- Written by Gordon Prentice
Here is the text of the Mayor's letter to Bill Chadwick (scroll to earlier posting) which was also copied to all Newmarket councillors
"Thank you for bringing your concerns to our attention. I have asked staff to review the contents of your e-mail and I appreciate the opportunity to respond.
Let me begin by saying that I am reminded the rights, responsibilities and obligations of all parties (including council, staff, the proponent, residents and the Ontario Municipal Board, as well as due process) are prescribed in the Planning Act. Additionally, the professional recommendations Council receives are based on the planning merits of applications under consideration as they relate to the provisions of the Official Plan and Zoning Bylaws adopted after extensive community consultation.
The following is staff’s response to the points you have raised.
Please be assured that the Town will not ignore zoning or any of the planning documents. As you may be aware, the Slessor application is for a zoning by-law amendment. Section 4.4.3 of the Town’s Official Plan provides for the consideration of development that exceeds the density provisions of the Official Plan (Table 1) through the zoning by-law amendment process, subject to the provision of appropriate studies and the Town’s analysis of conformity with the applicable planning documents.
Town staff has been undertaking this analysis as reported on November 19, 2012, and there are still a number of issues under review by staff, including transportation impacts, height and density.
Once staff has completed its professional assessment of these remaining outstanding issues, staff will prepare a report for consideration by Committee of the Whole of Council on February 4, 2013. At this time, you as well as other members of the community will be afforded an opportunity to address Committee before it takes a position on the application.
Based on all the information before it, Council will ultimately take a position that it feels represents conformity with the applicable planning documents and the collective public interest.
With respect to your request to be a party to any future negotiations with the applicant, I suggest that you make that request formally to our legal counsel Ms Armchuk-Ball and Mr. Kagan on behalf of Dwight Slessor Holdings.
Thank you for your continued interest.
Tony Van Bynen
Town of Newmarket
- Written by Gordon Prentice
- Written by Gordon Prentice
The Town of Newmarket will be deciding its position on the controversial Slessor Square development in early February.
Staff are preparing a report with recommendations for the meeting of the Committee of the Whole on 4 February 2013.
- Written by Bill Chadwick
By e mail on 4 December 2012
Mayor Van Bynen,
I am writing to share a concern that Slessor’s lawyer may have placed the Town of Newmarket’s Council and staff onto a path that (without speedy action) could result in a “lose-lose” position for the town.
Allow me to provide a little background before I explain the risk. Since early this year there have been many meetings on this development, ranging from those between staff and developer, to public meetings, etc. During this time the developer has presented at least two new versions, the latest being designated as a “without prejudice” version. This version was introduced to several representatives of the “Shrink Slessor Square” residents group several weeks ago. At this meeting it was evident that extensive negotiations had taken place between the Town’s staff and developers on issues that are of secondary concern to residents (easement for Hydro, shading of the inner courtyard, etc). Meanwhile no progress had occurred on density, and the design’s height had regressed from the previous versions’ 16 floors to 20 floors. The negotiations between this version and the previous one had occurred without any direct involvement of our residents group.
In summary, close to a year has expired with no progress on density, and only a little “down and up” change on height.
At Friday’s OMB Pre-Hearing, Slessor’s lawyer proposed the Town Council makes a decision on whether to accept or oppose the “without prejudice” design by early February, to be followed by a mid February OMB Hearing (if the Council votes to accept this design). In this event, presumably only the residents group would be challenging OMB’s approval, so the likelihood is the “without prejudice” version would gain OMB blessing. Hence, a dangerous precedence will have been created. The “floodgates” would be open for developments throughout Newmarket to ignore zoning and long term plans, because the Council capitulated on Slessor’s obscenely oversized demands “without a fight”. It would be “open season” for developers to almost do what they wanted. Alternatively, If Council votes to oppose Slessor, you face an (un-budgeted?) expenditure for lawyers and experts that Councillors said may cost between $300,000 and one million dollars!…… Cancelling Council coffees will not pay for this…. Hence, you would be facing a “lose-lose” vote.
May I suggest the Town and staff needs to immediately launch intensive negotiations with the Slessor team to downsize density as a minimum. The residents group would like to be part of these negotiations, and I commit to seek expedient resident buy-in to a serious counter proposal that brings the density much closer to the often mentioned planning objective of 200-250 people+jobs/Hectare.
In addition, it seems prudent for Councillors and yourself to expediently approve the staff report paragraph that seeks approval to pursue outside expert help (an item that was postponed at the last Committee of the Whole). Otherwise the Slessor team will not be motivated to seriously negotiate.
Bill Chadwick on behalf of the Shrink Slessor Square concerned residents
Forsyth Road, Newmarket
Copies to all Councillors, Regional Councillor John Taylor, Senior Planner Marion Plaunt
- Written by gordon prentice
Shrink Slessor Square was today granted “party” status by the OMB at a special pre hearing in Newmarket Council Chamber.
Bill Chadwick told the OMB Adjudicator, Sylvia Sutherland, that he was seeking Party status on behalf of the residents’ group “Shrink Slessor Square”. He said the group would be seeking incorporation.
There were no objections.
This means that Shrink Slessor Square is now an active player on an equal footing with the Town, the Region of York and, of course, the developers.
We can quiz the developers and the other parties – and be questioned in turn.
The full OMB hearing is pencilled in for 11 April – 2 May 2013.
The developers are now proposing (a) a ten storey building with 203 units (b) a 20 storey building with 248 units (c) another 20 storey building with 193 units and (d) a nine storey building with 218 units – all squeezed into a tight site of under five acres.
The Slessors describe this as their “settlement offer”.
The Town will be meeting to consider its response.
If the Town doesn’t accept it, then it is taken off the table and the matter goes to a full hearing on the original twin towers application. 23 and 26 storey towers on three storey podiums.
Sounds like 26 and 29 to me!
A hearing on this “settlement offer” is down for 19, 20 and 21 February.
But, in the meantime, for Shrink Slessor Square, it is full steam ahead.
We will be keeping everyone informed as we take steps to become incorporated as a non-profit body and meeting in the near future to plan the way forward.
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