for us is so difficult to accept.  So let us start with that.

Scope and Scale

Yes we are a community group of ʻlayʼ persons, representing a very large community in Newmarket, and today we are not represented by our planner or lawyer. From all the policy talk from the Phase 1 Hearing though, we heard a myriad of vague terminology, subjective interpretations, and, also, some quantitative  components that were debated and discussed regarding targets, minimums and caps vs. no caps.

We heard that despite the municipality designating a growth corridor for directing growth and intensification, that ʻlimited intensificationʼ is basically permitted throughout the built boundary.  We heard that space must be ʻoptimizedʼ. I must say, that in the business world that I came from, if one had used this sort of language in the board room, one wouldnʼt have lasted long. So upon reflecting at what ʻlimited intensificationʼ actually means, when we turn to this settlement it indicates that almost doubling the units in a pecific geography constitutess ʻlimitedʼ. We find this perplexing to say the least. There are currently 809 homes listed on the Townʼs GIS list of homes that are directly affected by these applications, and adding 742 units would be far more accurately described as a ʻsignificantʼ intensification. But then, the policy language is so vague that having to have an expensive process with a room full of planning and legal experts crystal ball gaze this level of development is even more confounding to us.

Our community, as many others in the GTA, are experiencing unbridled expansive growth, and through this process we are not convinced that the appropriate context has been discussed and appreciated in the context of this specific settlement.

Impact on the Neighbourhood of this Settlement

Traffic:

At this time, there is an approved development of 185 homes to our immediate west, a 700 home application awaiting approval immediately north of us, a York Regional building anticipated on the corner of Yonge and Eagle, and now this settlement for 742 units.  Add to that, an  approved set of condos on the growth corridor 2 blocks away on the corner of Yonge and Davis with planned parking for 1,100 vehicles.  In all in this geographically small corridor, with a large mall in-between, we are looking potentially an additional 5,500 more vehicles in this space, with traffic gridlock and neighbourhood safety issues a growing concern. Already, traffic diversion has become a big concern in this Town and a community group has already arisen as it has become apparent that motorists are seeking any alternative routes they can in order to avoid the unavoidable congestion that is occurring throughout the Town.

With respect to this settlement, we have real concerns about a) becoming one more of those traffic diversion routes (and actually, at least two of our streets already are) and b) how this could impact both street safety and the safety of the many children in throughout the neighbourhood.

We note that an updated traffic report has been requested of the developer, but frankly have found that there seems to be a gap between what the technical numbers in such reports conclude vs. what the day to day reality is.

Built Form:

In terms of built form, this is a community of almost exclusively single family residential units with the exception of a five story coop building at the north end of Crossland Gate.  We feel that the attempt to insert multi-unit condos on the inside of these lands and interspersed with the other homes – in what will have to become an ʻintegratedʼ neighbourhood, changes the character of the community and puts pressure on the space that exists between emerging and stable residential neighbourhoods. Squeezing such a building against the hydro corridor does not seem like good planning; expanding the corridor however could contribute to a more spacious and useable transportation corridor for cycling and pedestrian uses.

In general, intensification with these condo buildings along Highway 9, while not ideal, would at least place them at the periphery of the neighbourhood, consistent with the approach of the existing condo building on Crossland Gate.

All this having been said, it is difficult to visualize what ʻcondo residentialʼ is and how it will actually conform to the characteristics of the existing neighbourhood.

Green Corridor and Active Transportation:

In discussions going back over a year, we had requested consideration of a green corridor that linked directly to the planned Active  Transportation corridors being planned by Staff.  Glenway is currently not well served in terms of this type of ʻlinkageʼ going across Yonge St. and meeting with the older Newmarket neighbourhoods to the east.  The intent here would have created a logical, and ʻgreenʼ linkageʼ or connection that would have carried beyond the green space allocated on the east portion and as well linking with the stormwater pond green space, allowing a corridor that would carry north to the pond at the entrance of the community and then cross highway 9 to link to an established trail system there.  We recognize that a hydro corridor on the western side is in place – and we feel that one on the eastern side is equally consistent with creating this activity network linkage for the increase population on the other side of Crossland Gate.

The School:

While the site allocation for the school is clearly the jurisdiction of the York Regional District School Board, in their own words, the site they identified and that was allocated to them by the developer is ʻfar from idealʼ. So yet another example of planning gone awry in our opinion; weʼre being asked to send our elementary aged school children to a location beside the GO Bus Terminal and Highway 9. Again, this does not seem like good planning to our way of thinking.

 Character of the Neighbourhood:

The final straw that removes from our neighbourhood its key characteristic of ʻactive recreationʼ is by removing a fitness facility (certainly the developerʼs choice) and creating commercial space for a gas station at the entrance to our community.  Adding insult to injury, this is an unnecessary location when a commercial strip exists just up the road east of Yonge Street.  The end result is that what was once a benchmark planned neighbourhood will be allowed to be brought down to a mediocre streetfront as any other cookie cutter development south of this community – a community that the residents made a choice of moving to because it wasnʼt exactly what is to be found south of here.

Madame Chair, we were essentially admonished for cherishing our green space…..because it wasnʼt ours to own and cherish. That having been said, it was still the intent of our Official Plan, through community consultation, to maintain the green characteristics of this neighbourhood despite the sale of the lands.  We always understood that some alternate land-use could be applied to these lands, but find the current settlement removes forever one of the rare tracts of green space remaining in the community, without the community having the opportunity to input into how this could be better planned.

We heard however from you that, if I understand correctly, errors of omission have been made in the past that apparently sealed our fate with respect to this or other individual site development applications.  What we were nevertheless seeking was a thread of logic that permitted a less intensive development that better serves the needs of current and future residents of this Town and aligns with the Town ʼs OP overarching objectives of sustainable growth, sustainable transportation initiatives and healthy communities.

The Town has, through this negotiation, chosen to do what so many other municipalities do, and that is to ʻsettleʼ in order to avoid expenses which they feel they cannot afford, while the competition across the room so easily can.  This ʻsettlementʼ does not, in our view, offer anyone in Newmarket, or in the Glenway community, ʻgood planningʼ nor a ʻgoodʼ outcome. It benefits one party only.

Thank you for your time.

What we suggested to the Town to be negotiated

April 12, 2014 at 3:36 pm

Following the devastating conclusion of Phase 1 of the OMB process, the community has been asking “What happens next”.   We wanted everyone to know that the GPA has continued to be engaged in the OMB process, which we have formally been advised is heading into Phase 2.   As you know, we vehemently disagreed with the OMB adjudicator’s ruling at the end of Phase 1.   To us, the decision was a reaffirmation of our belief that the planning process has been broken for some time.   From the start, we held fast to our belief that any Town should be able to control details on growth and intensification if it is meeting its objectives passed down by Regional and Provincial government.   The fact that a third party such as the OMB can rule against a municipality’s Official Plan, and the interests of the community that makes up that municipality, suggests the need for a major policy change in this province.

We believe that the current Planning Act, Growth Plan and intensification requirements put all municipalities in a position whereby compliance with current policy requirements is a moving and unlikely target to meet.   In the case of Newmarket, and our situation specifically, we believe the best result for the Town, Region and the Province would more appropriately have been achieved through an Official Plan review process scheduled for 2015.  As the golf course lands were sold in 2010, such an approach would make much more sense. It would have provided all parties an opportunity to look at planning for this property as well as the effects on adjacent lands, Regional roads, provincial schooling, and the Town’s overall needs going forward.  Our Town has, and will continue to have, many needs that are not simply related to residential housing (for example, we’ve heard suggestions for a Center for Arts, Conference Centre, seniors’ friendly village) all that can leverage open space for public use.  Glenway provided precious space that, in the absence of continuing to be a golf course, could have been used to address some of those needs.

We have been realistic throughout this entire process on development.  We are seeking what is best for the health of our Town and the Glenway community.  We fully understand what it means to live in a healthy, vibrant neighbourhood that has been a safe place to raise our families.  We fervently hope this can will continue to be the case despite the now approved plans put forward by Marianneville.

To that end, and given that we were provided with little advance notice to provide input to the Town going into Phase 2 of the process, the GPA has offered some suggestions on how we might mitigate the impact of Marianneville’s development on our community.  Knowing that decreasing the number of housing units is not an option, we offered the following :

  1. We asked that Marianneville put green space back on the negotiating table (ie. the west lands) AND that a ‘green corridor’ be added on the east lands to link up with an evolving pathway system that Town staff have been developing in the draft Secondary Plan and “Active Transportation Network’. 
  2. We asked the Town to figure out how to purchase this green space to satisfy the Town’s future needs. 
  3. We asked that the gas station be removed from the commercial space allocation. 
  4. We asked for more details (and less building) in the hydro side of the course (ie. holes 10-12). 
  5. We had a number of technical concerns (‘like to like’, roads, fencing and buffers, tree replacement and location, etc.) that we also asked to have addressed.

Ideally, we would have been given the time and opportunity to formally solicit input from the community through a proper consultation process, but the schedule for the next phase of the hearing has not permitted this.  However, the suggestions and issues noted above, are based on comments and ideas that we have received from residents throughout this process.

In conclusion, you should know that the GPA has exhausted our funding, and have therefore ceased our engagement with our lawyer and planner.  We do feel it is important to remain a ‘Party’ to Phase 2 although we will have to represent ourselves in the process.

Apart from knowing the date that Phase 2 will start, the GPA remains in the dark as to the context and parameters of what is to be discussed during this next stage in the process.  We continue to commit to keeping our community informed regardless of the outcome.

To have success at the OMB hearing we need your financial support!

March 8, 2014 at 2:30 pm

GPA Mar 4th Meeting

Thanks to everyone inside Glenway and the rest of Newmarket that have given their support to preserve Glenway’s community value and protect our Town’s limited precious green space.

 

Resident efforts help defend Newmarket’s Official Plan to better control development decisions in our communities.

 
 The opening video from our March 7th meeting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VueLGkRG-O4 
   

How your donations have already helped:

  • Provided the Town with a strong planning argument – resulting in a 9-0 vote against the development applications
  • Helped structure the OMB Hearing into 2 phases where the principle of development will be front and center as Phase 1
  • Created a plan of action for the OMB Hearing process that begins March 17th
  • Helped the Town secure their planner who will support and expand our argument during the Hearing process

 

What you heard from our latest community update meeting:

  • We have a great chance to win on the Principle of Development argument (do we need to build or not?)
  • This returns control of development back to the Town for decision making based on Newmarket’s Official Plan and review process
  • If the OMB wants to proceed directly to Phase 2 before a decision can be reached we can still apply the argument of the principle of development to each technical issue raised

 

How do we see this playing out and the investment required:

  • Witness statement and hearing preparation:  12 hours planning/10 hours legal
  • Phase 1 will be up to 2 weeks, or approximately $ 20,000 per full week
  • Phase 2 is scheduled a further 4 weeks however we will limit or eliminate our paid representation for that part of the hearing
  • To satisfy our needs as a community at the OMB we need another $26,000 (now less than $20,000 based on the last few days)

 

What we need from you as soon as possible:

1.    Buy an hour of Planner’s time with a donation of $200
                                              OR
2.    Buy a ½ hour of Lawyer’s time with a donation of $150
                                              OR
3.    Buy a 1/2 hour or 1/4 hour Planner’s time with a donation of $100 or $50 respectively

 

Email us at contact@preserveglenway.ca and we will come by to pick up your cheque
or  donate on-line at DONATE NOW

 

We have a track record for success now.      We are so close!  

Let’s make this happen together!